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21 January 2011 @ 09:58 pm
[Poll] Potty Polling  
Best Beloved recently attended a meeting. (This is not the unusual part of this story; there is apparently a strict policy where she works about the percentage of one's total working time one must spend in meetings, and they do not let you slack on that.) This particular meeting was held in a location that her colleague, S (I think you will see soon why I am avoiding revealing any personal information about her), particularly hates, and during a break, S told BB why she hates it so much:

When they have meetings there, S ends up peeing behind a dumpster.

And, yes, there are totally perfectly acceptable bathrooms at the meeting location. S (who is a middle-aged professional woman with a highly responsible position, dignified and at all times well-dressed) is peeing behind dumpsters on the way to the meeting, because in the early morning, she has to pee every hour or so, and the meeting location is about an hour and a half away from her house. So what happens is, S gets to the hour mark, really really has to pee, pulls off the freeway, and finds herself in a profoundly sketchy neighborhood. (Locals: Compton. For serious.) She finds a gas station, is told they don't have public restrooms, and pees behind their dumpsters.

This has happened three times in the last year.

S shared this story with BB in the sort of mildly amused tones most people would use for relating the story of how they got all the way to the meeting and realized only then they'd left their shoes at home. (True fact: BB once did this. She put a pair of socks on over her hose and went to the meeting that way, and no one noticed, or at least no one said anything.)

BB was horrified. BB, before we had the earthling, had very strict policies about potty privacy that included, for example, a hermetically sealed door even if she was alone in the house. ("What if burglars came in?" she asked me, when she revealed this policy. And she was right! I absolutely did not have a special plan for dealing with a sudden home invasion while I was peeing.) Now, of course, we have a small child, so privacy is one of those things we sort of vaguely recall, like the mornings we slept in until ten. BB, remembering how I mocked her for the locked-door-home-alone thing, thought maybe she was the weird one, so she came home and related this story to me. (I am never going to be able to meet this woman now, for the record, without a real risk that I might blurt out, "Hi! We don't have a dumpster, but the bathroom's right over there!")

I wasn't exactly horrified, but I was definitely surprised. What I focused on was the three times thing. Once, okay, desperation, needs must, whatever. I have never peed behind a dumpster, or indeed at the side of a road, but I can envision circumstances where I might have absolutely no choice. But if it happened once, I personally would take steps, like finding a McDonald's along the route and making sure to stop there. In short, I would do whatever I could to keep my chances of peeing behind a dumpster in a sketchy neighborhood to an absolute minimum. (It's a pity I didn't hear this story a few weeks ago. I don't usually make New Year's resolutions, but this seems like a fruitful topic for one.)

But maybe we are just weird. Maybe it's totally normal to view peeing behind a dumpster as a relatively reasonable working hazard. Obviously, it's poll time.

Also posted at Dreamwidth, where there are comment count unavailable comments.
diceadicea on January 22nd, 2011 06:23 am (UTC)
I am a female truck driver. I have found that my own options for peeing have sometimes varied from peaceful woods to really super gourmet rest rooms to the most jury rigged efforts to avoid any contact with local wild life (animal or human).

I have established two rules. 1. I always travel with a towel. It doesn't have to be a big towel, but it does have to be reasonably clean and absorbent.

Because I had a towel and an empty soda bottle on hand one day I discovered rule two: 2. I can too pee in a normal soda bottle. I can put the towel on the edge of the seat and slide forward and aim things carefully and not make a mess and reseal the bottle and discard it when a garbage can becomes available. I have my towel on hand in case things get scary or in case I need to clean up and I can always throw it away and buy a new one later.

There are commercially available urination containers and stand-to-pee devices, but I've found that my adventures with towel and soda bottle have left me feeling very confidant about being fully in charge of my own urination. If there are scary looking people hanging out around the rest stop, I pull up to the on ramp area and park while handling my business in the locked privacy of my cab.

We all pee, but it does not mean that where and when we pee is ever something that someone else can use as a lever to force us into unsafe or uncomfortable conditions.
Mal: fraser hat by spiffydazemalnpudl on January 22nd, 2011 07:06 am (UTC)
There was a time in my past when, for reasons that don't need exploring at this juncture, I needed to figure out how to pee without access to a bathroom (or safe outdoor privacy) two or three times a week. I favored juice bottles. Wider mouth than a soda bottle, and the same ability to reseal it and dispose of it later.

