How is one to proffer a modest proposal about something as immodest as poop?
I’ve long heard that rich innovative entrepreneur types are able to spot trends on the ground – as obvious as dog droppings — and immediately capitalize on them. I’ve spotted one, by God, and it isn’t pretty. But, with the right backing, I’ll be able to retire from my grunt day job just by monetizing our collective grunting.
Ex-realtor Robin Speronis of Cape Coral, Florida, has been endeavoring to live “off the grid” within city limits for the past year and a half. Good for her, in theory — she has survived using solar energy, a propane camping stove, and rain water, and by eating non-perishable food.
She has, however, been using the municipal sewer system without paying for it. This has upset the city of Cape Coral, Florida, which is responsible for maintaining that system even for citizens who choose to lug in buckets of rainwater for filling and flushing their toilets. The city of Cape Coral, Florida, has therefore decided to cap Ms. Speronis’ sewer, a move she says is “pure evil.”
No worries — I won’t go off into yet another tiresome discussion of good vs. evil or God vs. Satin (sic). We’ll stay in the sewers today, and allow Robin her excesses – at least in terms of vocabulary.
“I know how to live off the grid completely and in a sanitary way,” Speronis said. She plans to dispose of solid waste “the way dog owners dispose of pet waste.” She’ll collect liquid waste in containers and then use it to water the garden. She calls this “a simple and sanitary alternative.”
This woman is planning to poop in the yard, pick it up in a baggie, and then toss it into the trash can. She is planning to squat over the rose bushes to water them. When the weather’s bad, perhaps she’ll empty a chamber pot into the street gutter; what was good enough for medieval London should be good enough for Cape Coral.
One person doing this is probably not going to compromise the water table or spread dysentery and cholera, especially if she stays on her own benighted property (I am picturing the tired frozen yards of New England dog owners who don’t do much by way of poop scooping until spring hits and a winter’s worth of sad stale turd starts thawing). But Cape Coral would be in a world of shit if everyone else followed her lead.
Husband and I go hiking every Sunday morning. Looking up and out, we see the Rocky Mountains in all their glory. Looking down, we see hermetically-sealed little plastic bags full of dog poop set alongside the path, baking in the sun, ostensibly waiting to be picked up by the bagger on his way back down the trail but more likely left there for someone else to deal with or kick to the side.
Imagine a mountain of those doggie bags preserved forever in the local landfill. Now imagine Ms. Speronis taking a lifetime of dumps to the dump. What will future archeologists make of all that carefully encased excrement?
Here’s the thing: She might have stepped into something. If Robin becomes a no-footprint live-green buck-the-system trend-setter, there will be a huge market for plastic People-Poo bags. You heard it here, first: imagine designer colors, executive finishes, celebrity scents, monograms, and write-on space for dedications or acknowledgments. Then, imagine the accessories market: all those bags will need personalized portable dispensers – sporty, to clip on a bicycle; dressy, to coordinate with a haute couture handbag; techie, to hitch to your Otterbox iPhone cover; camo, for Duck Dynasty diehards. What a business! Cheap production! Massive mark-up! Bottomless demand!
And this, from an English major. All I need is some crowd-sourcing.
Before you rally behind Speronis’ behind, you should know that she’s up to her neck in other messes, owing restitution of some $35,000 in real estate deposits she somehow forgot to return to her clients. Oops! A no-contest plea of larceny is involved, along with ten years of state probation. Off the grid or behind a grid? What’s a girl to do, but pee in the peonies?
And I confess to having done so myself on our mountain hikes — but only occasionally, and not in anything as pretty as peonies. I lost all zest for au naturel living after squatting secretly behind a big boulder in tick season and sitting on a cactus, only to find a Sunday school group of earnest teens gazing up at me from the hidden path below, wearing their matching St. Tony’s T-shirts.