Indian toilets vary as much as eccentrics at San Francisco's annual Love Parade.
Last year's parade possessed drag queens, seventy-year-old hippies, detonated druggies, babies, crocked college kids, flustered foreigners, toddlers, spouses on stilts, masochists with needles through nipples and string connecting nipples to penis clamps, families, and Halloween-clad teenagers.
Indian toilets engross "Open," aka wilderness as inviting as the Grinch, swarming sidewalk urinals, concrete-floored rooms, holes in the ground, and Buckingham Palace-like marble-floored Western bathrooms.
Ladakhi toilets constitute dirt-floored rooms with a hole in the soil, midget-sized dirt mounds, and a shovel in the corner. The discharges amass many feet below. After relieving oneself without toilet paper or access to water, a shovelful of dirt dispenses down the hole. This harvests human waste compost.
After a night of Paris Hilton indulgence with The Godfather beer (as stated on the bottle: Alcohol Content: between 4.25 and 8.25%) and Old Monk Rum (the rum bottle's label subsumes a smiling aged monk), I felt as composed as when I drunkenly stumbled through Bangkok with one sandal last year.
My head spiraled like butterfly sex and my ability to stand was inhibited like my 20/400 vision. Basic human functions, such as speech, proved as difficult as refusing to sing karaoke when drunk.
I stood in the ATM line feeling like a suffocating three-hundred-pound cat. We had shuffled forward four steps in twenty minutes. An eternal line of military men, Westerners, and Indian males loomed in front of me. The line was as intimidating as Aladdin's Jafar.
"Water. Toilet," I murmured to the female Aussie I waited with and crawled across the street towards the refuge of a restaurant.
The waiter handed me a bottle of water and motioned around the corner for the toilet. I shuffled down the stairs and drifted to a decrepit stairwell that looked like something out of I Am Legend. I stepped over cables and tread through wires. Every third step had crumbled away like my dignity.
Stammering over the staircase reminded me of modern art I saw at the Guggenheim in Bilbao, Spain in 2007. Sections of a collapsed concrete flight of stairs had been erected on the wall. It was entitled "Stairway to Heaven." If I had access to a crane and The Hulk's muscles, I too could be a renowned artist exhibiting in a world-famous museum.
Four wooden stilts supported the bathroom several feet above the ground. I pitched inside and projected the door shut with the strength of my cousin's three-month-old son. Sweat sprinkled into my eyes and my vision wobbled like an oversized baby's head. I crouched, contemplating if a picture of my bare ass next to a sculpture's exposed derriere would qualify as modern art in the Guggenheim. I have such a photograph from my most recent Las Vegas extravaganza.
Urine ushered from my vagina with the urgency of America's current economic state and my brain swooned like an inebriated fly's flight. My right foot slipped from the side of the opening. My leg plunged into the hole and my torso fish-flopped into the dirt. The sudden movement coupled with my hungover state induced me to gag and memories of an interview three years ago accosted my brain.
Similarly hung over, I interviewed for a position with the Admissions Office as a University Ambassador. Fifteen minutes into the interview I flowed from the office and to the toilet, where I experienced a charming counterpart combustion of torpedo vomiting and Montezuma's Revenge. Somehow I got the job.
Recollections of my calamitous but career-oriented self a few years ago contrasted to my current state made me question my life like Mother Teresa. With fresh urine stains on my shirt, my arms in dirt, and one leg down a toilet hole, my life was looking as auspicious as that of the homeless man I regularly pass in San Francisco holding the sign: "Ninjas kidnapped my family. Need money for karate lessons."
After dry heaving for forty seconds, I consolidated my strength, and, feeling like a wounded hippopotamus, hefted my body from the hole. I collapsed in the dirt and rested for three minutes in the fetal position as pungent odors of excrement and urine attacked my nostrils.
When I subsequently straggled out the door, through the battered stairs, and across the street, my Aussie companion looked at me like I had just asked her to partake in a crack-accompanied four-some.