Needs must, eh?
(no subject) - thefourthvine on January 23rd, 2011 03:36 am (UTC) (Expand)
Zebrazebra363 on January 22nd, 2011 06:45 am (UTC)
I travel to clients' properties to work on their horses' hooves and frequently stop by the side of semi-rural roads for this purpose. If there's a public bathroom on my route, I'll use it, but I won't drive out of my way to find one.
tried to eat the safe banana: TFV brownthefourthvine on January 23rd, 2011 03:44 am (UTC)
Okay, but you live in Australia. I sort of expected Australians to be more blase about this, both because of the seriously empty chunks of the country and because, well. I recently watched a YouTube movie about composting toilets that strongly suggests that Australians enjoy, and even prefer, peeing in wide-open spaces. The lady kept talking about her toilet's views, which - the excellent views available from a toilet are not usually a selling point in the US.
(no subject) - delurker on January 23rd, 2011 05:18 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - duckyjane on January 23rd, 2011 07:23 am (UTC) (Expand)
Proactively Untwist Octagonal Hippopotamus Pants: ratatouille - why? emiledramaturgca on January 22nd, 2011 06:53 am (UTC)
I've never been able to stomach peeing anywhere other than in a bathroom.

And OMG Compton. I stopped at a Ralph's in Compton once. They have full time security. In the grocery store. It's TERRIFYING. But OMG, take a different route!
tesserae_ on January 22nd, 2011 02:38 pm (UTC)
Most of the grocery stores in central Los Angeles have security guards. It's pretty normal here... more tellingly, many of those stores, which were originally being merchandised as lower-echelon stores, are being upgraded. So now we have better produce + armed guards: an improvement, decidedly.
(no subject) - thefourthvine on January 23rd, 2011 03:48 am (UTC) (Expand)
Also into cats: Coffeejamethiel_bane on January 22nd, 2011 08:22 am (UTC)
I live in Australia. It may be 300 km between towns, and if you're not travelling a route that has a service (gas) station or a cafe...

(It is more than possible. Especially on the Haye Plains. Which I HATE, because there are also no trees, and even if you haven't seen anyone for HOURS, there will invariably be a car passing by right when you need to pee. Or an emu staring at you, because my life is just that awesome)

Beyond that, I find a tree, and duck behind it. Also, I've always carried Chux with me.
(Deleted comment)
(no subject) - nameles_one on January 22nd, 2011 06:27 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - thefourthvine on January 23rd, 2011 03:51 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - delurker on January 23rd, 2011 05:19 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - jamethiel_bane on January 24th, 2011 01:26 am (UTC) (Expand)
(Deleted comment)
tesserae_ on January 22nd, 2011 02:45 pm (UTC)
There are parts of Compton that are sketchy, yes, but most of it is well-supplied with McDonalds, Burger Kings, Taco Bells, etc, and those places always offer restrooms for customers. I'd venture to guess that alleys in Compton are unpleasant places, but I think it's really unfortunate that she feels it's okay to pee in them just because it's a rough neighborhood & she needs to. Plenty of working class people & families live in Compton - I'm not sure adding to the unpleasantness is what they need from visitors!
(no subject) - thefourthvine on January 23rd, 2011 03:57 am (UTC) (Expand)
AQ aka Syredronning: one_jumpsyredronning on January 22nd, 2011 09:20 am (UTC)
I too have that problem that when I drive a long distance in the morning, I urgently need to see a toilet after one hour.

So when I last traveled a lot on the same route, I checked out the places I liked well in advance and made a mandatory stop half an hour into the tour. It made me feel relaxed and able to endure the occasional traffic jam without panicking. Never needed to pee behind a dumpster.

