It’s Gratituesday! Today I’m thankful for toilets, indoor plumbing, sanitation systems and privacy! When the classic white porcelain seat isn’t available there’s almost always a portapotty nearby, at the fair, at an outdoor concert, out camping, at a family reunion. It’s been something I take for granted. It’s something I’m very thankful for.
Tomorrow, November 19 is World Toilet Day I think we need to celebrate in a big way. Seriously! But first, let’s start here.
A couple years ago I started noticing port a potties. I shot a few photos of them when I’d see them in random spots. The first one to catch my eye? Pink. Yup. Pink at a construction site. I got a chuckle out of that one.
Not long after that I noticed an oversized blue “honey wagon” at the airport near the cell phone lot. I wasn’t sure if that was for people waiting for incoming flights, or for construction workers who needed a little extra room. Personally, I’d have to be really desperate to sidle over to that place, slip inside and get my work done. Airplanes overhead, traffic on either side, cars filled with people just sitting there bored.
Which brings up this one I saw, and others like it, that get towed along for road construction jobs. Cars whizzing past at fifty-five or sixty-five miles an hour and you sitting down roadside. I just don’t see it happening. But I guess you gotta do what you gotta do when you gotta do it. Right?
I wondered about this other moveable “honey bucket” as it rode on the back of a regular pickup truck. How did it get there? And how, pray tell, does one get it down off of there once it’s, um, filled the measure of its creation? Some things are just difficult to think about.
This newish looking purple portapotty stood sentry as a crew set up for some outdoor weekend event in downtown Phoenix. I wondered if they included grape scented air fresheners with that one. It’d be a nice touch, don’t you think?
Blue and orange dominate the color spectrum for these things. I never saw any yellow ones, which I find really really surprising. And red. Nada. Maybe because it’s too much like a big stop sign. No one needs that kind of mental blockage. You’d think green would get the go ahead but I never saw a green one either.
People get creative with naming these icons of regularity and sanitation. I liked these company logos: Port a John, Johnny on the Spot, Porta Loo, Sani Privy, Butt Hut, Outhouse, Moon Hut, Doodie Calls. And my favorite has a french sounding name, Oui Oui. (For you non-french speakers, that’s wee wee.)
Quite a variety of nomenclature for identifying toilets exists as well. Surely you’ve heard most of these: lavatory, bathroom, the little boy’s room, powder room, commode, restroom, facilities, latrine, ladies room, little girl’s room, washroom, the loo, men’s room, the reading room, WC, water closet, the john, urinal, the throne room, the head, comfort station, can, potty, privy and the porcelain throne.
On a wilderness trek we had a japanese style latrine. I felt bad for the guy who had to explain how to use it to us newbies. A couple people dug a deep narrow hole one could easily straddle, leaving a pile of dirt and a shovel next to it. Turns out that it worked really well. But generally, going au natural, sheets to the wind and all, ain’t much fun. It’s most people’s least favorite part about camping or hunting.
That gratitude I feel about my indoor plumbing increased a few weeks ago when I read about World Toilet Day. Sounds hilarious, doesn’t it? It is! And it isn’t. It’s one of those subjects that people aren’t comfortable discussing except in a humorous way. Which gets in the way of solutions to big problems. For instance, this strange fact:
“Did you know that more people own a mobile phone than have access to a toilet?” ~ worldtoilet.org
What the heck? How is this possible? Yup. One third, yes, ONE THIRD of the world’s population still lack access to adequate sanitation. That’s over two billion people! That’s not a small problem. That’s a huge problem. Two billion people without a pot to squat on, a private place to go, a sanitized way to dispose of a daily necessity. Two billion!
How about this little known fact?
“1,000 children died per day from diarrheal diseases due to poor sanitation in 2013.”~worldtoilet.org
There’s nothing funny there. Not a single thing. The CDC puts those numbers even higher, in fact they estimate 2200 children under the age of five die each day. That’s 803,000 children per year dying because they and the people they live among have inadequate access to toilets and sanitation.
Surely there’s something we can do as people living in first world countries!
Good news. There is something we can do!
Please click over to worldtoilet.org and find a quick list of ten things you can do that will make a difference in the health and safety of men, women and children who lack this most fundamental of needs.
There’s lots of stupid stuff we spend our time on. Can’t we take a few minutes and pay attention to something of critical importance? Tweet or Facebook about this important issue using these hashtags:
#wecantwait #worldtoiletday #opendefecation #sanitation
Sometimes you have to laugh or else you’ll cry. Maybe we can do a little of both to get the ball rolling and get some people the help and facilities they need.
You could also watch and share the video below. Get people talking, break the code of silence and let’s get things moving!
“Clean and safe toilets are fundamental for health, dignity, privacy, equality and education.” ~worldtoilet.org
The next time you sit down to take care of your business, I hope you feel more than relieved, I hope you feel grateful. I know I do. Hopefully with a little help and attention from you and I, more people around the world can experience a cleaner, safer world.
Please, watch and share this video.