FEAR AT THE END OF THE EARTH

Happy penguin
Photo by moi, South Georgia Island, circa 2014

In a few weeks I am embarking on a guided photo trip to Antarctica. I am not the at all worried about the issues my friends raise:  the long plane trip(s) to get there, the accommodations at the end of the earth, the cold, the lack of communication with the outside world, etc., etc.  My concern is (and there is no way to put this delicately) toilets.

Altogether there will be about 100 passengers on the ship.  When possible, we will be walking on land or cruising around in Zodiacs (a kind of rubber boat that is safer than it looks) in the morning and again in the afternoon for 3-4 hours per excursion.  I have never gone 3-4 hours without needing a bathroom and I dread the prospect of trekking around a barren landscape with 100 strangers, needing to bare my assets in their company. This is when penis envy doesn’t seem so absurd.

There are a couple of solutions to this problem.  One is to slog back to the landing spot and take the next Zodiac back to the ship, use the facilities there, and return to land.  This takes about 45 minutes and seems like the situation better be pretty darn urgent to use up that much of our time on land.

The second solution is to feign nonchalance and just go for it, making sure to be the last person at the back of the group.  On previous trips I have teamed up with other desperate women and even one man (you know who you are)  and made some lasting friendships this way.  There are easier ways to make friends, but they take longer.

There is no graceful way to (ahem) end up this little essay, so I’m going leave it at that.  

HAVE A GOOD WEEK!

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About Alexis

Alexis Rankin Popik, author of Kiss Me Over the Garden Gate, is an award-winning short story writer whose work has appeared in The Berkshire Review and Potpourri Magazine. She has penned numerous articles about local history that have been published in Connecticut Explored and the University of Connecticut School of Law and The Hartford Seminary publications. A former union organizer, Popik traveled the country educating shipyard workers about health and safety and founded a labor-management health plan before turning to writing fiction full-time. She lives with her husband in New England.
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