Although it seems counterintuitive, early summer is better than harvest. Maybe it’s because June/July pruning is labor intensive and requires a critical mass of skilled workers to get the job right. After all, it was this past June when I first noticed a hat trick off Kinley Road. I’d never seen three before, all lined up in a tidy row. They were gone when I checked last week. That long stretch between the end of harvest and the first winter pruning is the worst. You can run for miles without seeing a single one. It’s so desolate. And uncomfortable. Running in the country is very different from running in Southern California. Up here, I measure the miles by porta potties.
Marathon training in San Diego, I had ample bladder support. I could loop through 20 miles of bayside lagoons each manned by a concrete public restroom stocked with water fountains. I was a rest room regular, with specific, favorite pit stops. A scraggly, homeless guy without teeth cheered me on whenever I passed mile 12. But in Sonoma County, pubic facilities are few and far between, especially out on country roads. I rely on a few round-the-year field potties to get me past the inevitable call of nature.
Until recently, I was unaware I was so deeply entrenched in my porta potty geography. When an out-of-towner asked me about a particular winery, I blurted a reply before my superego could intervene. “Oh, they are biodynamic and have a porta potty just past mile 9.” I think he wanted to know what I thought of their wines. Nobody trusts your palate after a gaffe like that. Rest room habits are a private matter. Those lurid details are inappropriate for public websites. Even classy ones like mine.
Last weekend I had quite a scare. It happened moments after I emerged from my green cubicle erstwhile rest stop. A low rumbling interrupted “Call Me Maybe” through my ear buds. I jumped into the ditch alongside a vineyard. It was a sanitation services truck with a tow bit. Oh crap, I thought (no pun intended). Please don’t haul my bathroom away. And what if I’d still been in there? Even the most seasoned sanitation worker is unprepared for a goofy jogger with a headlamp at 6 am. Surely I deserve a more dignified end than that. What did mom say about always wearing clean underwear? The truck passed me a second time some ten minutes later; the trailer was empty. Luckily it was just some routine pumping. It’s reassuring to know any DNA evidence gets sucked away on a regular basis. And kudos to United Sanitation Services for manning their vehicles at 6am on Saturdays.