I grew up in the city before my Mom married my Stepdad, and we moved to the country. It was a rough adjustment for a 12 yr old, but nothing was more “in your face” then the plumbing. We lived midway down a dead end road in farm country. Our water came from a well and our waste water emptied into a septic tank. Have ya’ll ever smelled a septic tank in need of cleaning out or replacement? I have – it’s gag-nasty. The water kinda floats to the ground surface and stagnates making everything soggy and smelly. My stepbrothers played a trick on me when I first moved in with them (kids are cruel).
We were in the backyard one summer playing Frisbee when my older stepbrother threw the Frisbee in the direction of the soggy cesspool. Not knowing what was in store I chased after the errant Frisbee and ended up sloshing in the most disgusting smelling water this city kid had ever been exposed to. My shoes were ruined (I had slipped and fallen into the poopy ooze) and my clothes stunk of that hell. For a hot minute I thought these country mice had spread cow poop everywhere and hosed down the grass – until my Stepdad yelled at me for playing in the “toilet bowl.” The injustice of it all! I was mortified and furious at the same time. No one likes a smelly, mad, embarrassed fat kid.
As you can tell – that experience scarred me for life. I shudder at the septic tank-like stench. “Enter FOB Salerno.” I’m guessing we are served by a couple septic tanks and evaporation pools. That loathsome rotten septic smell emanates from the opposite side of base and permeates everywhere. We occasionally smell it in the office, at the gym, near the basketball courts, in the motor pool, etc. Thankfully, it’s not drifted into the DFAC or living quarters – but it’s a matter of time. The worst part though, is in the latrines and shower bldg.
The shower building… Imagine a gigantic shoe box: there’s an entrance on the long wall at the north and south side of the bldg. Directly across from each entrance are two sinks and mirrors. Between the sets of sinks are six individual showers. Across from the showers (between the entrance doors) are shelves and a long wooden bench. Water is ever present on the floor between the bench and the showers, and the septic tank smell is everywhere. Yeah, that’s why I feel nauseous before every shower. I’m so glad I’ve got strongly scented liquid soap. It helps disguise the thought of bathing in the septic tank of my past. Go to brush your teeth and the smell is at the sink. Guess it’s kinda what living in India might be like.
The stench isn’t always around. Sometimes we don’t smell it at all. Those times we must be upwind of the offensive odor. I’m sure it could be worse. The winds could permanently shift and we’d suffer. Or worse, we could be like the poor bastards living downwind of that unholy stench. Just imagine adding the Texas type heat to the mix! We’ll probably see people spontaneously barfing on the streets all over the FOB. I can’t wait…