Monday, July 15, 2013

Ode to the Modern Bathroom

by Amanda Forester

I returned today from a series of camping adventures that has taken me over several states and allowed me to explore many wonderful settings.  After marveling at the Grand Canyon, Bryce, Zion, Mount Shasta, and several other incredible places I can say without hesitation that God's creation is absolutely awe-inspiring.

 As a historical author, going camping for a while and "roughing it" was useful to gain some authenticity regarding what it must have been like for people to actually live in medieval Scotland or Regency England.  Despite the rather romantic notions I hold dear regarding both times in history, there is an unfortunate reality about lack of running water that as I camper, I found hard to deny.

I do enjoy camping and the opportunity to explore scenery that is vibrant and fresh, but after a few days without a shower I confess to being less than vibrant and decidedly not at all fresh.  After a few days I had my hair in pony tails and even after I took out the bands my hair just stayed molded in place.  Yuck! Contrary to some myths about historical times, people did bathe, at least every once in a while.  But I am sure that as a modern person addicted to her daily shower, it would not be anywhere near often enough for my modern sensibilities . 

The often overlooked and unappreciated modern flush toilet is another modern invention I would find difficult to live without.  Can you imagine living in crowded 1810 London with no sanitation system?  The smell - ugh!  The rich could hire night soil men to haul away the waste, but for most Londoners the waste ended up in common cesspools.  

My camping experience also reminded me that insects do inhabit much of the natural world.  I found, after discovering a spider crawling up my shoulder and into my hair, that I am not overly found of creepy crawly things... and I can shriek in an octave that was heretofore unknown to me. 

Suffice to say, I have a new appreciation for what our ancestors endured.  Of course it does lead one to wonder how our present day will be looked back upon by future generations.  Until then, I shall enjoy my hot water shower and my delightful flushing toilet.

What modern convenience would you find hard to live without?


  1. Hi Amanda. I totally agree with you. I could not live without the things you mentioned, but let's not forget about deodorant.

  2. Hi, Amanda, I don't have to leave my home to realize that the bugs are as much indoors as they are OUTDOORS. :)

    My grandfather was a doctor in Canada and actually invented his own deodorant, having been a pharmacist also, and owned the local drugstore. He never patented it, but sold it out of his drugstore. :) During prohibition up there, the townspeople had a party and some bought up all the cooking extracts he sold in the drugstore. You know--when they were all alcohol? So two guys said they'd never look at another banana as long as they lived. They had hangovers from the banana extract. LOL Love history. :)

  3. I find the best sort of camping is done in a cabin with air conditioning and wifi.

  4. Victoria - yes! Very important. At least I could take that camping!

    Terry - wow, inventing deodorant is very cool. Maybe if he patented it you could be a deodorant heiress now! Sounds like the bugs have invaded - yikes!

  5. Shana - air conditioning and wifi- yes! Especially when we were in Arizona and Nevada I found myself finding places with AC. I think the idea of the afternoon siesta is very important!

  6. There are so many things that I could not live without.
    1. Modern plumbing and sewage systems
    2. Access to clean, safe water (I drink about a gallon a day)
    3. Personal hygiene items
    4. Air conditioning
    5. Refrigerators & microwaves
    6. Computers/tablets/ereaders, wifi.

    Most of these things I could do without for a few days but the first 3 I couldn't go a day without.