Thursday, June 16, 2011

“I Never Thought I’d Live Next to a Public Restroom”

When I traveled in Peru on a mission trip I remember sitting in a taxi and seeing a man peeing on the side of the road in the city. I’ve seen men pee on trees in the park, and I’ve read signs that say, “No orinar aquí,” which means “No peeing here.”

This is one aspect of public indecency that can be shocking to tourists and visitors. Yet when you consider that most public restrooms charge admission, many people are working poor, and outside jobs typically don’t have restrooms readily available, you begin to understand why some people would do it (this is not one of those ‘true’ stereotypes).

Today I read an interesting article in a Colombian newspaper and had to laugh. Below I’ve translated for you a letter to the editor titled, “I Never Thought I’d Live Next to a Public Restroom.” See, it’s not just Americans who are grossed out by this behavior.

I’ve lived over 20 years in Lagos de Cordoba, next to the wetland, and I'm tired of seeing drivers urinate there.

They are neither ashamed nor pay attention to the traffic sign that prohibits parking, which was put up recently to prevent that ‘little problem’, but the drivers do not care; they go potty on poor Cordoba Wetland.
From dawn to dusk you can hear the radios, and if you look, taxi drivers are urinating, sleeping or washing cars with water from puddles.
This is a residential area and we do not have to stand for this. And when they leave, not only do they leave the wetland smelling of urine, they leave plenty of garbage.
The park rangers [lit. ‘guards’] and the Environmental Police talk to them, but it’s no use because their response is always aggressive.

When I bought my house and they told me I’d live next to a wetland, I never thought I would live next to a public restroom.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Reminds me of a family story:
Aunt Evelyn would drive up into the mountains around the Mohawk Trail in northern MA to get ice cold mountain spring water than came out of pipes drilled into the mountain sides.

She did this for many years,
until ......

one day, her friend, a forest ranger said 'Evelyn, you don't want this water . . . hippies have been camping nearby and they are peeing into the water upstream . .