Based on its title, you might think you have an idea of where this week’s little scried will be going. Perhaps you’ve made the assumption that I am speaking in a metaphorical sense, playing on the old phrase about not shitting where you eat. While that is an understandable and fair assumption to make, it is incorrect. Like that old adage, this one, don’t shit where you work, can be interpreted by its literal meaning. In both cases it is very sound advice.
I share a work bathroom with a large number of people, varying in age, background and gastrointestinal health. Some of them are, I either know or assume, good and decent people, upstanding types who do not take atrocious dumps in the old library building’s communal bathroom, but some of them are disgusting monsters. There are people who seem to spend hours in there, producing sickening noises and odors which reach to the hallway outside. One person in particular, who I do not know and whose face I do not know I’ve ever seen, my white whale if you will, has committed regular and horrendous offenses. Whoever this mystery shitter may be, I know him from the signature of his inhuman stench, and from the fact that he enjoys watching videos while on the toilet. Yes, dear reader, this individual takes a solid chunk of time out of what seems to be every day so that he can sit on a public toilet and take a long, slow shit while watching, what sound to be, movies and sports games, which can be heard from the hallway. What kind of monster not only inflicts this brutal olfactory and aural assault upon innocent bystanders, and also appears to take such pleasure in the experience that they set up camp in a stall (the handicap stall, mind you) to take in an action film or catch up on a football game?
There are exceptions to every rule. There are times when taking a shit is not a choice. In fact, taking a shit is hardly ever a matter of choice. Sure, some people get a kick out of it. There are those who treasure their shit sessions, who schedule them in advance and bring along reading material or a device to watch football while evacuating. But the majority of people, I say with more optimism than knowledge, only shit because of need, irresistible bodily demands.
Only once in recent memory have I taken a shit where I worked. It was an unpleasant experience, an emergency situation, one which I suspect was the product either of chicken that was just slightly off, a little too much coffee, or an overly large spoonful of creatine in the coffee, and one which I shall discuss no further or ever again for both your sake and my own.
While I’m on the topic of shitting, for what will hopefully be the last time, I’d like to broach the subject of public toilets. When I say, PUBLIC toilet, I am not speaking of toilets in cafes and restaurants, not in stores and other places of business. No, I’m talking about toilets that are right out there in the world, city owned toilets, the kind often found, if at all in this country, in public parks. As we all know, these public toilets are typically hellholes (literal shitholes) into which only the most daring and desperate venture, and which even fewer, in the direst of straits, will ever sit down in on the toilet and take a shit. There are people who do take that plunge, of course; the evidence is in the air and splattered on the floors and walls of these facilities. First, there need to be more public toilets, and second, they need to be maintained, kept clean and in working order. Everybody poops, as the literary classic tells us, so why should it be made so difficult for everybody to find adequate places to poop? We also all pee, for that matter. Being an active individual who drinks between one and three gallons a day, I for sure pee, and I cannot tell you, dear reader, how many times I’ve been out in the world, desperate to urinate and with no facility provided in which to do it. I’ve had to resort to desperate means, everything from sneaking into restaurants and stores to use their bathrooms without buying a damn thing, to finding a relatively secluded bush, alleyway, dumpster, gravestone, unattended car, or strategically secreted plastic bottle. I’m not ashamed to say that. Everybody pees. We’ve all been there. No one should be ashamed other than those who manage our society and have neglected their duties in ensuring that there are convenient and sanitary places for every person to shit, piss, or release whatever other substances would be better out than in.
No one is worse afflicted by this injustice than the homeless population. These are human beings who never have any option better than public toilets when they need to satisfy their gastrointestinal needs. That or they have to do it right out in the urban outdoors, which is something no one cares for. The homeless need clean and freely accessible places to shit and piss as much or more than the rest of us.
Some cities and countries have facilities approaching those I’m talking about. Much of western Europe, from what I’ve experienced, has so-called public bathrooms, as does Japan, from what I’ve heard. These bathrooms are not truly public, however, because many of them require cash payment in order to use them. Only a diseased mind would decide that charging people to piss or shit is a sound and ethical practice. Probably the same sickos who decided that charging people for a drink of water was cool, and who will next be selling oxygen canisters at exorbitant prices so that people can survive for slightly longer in the toxic miasma that our air will have become. Any self respecting society should understand that there should be no compromise when it comes to providing people with free, easily accessible and sanitary toilets. Until that need is met, it would not be unreasonable for every one of us to make a point of pissing and shitting in and on public spaces as an act of protest.
There are a lot of things that our tax dollars should be going to besides where they’re already going, which is mostly into the blood drenched coffers of the military industrial complex, and quality public (TRULY PUBLIC) bathrooms is one of them.