Dear Tell All: A guy I met through Hoofers asked me if I wanted to join him on a trip to climb California's Mount Whitney this summer. I love backpacking, so I'm really excited about the invitation. Plus, I'm looking forward to spending more time with this guy. But I found out recently that you have to pack out your own poop. Apparently, so many people visit Mount Whitney each year that the park service has started handing out special bathroom bags. After you use them, you have to carry them with you until you leave the park.
I'm all for roughing it, but this seems ridiculous! How am I supposed to impress this guy while carrying a bag of my own poop?
Dear Squeamish: I've got some bad news for you: It gets worse. I did a little research and found out that the park service only provides one bag per person. Even though it's a multi-day trek, they expect you to use the same bag, from one to six times - not five, not seven, but precisely one to six. If you attempt to use your bag a seventh time, you could set off a nasty chain of events so vile and disturbing that, well, let's just say you don't want to go there.
This adventure is too good of an opportunity to pass up, but it's going to be an exercise in mind over matter...messy, stinky, disgusting matter. Just remember that you're both in this together. A bowel movement is a completely natural and normal thing, even in the woods. Most of us are comfortable using a plastic bag to clean up after our dogs, and this is really no different, just a tad more personal.
Have you ever thought of that from the dog's perspective, by the way? Dogs are very smart animals and quickly recognize patterns. So it doesn't take them long to figure out that whenever they take a crap outside, their owners whip out a plastic bag with an enthusiastic flourish and scoop the stuff up like cherished treasure. They can only be thinking, "Wow, they must really like that shit." All this time you thought that impish expression on your dog's face meant he felt guilty because of the mess he'd just made, when in reality, he's embarrassed by you and your obsessive fetish for collecting crap.
Do you have a question about life or love in Madison? Write Tell All, 101 King St., Madison, WI, 53703. Or email email@example.com.