Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Urination Rumination

I was at a school this past weekend watching a lacrosse game, and I had to go to the bathroom.

Only there was no where to go.

I wandered all over the school, and every door was locked. No bathrooms. No porta-potties. Not even the nice trench away from potable water that I might have found 2000 years ago in a Roman field camp.

But! There were some bushes. Thank God. Or Mother Nature. Or whoever the Patron Saint of Pissing is.

Sure, I could have chosen instead to walk the half mile back to my car, drive to some gas station, lose my parking place, and miss most of the game. But clearly I'm an uncivilized urinator. A criminal crapper. A penal penile.

As I returned to the sideline, having regained the ability to focus on something other than my bladder, I noticed I was not the only one with this predicament.

How does it benefit a school to make peeing so difficult that it encourages unsanitary practices? Why on earth would they not make at least one restroom available for public use? Is maintaining the cleanliness of one restroom that much more expensive than replacing the row of trees destroyed by the river of uric acid generated by hundreds of Big Gulp drinking sports fans?

Over the next few days I started noticing that there are lots of places where it is very difficult, if not impossible, to make a waste deposit in a sanitary way. "Restrooms for customers only". Gas stations requiring a key. Miles of road with nary an outhouse to be seen.

It used to be one of the main purposes of government was to create and maintain the basic infrastructure for human life. Successful city-states knew that a common defense and good city planning of walls and such was better for everyone - it was the purpose of the city. Roads in the city and between neighboring trading partners increased flow of goods and standard of living. They also knew that having everyone crap in the middle of the tribal circle was bad - it stank, people got sick, and it lowered property values. So they created latrines.

We seem to have forgotten some basic hygiene along the way.

Its not like we're talking about special class treatment here, catering to the excretionarliy challenged. As I learned as a child, Everybody Poops. Given the public health risk of poor human waste treatment, you would think it would be in everyone's best interests if there were public restrooms everywhere.

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