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Public Urination

Everyone has to pee, and when you are stuck in a traffic jam, congested public transportation place, or somewhere else where a bathroom is impractical to access, what can we reasonably expect people to do with number 1? 

I visited France when I was a teenager and saw all sorts of nice public bathrooms, all stainless, you had to pay a small fee to use one, then it was cleaned by robotic sprayers when you exited. Why do we not install intelligent public toilets in busy places for people to use?

Highways in America do not have an adequate number of bathrooms per mile to accommodate everyone, and the cultural norm is to pull off into a wooded nature area to do your #1 thing where others can not see you. I think most people have done this in America at some point or another.

If you start to focus on staying well hydrated, your likely going to need to go pee more often. Old people have medical conditions that make them vulnerable to time sensitive access to bathrooms. My wife told me a story about a confusing VA hospital in Seattle when she took her patient, a 98 year old man there for a medical visit, and he had an accident because they we unable to find a bathroom fast enough. It is long past the time that we need to have a sober discussion about this with clear signs. Clear signage can help to orient people towards bathrooms faster. The VA needs to have a serious discussion about this since they deal with so many elderly veterans.

When I visit my best friend Matt in Seattle, the district he lives in is overcrowded with homeless people, drifters, and other low lives. To use the bathroom in most businesses you need a key or the password/ code for access, and the business are forced to do this because homeless drifters will come in and use the bathroom for an hour to clean up like they are at a hotel room or in a home. Standing on the balcony of his unit, I have seen all kinds of different people dip into the ally to pee in the alley, he has seen more graphic things happening in the same alley. The alley smells kind weird as a result, and I do not understand why they do not install a public toilet in the alley, given that it is a tourist district, with lots of homeless people.

I saw an article in the Tech news about the BART system elevators having swamps of urine in the pit under the elevator. What does this tell you? It means that people stuck on trains sometimes have to pee too, why no toilets on the BART? Seriously, signs should go up telling people to urinate in a bottle, then empty the bottle into a public toilet as soon as they are able! I know this is a little harder for women, but widemouth bottles are available. Put a vending machine with urine bottles if that has to be done. We can come up with an intelligent solution for well hydrated people stuck in transit congestion.

It seems we have not completely escaped "throwing the contents of a chamber pot out the window phenomenon" that was so common a sigh in 17th century european cities. Perhaps all of us feel like we are European when we are taking a leak in an unofficial place :) after all if your an American when you enter the bathroom, and an American when you exit, do you know what you are when you are in the bathroom, European :P

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