To the Person Who Left a Pile of Shit in 4G/1 Emily Pl., Auckland, NZ in 2006: Thank you.

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Should a Christian use “Shit” in a blog post? When referring to actual shit, instead of using it as a euphemism, and when poop, turd or even dump will take away from the effect of a story, I think so. 

I hadn’t intended to do too much story telling on my blog, but I’m still figuring out what I’m doing anyway, so I guess I’m not straying from the norm too much, as there really is no normal with me.

Have I mentioned that I hate most of the recent “To the person who…” blog posts? The majority of them seem to be written in order to prove a point, shame another person, express anger, reinforce a sense of entitlement and/or receive praise and cheers from a crowd attending an internet boxing match where the opponent is not even present.  So, in a world full of angry blog posts, let me offer this as a more positive one, however shitty it may be ;) 

In late 2006, I picked up and moved from a small town known only for amazing hole in the wall Mexican food places (And NACHOS) and a few festivals you’ve probably never heard of, (Coachella and Stagecoach festivals, anyone? Not the mention the Tamale festival!) to Auckland, New Zealand. And while we're on that topic, the locals would like all the hippies and hipsters to know that "Coachella" is a place, not an event. It is the Coachella Music and Arts Festival. OK due diligence done. 

I was at a point in my life where I was trying to temporarily escape some bad decisions, pain and insanity when I asked my company if I could transfer to another country. My options were Australia and New Zealand, and I made my decision after a quick Google search revealing New Zealand looked greener and gave me a significantly lower chance of death by poisonous or predatory animals.

The problem with running away from your problems is they are always waiting for you when you come home. And the truth was, I didn’t want go, at least not alone, but I knew I needed to. And if I had done adequate research on where I was going, I never would have left the States and wouldn’t have found what I didn’t know I was looking for. Not the shit….that was just a bonus from the longer story of my journey that I may or may not ever write about for public consumption.

Like I said earlier, I was experiencing some rough times in my life, including high tension and hurt within my family, and at the time, my mom and I were not on very good terms. My parents saw me off to the airport when I departed, but it had been a while since I had called on my mom for support or help.

When I landed in New Zealand, I immediately regretted my decision to leave. I somehow got the impression that our large 767 was going to land at a small local Maori airport where I was going to hop off the plane, chase some sheep and have soup at a local pub. Anyone with a 1/3 a brain knows that Auckland is the business hub of NZ and it is nothing but industrial buildings for miles.

I felt sick. This particular small town girl had no hopes and dreams of city living. I wanted to crawl into a dark hole and never come out; and that’s what I did, at least for the next 18 hours.

I had secured a hotel room a mile or so from my furnished apartment for a few days to give me time to set up the internet and phone, grocery shop and lug my 47 boxes from home I thought I so desperately needed to bring with me (why on earth did I bring my all-in-one printer/copier/scanner?). Oh and I needed to set up my sleeping arrangements.

Of the many issues I know I have, it wasn’t until I moved into a furnished apartment that I realized how much of a snob I was.  I needed to buy the thickest foam mattress topper I could find so I didn’t have to sleep directly on a used mattress. I needed to buy new bedding and pillows. I needed to buy new soap (the kind in the apartment was most likely contaminated) to scrub the kitchen and all the dishes I was convinced were soaked in salmonella prior to my arrival.

The living room of my apartment had a single leather couch that I never (really, never) sat on or for that matter, touched. I couldn’t get the vision of the prior tenant being a hairy, sweaty, sloppy man who sat naked on the couch eating fried stuff with cheese so I couldn’t even bring myself close enough to clean it.

But look at me now, I love antiques and buy used clothes on ThredUp and Poshmark all the time.  My wedding ring is from 1930 and was on the finger of someone else for half of their life. Yay me.

On my 4th day in New Zealand, it was time for me to spend my first night in my apartment. The phone was working, but the internet was still not connected, which also meant my VOIP (Voice Over IP) phone line wouldn’t work to call home yet. In the late afternoon, I was on the phone with the internet customer service gentleman who, for the purposes of this story, you need to know was of Indian decent, raised in in England, but had lived in New Zealand for that past 15 years; so trying to understand one another was a task neither of us had been adequately prepared for.

20 minutes into our phone call, he still wasn’t able to pull up my account because our conversation was going like this:

Him: “Can you tell me your last name?”

Me: “Garza” (Obviously my maiden name)

Him: “Parcha?”

Me: “No. G-A-R-Z-A”

Him: What?

Me: “G….”

Him: “P?”

Me: “No G as in….garbage” seriously, that’s all you can think of that starts with “G”?

Him: “What?” They refer to it as ‘rubbish’

Me: “Geeeeee! As in…Gorilla?”

Him: “Oh. G!”

Me: “Yes! G-A…as in apple”

Him: “P-A”

Me: “No! GEEEE! As in gorilla, remember the gorilla?!”

Him: “G-A”

Me: thank God. “R…”

Him: “R…”

Me: “Z” (Pronouncing it “Zee” not knowing they say “Zed”)

Him: “C…”

Me: “No, Z as in Zebra”

Him: “Zed?”

Me: nearly crying “Whaat!!??”

Him: “How about your account number?”

Me: “Oh thank heavens…”

As you can imagine, this took quite a long time and in the middle of the phone call, I needed to pee. I sat for in the middle of my living room floor for another 20 minutes while he confirmed that they had decided to turn the internet on the following day, instead of 2 days earlier when it was supposed to be on. Nice. At least I could hang up and use the bathroom now.

I ran to the bathroom and lifted the lid. To my absolute disgust and horror, somehow during all my intense cleaning, I had decided to not touch the toilet and was just now discovering that someone, most likely the prior tenant, had left an enormous pile of shit in the toilet. There was little or no water in the bowl so it was a literal PILE OF SHIT and had been there for at least 5 days, but probably a lot longer and a simple flush was not going to get rid of it.  

Not to mention the flush on this toilet was a button on the top of the toilet that you needed to stick your finger in and press down a few inches, and it this point, I didn’t trust it. I was able to keep from throwing up only because I knew I had NO toilet bowl to throw up in! AND I still had to pee. Bad.

I stood in the living room, helpless, squeamish and doing a pee-pee dance when I was overwhelmed with a certain and specific feeling. A feeling that many of us know and rarely fight; I needed my mom. The lump in my throat was growing bigger as I dialed the 34,000 numbers required to get the calling card to work.

Voicemail. Noooooo!

Try again.

Voicemail. Tears fill my eyes.

Last time: She answers. Hallelujah.

She comforts me, she laughs. Any barrier between us started to crumble with this phone call. I don’t know if she remembers this being a turning point, but it was for me. And it was all thanks to the person who decided it would be funny to leave a pile of shit in my toilet as a welcome present. What he/she needs to know is that it was a blessing and I’m thankful.

From my NZ journal

From my NZ journal

In case you were wondering, I ended up peeing in the shower moments later so I had time to think logically and roll up my sleeves and clean that monstrosity. And for that part, I’m not necessarily as thankful for.