Of all the improvements made to my room, I really wanted a cement floor done first. My family, however, had different plans. The floor will be cemented in January. This had given me much time to think about the merits of having a dirt floor.
First of all, know that game you played as kids where you had to jump from thing to thing because the ground was lava? Yeah, well, I play that all day long. One had to be mindful about where one puts one’s feet when one gets up in the middle of the night to pee when one had a dirt floor. Otherwise you track that shit back under your fort of blankets. Looks like I’m reliving at least two childhood games. Sometimes my blankets graze the dirt when I turn over during the night. It wouldn’t be so bad except that heavy wool blankets are a bitch to wash by hand and take days to dry when it rains every day. Ok. I’m comfortable being a bit dirty when I sleep. I think I can get used to this.
I used to brush my teeth in the kitchen after dinner. I thought maybe I’d set a good example to my family and they’d use the toothbrushes they have. But one day, I accidentally knocked the half plastic bottle the toothbrushes were kept in onto the dirt ground and the toothbrushes fell all over the place. I was horrified because hell if I’d put a toothbrush back into my mouth EVER after it touched the ground (the ground is lava, right?). My panicked look didn’t seem to convey the gravity I felt toward the situation. My mom sorta laughed and said ‘Don’t worry, Julieta!’ which makes me think they use them about as little as the aesthetics of their mouths portray. My six year old sister has a toothache so bad that it wakes her up in pain more than once a night. Well, her teeth are rotting out of her head. Every kid around here had rotted baby teeth. This surprises me because I don’t even see them eating many sweets or soda. That makes me think they just hardly brush their teeth. I got some work to do with the kids. Anyway, I started brushing my teeth in my room for no particular reason except that maybe if someone accidentally knocked over my toothbrush onto the dirt, they’d apply the five second rule and move on with life and see no reason to confess to me. But, because I have a dirt floor, I spit on my floor. Well, the big spit goes into my piss bucket. I’ve learned the lesson and now release the toothpaste suds from a safe distance of about 5’5’’. However, the rinse off goes right on my floor. It’s really, really fun to spit on the floor in your room.
About that piss bucket. When the cement finally arrives, it will actually matter how good my aim is. This concerns me. I mean, it’s a skill to pee in a gallon bucket for a girl and by all means I have been improving. However, the flow pattern isn’t 100% predictable. I mean it’s not like I miss and entire trip to the bucket. I might miss the first 7% or something. Sometimes my room smells a little like an old cat lady’s house but I’m sure the dirt absorbs most of the ammonia. Cement absorbs fuck all. Allegedly, my family is building a latrine closer to the house (and I must say that my Catholic Peruvian family uses pages of the bible to wipe their ass. I’ve seen it with my own eyes in the darkness of the latrine hole)… but in Peruvian time… I’m sure anyone who visits me will be learning to aim for a gallon bucket. So, I think I will miss the dirt floor. I hope I miss the cement…
And on the subject of using my room for a bathroom, I bathe here too. Not often, mind you. I can’t tell if it’s cold and rainy enough here that I just don’t smell or I’m comparing myself to folks who bathe less often than I do. At any rate, once a week or so, I take a bucket bath in my room. And as careful as I am, water gets on my dirt floor. How do you remove water from cement? I’ll need to actually buy cleaning products or something.
And about cleaning a dirt floor. It is, in fact, possible. I swear there is merit in sweeping a dirt floor. You wouldn’t want rocks getting all mixed up with dirt, would you? When you have a dirt floor, rocks are new dirt. You gotta get that shit outta there. Also, I know this sounds crazy, but you sprinkle water on a dirt floor to clean it. Seriously. You find that sweet threshold before it becomes hardcore mud. But just the right amount settles the dust but doesn’t not create a wrestling arena.
I think I’m gonna keep the dirt. I’ll get a rug.