One day, a hippie does what no man can do for him in the forest outside a city; nearby, a city-dwelling man and woman walk a dog.
Man: What is that hippie doing in those bushes?
Woman: Don’t look.
Hippie, yelling: This forest is occupied!
Man: Is he doing what no man can do for him?
Woman: I told you not to look!
Man: But, that’s illegal!
Woman: Just walk away; don’t engage him.
Hippie: No it isn’t! How can you think this is illegal?
The hippie quickly finished doing what no man can do for him, buries the activities, pours water over his hands, and then follows the city-dwelling man and woman.
Hippie: I have a question!
Woman, walking fast: Don’t say anything; if you say anything I’m going to be so angry with you.
Man, turning to the hippie: I’m writing a letter to the mayor this afternoon!
Woman: Don’t touch him; he isn’t clean.
Hippie: I just washed my hands; I’m the cleanest person within a fifty-mile radius.
Man: I’m asking the mayor to close that caravan park and outlaw all caravans in this town. I can’t believe you poo in nature!
Hippie: I have a question: where do you poo?
Man: IN A TOILET!
Hippie: And were does the toilet connect to?
Hippie: And the pipes: where to they go?
Man: To the water treatment plant near the river.
Hippie: And then what? The pipes end in the river?
Woman: They do; I’ve heard a story about it.
Man: Of course not! The pipes end in a tank.
Hippie: And then?
Man: The nuances of poo treatment elude me!
Hippie: Does the poo enter “nature” at some point?
Man: Haha, I see what you did.
Woman: Don’t try to turn the tables on us, you hippie!
Man: No, I do not poo in nature via an elaborate system of pipes and water. No civilized person poos in nature! Only you freaks do that!
Hippie: Yes, you do poo in nature. Everyone poos in nature. The city collects your poo in a settling tank. They run extra water through a system of plants that clean the water of some—only some—of the toxins, add chlorine and pipe the water back to you to drink. When the settling tank is full, the city fills a new tank and lets the first tank dry out in the sun. Can either of you guess what happens to poo that sits in the sun for a couple months?
Man: I don’t care!
Hippie: It turns into “nature.”
Woman: That’s ridiculous; poo doesn’t turn into anything; it starts as poo and ends up as poo. Wet or dry, it doesn’t matter.
Hippie: Dirt; it is called dirt! When you dry poo out and allow nature to take her course, you make dirt. Plants love the stuff. Your food grows in it. Human life would be impossible on this planet without a couple inches of the stuff.
Man: Haha, that’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard; when you dry wet poo, it doesn’t transform into something new: it is just dry poo. It is still poo.
Woman: Poo stays poo. Wet or dry, it doesn’t matter.
Man: And you did it in nature—in our forest!
Hippie: Anaerobic and aerobic processes transform a poo into base nutrients; at the end of the process, the poo has become fertilizer and is applied topically to agriculture fields. Go ask the water-treatment guys.
Woman: We love our little town—unlike some people who poo on it—and we prefer using a toilet and pipes to whatever horror you were just doing in that forest back there! No arguments will change what we believe! Those poor trees! Those poor animals! Imagine waking up to a pooing hippie! On a Saturday!
Man: I know! On a Saturday!
Hippie: As I said, the water treatment center only removes some of the contaminants from your water. Your neighbors pee in the water supply and you re-drink their medication along with whatever heavy metals and chemicals your city can’t remove from the water. What are your city pipes made of, by the way?
Man: How should we know that?
Hippie: Usually the pipes are made of lead or asbestos.
Woman: Is this true? We drink asbestos water?
Hippie: Why do you think I’m a hippie, man?
Man: He’s lying; don’t listen to him!
Woman: I don’t see what he has to gain from lying about our beautiful city.
Hippie: I have nothing to gain.
Woman: So, he must by lying from pure malice; he is jealous of our beautiful city and wants to poo on it.
Man: That must be it; he’s jealous.
Hippie: Your beautiful city has contaminated water; all cities have contaminated water.
Man: I only drink bottled water, so I don’t drink my neighbor’s medication.
Woman: Wait, the coffee; every morning, we make coffee with tap water.
