Friday, 28 February 2014

Muck averse

I'm not good with muck. Filth. Unpleasant substances in general. I don't want to get anywhere near them if I can help it.

I'm too fastidious. A typical white-collar worker, bourgeois neat-freak, afraid of disturbing the pristine features of my sanitised existence.

The thought of working on a farm, say, sloshing through mud and manure and bog every day, fills me with horror. Likewise working on a hospital ward, mopping up all the messy excretions of the human body. Or cleaning out sewers or dealing with oil spills.

Mucky domestic chores are okay. That's muck on a manageable scale, something I can handle without too much cringing. But serious, everywhere-you-look levels of muck - I avoid it at all costs.

Friends and loved ones are exempt of course. Whether it's hangover vomit or the effects of serious illness, dealing with mess goes without saying, be it psychological, emotional or physical.

Country dwellers must laugh at dainty townies like myself, as they routinely splatter themselves with muck and slime and think nothing of it. The sight of besuited government ministers delicately wading through the floods in their brand-new wellies must have amused them greatly.

At boarding school I played rugby and by the end of a game I was often plastered with mud from head to toe. Which wasn't too bad as I looked forward to a hot shower and leaving all my filthy clothes with the laundry service (no, we didn't even wash our own clothes - spoilt brats or what?). But if I could find a good excuse not to play, I jumped at it.

So - no muck please, I'm far too squeamish.

23 comments:

Ursula said...

Unlike you, Nick, I'd have made a perfect farmer's (or John's) wife. I don't mind muck, mud, mayhem.

Give me a pig I'll swill. Give me a stink I'll stink.

Boarding school, Nick? Now there is a NO surprise.

U

Nick said...

Ursula: Well, that surprises me, but hey, we're all full of surprises!

Are you saying I'm a typical boarding school product? In what way exactly? I hated every minute of it, by the way, couldn't wait to get out of there.

susie said...

Nick,

I don't mind dirt and mud and blood...but no poop or vomit for me, thank you.

Susie

Nick said...

Susie: I guess if you're a parent, you're well used to dirt and mud and blood and not especially bothered by it. But I agree that poop and vomit are pretty disgusting. Even your loved ones' poop and vomit....

Bijoux said...

I think blood is the worst, followed by vomit. Poop, snot, mud, etc. don't bother me as much.

We went through a lot of basement flooding at our old house. Heavy storms caused the city's sanitary and storm sewers to back up into our basement. Nothing like poop and tampons floating around inside your home to toughen you up.

Grannymar said...

From a very young age I have dealt with mud, blood, poop and vomit. No, I am no saint, but do what needs to be done when necessary. I might gag or inwardly squirm, but hopefully not let it show on my face. I always thought that when my turn came, I hoped that someone would be prepared to do the same for me and keep me comfortable.

Helen Devries said...

A well kept farm should not be foul.
I remember my grandfather's farm...everything neat and sweet, animals mucked out properly, even though those were the days when you kept the bullocks in all winter and shoveled the four foot of muck out into the yard in the spring.

We have sheep and cattle....no foul smells or mucky mud either, not even in the rainy season.

Secret Agent Woman said...

I lived on a farm as a kid, and raised my own pigs. There was muck a plenty. Doesn't bother me even a little. Human excrement and vomit, though - ugh. Except for my kids, of course. That's just part of the deal with parenting. I also had to help with cow butchering and can gut fish without blinking an eye.

Ursula said...

Unlike Bijoux I HATE snot. Even my own. Obviously, I will wipe little noses without turning up my own but that's about as far as it goes.

You hated boarding school, Nick. Which child doesn't? It's a peculiarly British "institution" which I think verging on child neglect. A child should come home after school, every day, and be able to tell their joy and woes of the day with the one (or two) people in the world most interested in them. Parents by another name.

As to your 'surprise' about my being happy to rake mud: That's about as far as it goes. Give me a vegetable garden. Herbs. Snotty kids - not all my own. I'd even milk your cows or a goat. Where I draw the line, and I find it impossible other than with fish, is killing, plucking and drawing. But then that is man's work anyway. Or so I hope.

Not so much hunter's as gatherer's greetings,

U

bonsaimum said...

After children I can take on anything in the muck department!

Nick said...

Bijoux: I don't mind blood so much, except for the way it stains if you don't remove it PDQ. Poop and anything foul-smelling is my real bete noire.

Flooding is dreadful, especially when there's sewage mixed in with it. I'm sorry you had to deal with that.

Nick said...

Grannymar: Like you, I do what needs to be done and try not to show my disgust too blatantly! I hope when I get older I pop off before I need other people to clean up after me. It would just be too embarrassing.

Helen: Good to know that on a well-kept farm there should be very little mess. But shovelling out four foot of muck - the mind boggles!

Nick said...

Agent: Human excrement and vomit can be pretty stomach-churning.

I didn't know you had a farming background. I guess you'd soon have got used to every type of muck.

Bonsaimum: I guess having children soon toughens you up when it comes to dealing with mess.

Nick said...

Ursula: I think boarding school quite often amounts to child neglect, unless it's a particularly enlightened and caring variety. As you say, children need the love and support of their parents and being sent somewhere else must always feel like being got rid of.

I'm sure there are plenty of women who're well used to doing "man's work" like slaughtering animals.

Sol said...

I drench (wormed) sheep yesterday. They stink. Muck and poop no problem but vomit or even making the retching noise near me and I will be sick. I cant help it

Nick said...

Sol: I guess if you've been farming for a while, you've got pretty immune to unpleasant smells of one kind or another!

Wisewebwoman said...

I did spend time on farms and got used to the muck, I do own a pair of used wellies to slosh through the mucky bog over the hill in my back 40.
I remember having to wear an old gas mask when my parents left me in charge of the young un's one night and they all threw up one after the other. Some type of bug. I've never forgotten it. I was traumatized.
My own kids' evacuations never bothered me but I've never tended to an old incontinent. I probably wouldn't like it.
XO
WWW

Cheerful Monk said...

I'll pass. I'll leave the mucking to Ursula. :D

Nick said...

www: I've never looked after an old incontinent either. It must be pretty depressing, I imagine.

Jean: Very wise.

Keith Smith said...

When I lived on Grandads farm as a wee boy he used to say to me "Where there's muck there's money!"

He lied to me! I spent hours scratching around in the milking parlour, the stable, the pig sty and the cess pit, but I never found a single penny!

Nick said...

Keith: What a mean trick! But I guess you got pretty used to dealing with muck as well....

Rummuser said...

How about much racking?

Nick said...

Ramana, do you by any chance mean muck-raking? I try to keep well away from that as well.