Oh Shit…

Isn’t modern plumbing amazing?  Please stop and think about the alternatives for a moment.  Can you imagine if we still used outhouses?  Where would all those outhouses be in a city?  Can you imagine going to the bathroom in a bucket and then dumping it in the ditch by the side of the road to be washed away by the next rain?  People used to shit in the streets.  I actually saw someone shit in the street in the middle of the day in Santa Monica.  He was next to a bus stop, leaning out over the curb, a wad of toilet paper in his hand.  His poop fell right next to the curb, and I thought for a minute that I was walking through a post-apocalyptic world were a sense of indecency was unknown to humankind.  Then I realized how desperate/hopeless he must have been… there was a mother and child standing not fifteen feet away from him, watching as well.  I walked away wondering how long would it stay there?  Would anyone step in it?  Would a car run it over and spread poop all the way down the I-10?

Not having a place to go can turn a pleasant day into a tidal wave of anxiety as you urgently look for alternative locations.  It can be really scary to not have access to a bathroom and to have to go and go badly.  It is one of those minor inconveniences that can turn normal, comfortable city life into an anxious hunt for survival.  At least if you live out in the country, you can just go outside, like people have been doing for ages and ages.

With modern plumbing, we don’t even have to see it before it gets whisked away to a water treatment plant somewhere.  We don’t have to know how much shit we actually make; we don’t have to know what strange things people flush down the pipes of their homes.  It is all hidden and separate and it allows us to maintain our distance from waste.



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