Adventures in Learning How to Use a Compost Toilet

Getting used to a compost toilet wasn't easy ... but it did make for a great story.

| August/September 1999

The ad showed all the magic ingredients in a rental home: hardwood floors, skylights, woodstove, quiet setting in the woods, pets OK ... perfect for the right person.

"I am that person," I thunder to the bulletin board. "It's me, it's me."

The housing market around Santa Cruz, California, works along the predictable lines of supply and demand: There is virtually no supply, and hundreds of people converge on anything suggesting shelter and demand to move in.

This is California, mind you, where public outbursts are more civic duty than an intrusion of any sort, so my shouting at the billboard draws only a few encouraging nods, a raised fist or two, and then a personal moment with the traveling minstrel beside me. "Hey man," he tells me, patting my shoulder, "I tried telling 'em, but they just wouldn't listen."

I call the number and the interview goes pretty well.

"Nope, woodstoves aren't a problem. We had one growing up and I prefer wood heat anyhow."

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