Morning Thanks

Garrison Keillor once said we'd all be better off if we all started the day by giving thanks for just one thing. I'll try.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Perilous Toilet-lessness

Okay, I joked about it. I'll admit it. When we moved out into the country, I used to tell people--only close friends--that moving out of town meant freedom because, if I so desired, I could take a leak in my own backyard. I could say that with a load of bravado an old man doesn't get to show, some downright Trumpian machismo. But it was a joke.

Sort of. Fact is, the old farm place we moved to five years ago had a small village's-worth of buildings with a hundred dark corners, not to mention massive cottonwoods any buffalo would have loved and the steep banks of an actual river. Seclusion abounded. Besides, the house stood a long driveway away from the gravel road out front, and a football field from the highway south. I mean, you could, if you needed to, take a leak in your backyard and not be seen. Believe me. 

Okay, I'll admit it. It happened, too. But then, getting old does nothing good to a person's plumbing. When you gotta go, you gotta gotta--you know? You'll be happy to know at least I was covert about it.

In Africa, not so. More than once while traveling down highways that I have to lie to call "difficult," the entire car emptied right there at the side of the road. It happened, me included. There we stood, a chorus line of tool men. And--trust me--we weren't alone. On any stretch of African highway, we passed men who weren't waiting around for the next Casey's General. There weren't any. If you gotta, you gotta. 

No country is as toilet-less as India, or so say people who count such things. In India whole populations regularly empty themselves wherever, whenever they feel the need. In response, women have taken to the streets, so to speak. Determined to make even more public what already was, they're beating drums and clanging cymbals when men gather at the side of the road to relieve themselves.  

It's just another form of discipline, something which stricken from enlightened societies, a form of discipline called "shaming." I mean, it's one thing to empty a bladder, another to be accompanied in the process by John Phillip Sousa.

The real purpose isn't to expose anyone--can I say it that way? The real purpose is to make clear that Indians have far too few toilets, period. In fact, India leads the world in toilet-less humans--500 million of them.

What Indian women want to make clear is that having few toilets just isn't healthy--especially for women and children. It's unhealthy not to pee often enough, after all. If the facilities aren't there or are only massively public, some simply hold it, a practice which, too often, imperils the plumbing, especially among women who are, for good reason, less inclined to go public. 

Anyway, a sudden attack on peeing men by women with cymbals sounds like a great gag--hilarious. But it's no joke. Women call it "Bathroom Justice," upper-case. 

In case you're wondering about me, That furtive, farm peeing is behind me. We're still out in the country, but we've got no trees. Anywhere on our acre, I'm shamefully public. So don't come around with makeshift drums and yelling untoward comments. I'm innocent.


After all, I'm now five years older.


Anonymous said...

I bet you can not write your name on a rock the way we used to when were kids. I recall thinking the fire department needed to recruit me... today, sitting is better than standing, we'll leave it at that.

Anonymous said...

There was a time I held the record for the distance one could stand away from the urinal and still hit the jack pot.... where has all the power gone?