Welcome to Pissing Contest, a weekly story sharing circle for the the ass-draggiest time of the afternoon on the ass-draggiest time of the last day between you and the weekend. Every week, we'll provide a prompt, you'll share stories, and we'll pick a winner that's featured in the next week's post. It's like a pyramid scheme of outdoing each other!
Half of the fun of working a job you don't 100% love is the organization and execution of unsanctioned shenanigans ranging from relatively innocent — like lifehacking the coffee maker into a hot toddy machine — to totally fireable — like fornicating on the boss's desk.
We're going to wrap up this crap pile of a week with a little levity and dive into the nuttier side of workplace tomfoolery, the crazy side of what could have been routine interruptions. Like how you discovered that thanks to a lock on a conference room door, you can just use the thing for hangover naps in the morning. Or how you got finger blasted by a busboy in the meat freezer. Or the time you told your awful boss's wife that he was cheating on her. Or the time you were walking in a park and ran into your coworker, who was also on a walk in the park with his secret family (that is a thing that really happened to a friend of mine, years ago). Or the time everybody got sent home because a sprinkler pipe exploded in the lobby and the ceiling collapsed. THE LIMIT DOES NOT EXIST.
But first, let's get to last week's Pissing Contest: Animal Encounters edition. This time, there was a clear winner, and it was this one, from the wonderful A Small Turnip.
A few years ago, in my free-wheeling salad days, I spent a few months backpacking through China before travelling down into northern Pakistan to teach English for six months. It was such a great adventure. I spoke about ten words of Mandarin, but man, I had fun. I especially loved Xinjiang, in the far west of China, with its vast, stretching Taklamakan desert, full of magical singing sand dunes and secret Buddhist cave paintings. It's such a tragedy that the province has recently descended into horrifying ethnic violence because it's truly a place of sublime beauty, and one of the last great wildernesses on earth.
Anyway, I was travelling with some friends from Kashgar, the great wild west market town, south through the Karakorum mountains to northern Pakistan. It's a three day trip through some of the most remote country I've ever experienced. As you wind up into the mountains, you'll occasionally see a lone yurt in the distance, its hazy spiral of chimney smoke visible for miles. And some yaks. And that's it. For days. It was so beautiful. We drive on and on, climbing higher and higher until we eventually reach the icy Khunjerab Pass, the deep crack high up in the mountains that eventually leads down into the soft green valleys of northern Pakistan. The small, lonely Chinese-Pakistani border crossing post is here, and after we get our passports stamped, I notice that there's a public loo, so I scoot off to take advantage of the facilities. I know it's going to be hours until there's any other chance.
The loos are grim. Grim. I've been in some terrible toilets before, but this——this is really bad. The waist-high cubicle walls? No problem. The absence of doors? No big deal. The long-drop loos? Pshaw. I'm a modern woman. You can't faze me.
But the piles and piles and piles of used sanitary pads heaped up on the floor? Yeah, that's different. Haven't seen that before. And the smell is beyond anything I've encountered previously. I'm genuinely taken aback by it. But I cheerfully steel myself, because I AM A TROOPER, GODDAMMIT, and anyway, I have to pee like nobody's business.
So I wade through the piles of bloody pads, unbutton my trousers, and carefully, cautiously balance myself over one of the holes, making sure not to look down. I'm trying to relax so I can unclench enough to wee, so I'm thinking happy thoughts about daisies and bunny rabbits and spotless bathrooms full of hot running water and rolls and rolls of soft white toilet paper and sweet jasmine-scented soap and all of a sudden I feel a warm, moist gush of air on my cold, bare ass.
I look down.
Between my legs, there is a large pink hairy pig snout, sniffing the air inquisitively. There is a pig. Wandering around in the long-drop. Sniffing my ass.
I'm not what you'd call an athletic person. I'm the kind of girl who's really into sitting comfortably. But you have never—and I mean never—seen anyone move as fast as I did right then, yanking my trousers up as I leapt gazelle-like over the filth and the blood and the shit and the piss and out the door and through the gate and down the road and over the mountains and far far far far away until I collapse due to the fact that I am having a massive shit-loving-pig-induced myocardial infarction.
"Drive!" I shout at my friend in the front seat of our Land Rover, lightly but hysterically stabbing myself in the thigh with a tightly-clutched pen-knife. "A pig just sniffed my ass! Drive! For the love of God, drive!" So he drove, rocketing off past the yaks and the glaciers and the pigs and down into Pakistan. And I cannot put into words how much of a relief it was to enter that blessed realm where the people are friendly and the curry is good and they will not make you eat pork ever ever ever amen. The end.
OUTHOUSE PIGS! Now I've heard everything!
But onto the next one.