Man: Well, we’ll just change that and everything will be perfect again in our perfect little town!
Hippie: Every bottle of water contains billions of micro plastics.
Man: Look, today is Saturday. Today is a day for going on a walk in the woods and not thinking about what we just endured for the last five days of the week. Saturday walks are stress free, so that means there are no hippies pooing in the forest! Or conversations about the failings of life in a city!
Hippie: To spin that around: Why don’t you live in a van?
Woman: I’ve always wanted one; not that I would ever admit that to anyone, but it is true!
Hippie: You won’t have to endure five days of stress; you’ll have options.
Man: Options! What options? That’s ridiculous. You don’t even have a bathroom!
Hippie: An apartment is a cage; today I awoke among the birds and had a quiet meal by the river before a long walk in the forest.
Woman: “A long walk in the forest.” That is code for something.
Man: I like that: “A long walk in the forest.”
Hippie: To properly care for poo without elaborate, expensive, and ineffective human technology, we need only bury the poo in dirt for a month. If no oxygen touches the poo, the anaerobic bacterias will digest the poo without producing gas of any kind.
Woman: Oh, that’s a relief. Who wants gas?
Hippie: If oxygen touches the poo, then methane, carbon dioxide, and ammonia are produced and these are all greenhouse gases and pollutants. As long as the poo is buried in an anaerobic state, there is no pollution and the anaerobic process locks the nutrients together into a long carbon chain that can be used by plants.
Man: Where does the carbon come from?
Hippie: I toss in a pinch of this when I finish my toilet in the morning.
The hippie holds up a small jar.
Man: Is that marijuana?
Hippie: No, this is charcoal and fermented cabbage. The charcoal supplies the carbon structure for absorbing the nutrients and the fermented cabbage supplies the anaerobic bacterias.
Woman: Sauerkraut? You put sauerkraut in your poo? This is blowing my mind.
Hippie: I’m using a pre-Columbian technology for locking in nutrients into the soil and ensuring disease and pest free sanitary conditions while using only “nature.” The technology is called terra preta and there are many peer-reviewed articles about the technology.
Man: Wow, that’s surprisingly simple and yet high tech.
Hippie: The height of civilization is simplicity.
Woman: So, what happens next? You bury the poo and then what?
Hippie: After a month, earthworms will work on the nutrients further and complete the digestion process. After two months in the soil, natural processes will have created nutrient-rich compost that improves the fertility of the soil and aids plant life.
Woman: I need to sit down.
Man: That’s her code.
Hippie: What do you mean?
Man: You “Go on a long walk in the forest,” while she “needs to sit down.”
Woman: You guys stay here; I’ll be right back. Can I borrow that?
The woman takes the jar of charcoal and fermented cabbage.
The hippie opens a bag and produces a small shovel and a roll of toilet paper.
Hippie: Do you want these?
Woman: Oh, that’s lovely. What more could a girl ask for?
The woman walks off into the forest. The man and hippie stand quietly for a moment.
Man: So, you live in a van down by the river?
Hippie: Yes, I do. I prefer boondocking to formal camping arrangements.
Man: Ah, so a letter to the mayor about the caravan park wouldn’t effect you; you’d still camp in the woods.
Hippie: Yes, that’s right.
Man: How do you get water out here? I assume you don’t drink polluted city water?
Hippie: I have an air well on my van.
Man: What’s an air well?
Hippie: I’ll show you; my van is just there in the meadow.
Man: Can you make me a coffee?
Hippie: I can!
Man, yelling: HONEY, WE ARE WALKING TO THE MEADOW TO DRINK A COFFEE AT THE HIPPIE’S VAN, OKAY?
Woman, from deep in the forest: OKAY, I’LL SEE YOU GUYS IN A MINUTE.
Hippie: I HAVE AN OUTDOOR SINK AT MY VAN SO YOU CAN WASH YOUR HANDS AFTER.
Man: A SINK. HE HAS A SINK WHERE YOU CAN WASH.
Woman: OH, OKAY. THANKS.
The hippie and the man turn to walk to the meadow.
Hippie: What’s your dog’s name?
Man: This is Reginald.
Hippie: Hello, Reginald.