shayheyredshayheyred on January 22nd, 2011 02:45 pm (UTC)
What she said!
(no subject) - thefourthvine on January 23rd, 2011 04:01 am (UTC) (Expand)
lacking in glittertawg on January 22nd, 2011 09:22 am (UTC)
I haven't peed in public since I was a kid. I usually pee twice a day, but once I went camping and didn't pee for over 48 hours. But I have to say, I'd like the ability to pee in frustrating condition. I've visited Japan and Vietnam and, well, I do not do squat toilets. In Japan I did give in and did my best not to pee on my own pants, but in Vietnam I came across some bathrooms that were a long room with no light, no door, and a floor that sloped to one wall that had a drain in the corner. In comparison, a dumpster would have been a luxury.
Alexis: cluelessjapanimecrazed on January 22nd, 2011 01:20 pm (UTC)
I'm from Houston, and I think a lot of people peed at the side on the side of the road during the evacuation for Hurricane Rita. All gas stations/ restaurants/ businesses were closed because everyone was evacuating, so there were no restrooms open. After holding it for about 4 hours, I gave in to the inevitable and peed behind a dumpster.
shayheyredshayheyred on January 22nd, 2011 02:44 pm (UTC)
Let me tell you, I have to pee all the damn time. And while on occasion this has resulted in such merry experiences as, oh, peeing on a road on the way up Mt. Etna between the open doors of my car, let me tell you that short of being in a foreign country where I have no idea where I am, I would scope out the turf by internet or by recommendation so that I would have set cafes to stop at along the way (in Compton or elsewhere) so that I would never have to pee behind a dumpster. It seems to me this unfortunate person has given into the horror when she could take some steps to prevent it.
In vino veritasgirly_curl_3 on January 22nd, 2011 03:27 pm (UTC)
I have to pee ALl THE TIME. It is well known among my people that I gotta go often. Some friends affectionately call me "cricket bladder" because of how small my bladder is.

But aside from not-sober moments and camping, I always find a public restroom. I would feel pretty weird peeing by a dumpster, especially in a sketchy part of town.

Perhaps she could use a restroom-finder website, like sitorsquat.com?
Holly: Facepalm - Mulanhollyxu on January 22nd, 2011 03:41 pm (UTC)
As a child I would run around on semi-cultivated hills all day long and not come home except for lunch and dinner, so I got used to not using the facilities - yay bushes! But honestly, in China, the public bathrooms, for the most part, are actually somewhat equivalent to behind-a-dumpster in terms of hygiene and exposure. I'm not sure what your BB would do, but uh...

I haven't had the need to in NA yet, except for that one camping trip, but it was camping, so it doesn't count in my head. :P
Admission to the Burning Ruins — 10¢: F&L - shiftylaughingacademy on January 22nd, 2011 04:18 pm (UTC)
The one time I peed in public was after I'd been thrown off a bus on the way home from junior high. (There had been a fight that was totally the other guy's fault.) I held it for as long as I could, then ducked into a little-used doorway of an apartment building (it was the egress for the emergency stairs) when it felt like it was do that or EXPLODE.
Minerva Greygreyminerva on January 22nd, 2011 06:51 pm (UTC)
Incompetent pee'er ;)
Nope, can't recall doing that.
But then I really couldn't risk it - I'm really clumsy and incompetent at this sort of thing. Whenever I have to give a urine sample, I prefer to use one of the big, disposable plastic cups they give me at the doctor's office, rather than the thin, plastic container you can buy at the pharmacy.
Because I have to work REALLY HARD to manage it without making a mess, and I'm in complete AWE of the women out there who are able to PEE IN A BOTTLE! :o

This is also the reason why I avoid peeing outdoors if at all possible - there's a 50/50 chance I'll need a change of clothes afterwards, unless I actually undress completely. :/

Which could have been a real problem, once upon a time - did you know that in some areas in rural Norway, being able to pee in a bottle without spilling was considered as proof of intact virginity? ;)
Sunspotsunspot67 on January 22nd, 2011 06:55 pm (UTC)
I'm transgender, so finding a place where I feel I can safely pee can be a challenge. I also have to pee often, which I blame on having had three kids. As much as I don't want to add to the yuck in anyone's neighborhood, there are circumstances where behind a dumpster looks to be safer than trying for a restroom.

And I am totally adopting the towel/bottle/jar ideas above. Everything I ever needed to know I learned from fandom.
lesnameles_one on January 22nd, 2011 07:04 pm (UTC)
The thought of urinating outside doesn't bother me. As I was growing up, I did a lot of fishing with my father and there were no facilities. Plus, we always spent a month every summer in the Ozarks where some of my older rellies only had outhouses.

That said...
OMG. No, it is NOT "totally normal to view peeing behind a dumpster as a relatively reasonable working hazard." I'd wear a diaper (IIRC, 1 brand name is Depends) before I'd pee in the city! Does this woman's job entail problem solving?

I'd try NOT drinking anything in the morning and/or getting up an hour earlier. I'd take a GPS and find a fast food place. I've been in some sketchy places in Chicago and the McDs still have public restrooms. As back-up, I'd attempt to locate a female bed urinal, if not available then a suitable disposable bottle; wet wipes,paper towels, and plastic bags to hide the evidence.