Or hell no?
The studio I work in overlooks a laneway. A very public lane that’s used as a through way. And yet, every day, some creep will relieve himself against the walls. We’re lucky if he doesn’t turn around. Many do.
A few weekends ago, in the space of fifteen minutes, two different groups of men, went for a public piss. The first group, although in a open space on a busy road, chose a dark corner. One of them I could still see as I passed by. The second group- a lone guy – was more brazen. I was walking along a quieter side street. I saw him up ahead. He stepped off the narrow footpath and I thought ‘oh how nice’ he’s letting me pass. But as I got closer I realised he was talking to me. I took off my earphones and tried to listen. I’m not flashing you, he slurred, I’m just bursting, as he started to unzip. Freaking at the possibility of seeing his willy, I mumbled fine and ran off.
But really I should have gone – no it’s not okay. Find a toilet somewhere. Find a laneway that nobody is walking down. Don’t choose to go openly between two cars in the middle of a street. Don’t think it’s okay to whip it out and whiz in my face. Well not literally of course. Ewww! But come on, I know you’ve a few drinks on you but what makes you think public urination is a-okay?
I know I’m male bashing here. We ladies aren’t innocent of this ritual. I did pee in public once. Well, actually I went down a laneway where no one could see me and went for a miserable pee. (It really was. There’s no way for it not to splash you. No matter how much skill or speed you use. Believe me!) More recently Gareth and his colleagues were outside the back of their work, having a smoke, when a couple came waddling down the laneway. Clearly busting a nut to wee-wee. Gareth and co saw them. They all eye balled each other and yet, pants were still drawn and the deed done. Not a care in the world.
Outside our bedroom window, people regularly urinate and defecate. Admittedly we’re four floors up so it’s not directly outside our window. But we do hear them. Some drunk and disorderly. Others, I realise just have no where else to go. It disgusts me to see human shit on our streets but it saddens me to realise, if you’re homeless in Dublin, you may have no other choice.
What about public toilets? I remember them from my childhood. Smelly, dirty places. Not somewhere that was regularly maintained. As far as I recall they’ve all been knocked down. They became a haven for drugs and undesirables and not really for public use. The answer in Ireland is rather than tackle the problem, simply remove it and it is no more. Unfortunately that’s not the case. We now have increased public urination and defecation. And our drug and homeless problem is only getting worse. That is, removing the toilets didn’t do anything to deter junkies congregating in public places.
So what’s to be done? Personally I think rebuild the public toilets. Give people an option so they don’t go on the streets. Apparently Japan and South Korea are known for their excellent public toilets. A little bit of money on public facilities isn’t unheard of, you know!
As for the worry that they’ll be usurped by the drug fiends of the city, well that’s a bigger problem our darling government needs to deal with. Unfortunatley, not something a conversation about peeing in public is going to solve.
#irishgov #seenoevil #hearnoevil
Thanks to Unsplash for the symbolic image. It did actually make me need to pee!
P.S. Just as I’m about to hit publish, I can hear voices congregating below my bedroom window….