Monday, December 5, 2011

Mythology aka pee pee and poo poo

I was sitting around a table one night after my play rehearsal getting to know my cast members in a more intimate way. Somehow that lead to stories of urination. How we got there , I am not really sure, but that is where we were and it was only going to take a turn for the worse. We were talking about the strangest place we had all peed. Nobody had really peed anywhere all that strange, although certainly there had been questionable choices. Ones like in the garbage can of their childhood camp cabin. or behind a mailbox, or on a friend. The thing is, it lead to a story. Regular readers will know I love a good story.

This story is particularly unnerving, because it is impossible to believe that it is true, but it was being told by the person it happened to. It has all the elements of a perfect urban myth... but she swears that it actually happened to her. First I will tell it, and then, well then, I will get to the complicated emotional reaction I had to it.

My friend is Chinese. She grew up in China. She told us that when she was there, some twenty odd years ago, that she had relatives that lived in a tiny village in the middle of nowhere. She said this village was remote, very very remote. They did not have electricity. or indoor plumbing. She stressed that "back then" these villages were totally non westernized, completely traditional and technological advancements had not touched them.

Well my friend, only five at the time, had to go to the bathroom. She said to us, they had no toilet paper. Seasoned world traveller that I pretend to be, I say, sure, lots of places use their hands or water to clean themselves. She said , well they used dogs. Dogs? Yes, dogs, to lick them clean. She said they made her bend over and have her ass licked by a dog, whose sole household duty seemed to be the nether region hygiene of their masters.

My brain imploded when she told me this because my first thought was, is she just making fun of my white privilege..seeing if she can make a bunch of stupid Canadians believe that the Chinese have a village where ass licking dogs are valued members of the family? Was she somehow playing in to Westerners love of being repulsed by Asian dog cuisine and referring to it every time they eat in a Chinese restaurant? How could I retell this story without coming off like some Coldwar era Bugs Bunny cartoon, repleat with slanty eyes and buck teeth parodies? And holy fuck, if this is actually true, how does THAT make me feel?

I started to think about the dogs, wondering if perhaps they were repaying some karmic debt. I also have a dog, and he loves poo, and I thought, that would be dog heaven for him, so maybe there is no karmic debt, and what the hell is wrong with me, lumping all Asian cultures and religious beliefs into one? Do Chinese buddhists even have a karmic concept and are they even frickin buddhists in that remote village? My anti oppressive theory readings ringing in my head, scolding me for my racists assumptions and generalizations. I had renewed respect for my friend as I had absolutely no idea if I should believe her and she was extremely convincing. Was she fucking with me? If she was, I respected that. If she wasn't then what a crazy good story she had.

And then I started thinking about the bestiality angle of the whole concept. Wondering if people took the dog to the bathroom for longer than required times, Was there an element of pleasure here, and maybe the good wife of the household, neglected by her husband, might be enjoying her evacuation time just a little too much? I started to warm to the concept and think maybe this was a genius idea, a symbiotic, man/beast environmental solution to deforestation. Why not use dogs? Better than bleach and trees.

I suppose my meandering point is that I am amazed by what a story can do, how it can be hilarious, disturbing, evocative and quite simply incredible. Incredible is the perfect word. So good you can't believe it. I want to believe it , but then it fills me with the unbalanced feeling of being simultaneously horrified and filled with wonder at the prospect of ridding myself of toilet paper forever. Why not have this be the next North American appropriation of Asian culture? The zen of canine. My friend would no doubt pee herself laughing at the thought of us.

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