The other day, much to our surprise, the port-a-potty that had been parked across the street from our current home was moved. We heard the beeping of the forklift as it backed up and then aligned itself to move the outhouse that has been part of our view since we moved here two years ago. J, for one, was sad to see it move. We’ve grown fond of it. We hear its door slam open and shut when people go to use it, and we see the truck that comes to empty it when it’s ready to be refreshed.
We’ve also witnessed what, to us, is the absolutely baffling habit of the neighborhood to hide in there while playing Hide and Go Seek. We’ve seen kids run in there and wait up to ten minutes before emerging. That they don’t step out looking any worse for wear is impressive. On very hot days, we have found ourselves slightly nauseated by the wafting smells of the port-a-potty, but on those same evenings we’ve witnessed (with a large dose of shock) how kids just traipse in and out as if nothing foul ever happened in there. Our only explanation is “ah, to be so young and so unfettered by one’s sense of smell.”
J and I got distracted by the work that needed to be done here at home, so we didn’t really give a second thought to the port-a-potty’s new location. A few hours later, when we went for another one of our walks, we noticed the port-a-potty parked directly across the way from our soon-to-be new home. J, TGG (who had joined us) and I stopped dead in our tracks. There it was, right across from our doorway, visible from the bedrooms that J and TGG will be occupying…the big blue box where people go potty…
We exchanged glances and kept walking without saying anything about this particular discovery. The day went on as usual…we cooked dinner, TGG ate and left for class, Dada came home, we had dinner, we followed the usual routine. The next morning, while Dada stood in the kitchen looking out at the site of our new home, TGG was sitting on the steps tying his shoes. J was sorting through his snacks to fill his box, and I was sipping coffee distractedly. Dada put his coffee mug down on the kitchen island (OK, it’s NOT officially an island, but we’ve made it so…) and turned slowly towards TGG, wagging his finger and simultaneously pointing to the great outdoors… “The port-a-potty…it’s gone!,” he said, sounding a lot like Daniel Day-Lewis’ Daniel Plainview in There Will Be Blood. TGG got up and, melodramatic creature that he is, slunk towards Dada. Together they stood in front of the door, and then TGG -who, of course, knew exactly where the port-a-potty had been moved to- pretended to scan the slightly foggy view until (with overacting that was on par with a really bad B-movie) pointed at the barely visible silhouette of the relocated outhouse.
Dada, of course, by then knew that we were privy to where the privy had been moved to, and decided to up the ante. When TGG said “do you think it’s following us?????,” Dada replied -quite seriously, and with an arched brow that gave away his humorous intent- “perhaps that isn’t just ANY port-a-potty.” Dum dum DUUM!
They reached the conclusion that it’s a TARDIS, and they started discussing who among us might be The Doctor. No sooner had the words “The Doctor” sunk into J’s consciousness, he started asking with his iPad which doctor he was going to; his preference was for the “talking doctor,” i.e. the psychiatrist, but we clarified that we were NOT talking about THAT kind of doctor. The relief on J’s face was quite obvious.
This is a household of light sabers, Monty Python references, Dungeons and Dragons…this is a household where any weirdness is welcome. We open our bottles with the Death Star; we march to the beat of Animal from The Muppets one day, and Gene Krupa on another. The honest truth is that we, in fact, do discuss if the port-a-potty might be a TARDIS, and we wonder if J is The Doctor and, by one of those weird developments of this world, Zelda the Kraken Cat is his companion.
We are surrounded by boxes, and we are starting to pack J’s things. He feels miserable, by the way…we think he finally has caught a cold and is not particularly thrilled about the prospect of taking Tylenol for a temperature. He’s been wanting to cuddle, to curl up, to read stories…but he’s been packing, and he walks past the port-a-potty and sees in it a familiar view, a constant. Today he looked at the way I was putting away the things that usually hang from his bulletin board, and I think moving across the way finally sank in. He didn’t want me to put Michelle Williams’ Marilyn Monroe in the box, so there she is…keeping him company until it’s time to officially move his room.
Perhaps by this time next week I will have a moment to write to you from the new house, but I can’t promise I’ll have the energy to do so. I’ve discovered that J likes his bean bag, and he likes his “book corner.” He likes the sign for STORY and he will walk faster when we’re still a ways from home and I say “do you want to read a book?” And he smiles when he chooses The Story of Ferdinand, and Where The Wild Things Are, and those are the things that make home, aren’t they? That, and the crazy people who live with him. That and things like a port-a-potty that might be a TARDIS and elicits fun melodrama among his people…
Yes, it is official…the nerds at 145 are migrating to 834. And the port-a-potty is there…waiting for them.