“A Moveable Pee”
by Alex Rosenfeld
The world got bathrooms wrong, especially Paris. There I was, standing in line to urinate at the Luxembourg Gardens, when it dawned on me that while running in the park that morning, the bathroom had been closed, as if people do not need to pee at seven in the morning. I had to pee at seven in the morning, so I peed on a bush. Passersby glared at me as if they had never seen such absurdity in their lives.
Culture was built for speed and bathrooms contradict speed. If you have to pee, as in you’re suffering from actual physical distress, such as I was while running, social influence prevents you from casually making it rain on some tree in the park or your own lawn or the same telephone pole as your dog. Peer pressure dictates that you contemplate who you are, man or woman, and where you’re meant to be, i.e. the men’s or the women’s room. You’ve been conditioned to view excretion as intimate because you’re exposing your “private”parts. Complete strangers might see you naked, as in the way you were brought into this world, all natural and smiling like who the hell cares that my private parts are being examined such as they may never be idolized again. To be socially acceptable you must find a bathroom.
Most of the time you reach the bathroom pre-crisis, but sometimes, maybe just one time, you don’t. That singular accident conjures up a nostalgia for preschool which makes you realize that society should not require toilet urination. Dogs, cats, bears, dragons(?), etc. all pee wherever they damn well please. Some animals even do double duty by marking their territory when they pee and they do so for free. But you, yes you, man, woman, human, top dog, king of the food chain, a creature with superior intellect who has the most sophisticated culture of all-time, you, master of the Earth, must pay to claim your land and take precious time out of your day to locate a bathroom, possibly waiting in a line of ambiguous length to use said restroom.
Bathrooms not only restrict our freedom but they divide us. Men go in here. Women go in there. Transgenders, um, shit. People invented this whole man and woman duplicity before transgenders crashed the party. Transgenders can go in the men’s room or the women’s room or the men’s room sometimes and the women’s room the other times, depending on, well, what exactly? Society still forces transgenders to choose a gender when they’re technically not one or the other, and while society continues to separate man from woman by merit of man requiring special toilets called urinals because he’s advanced enough to pee standing upright.
Do we change the labels on the doors? Instead of “Men”and “Women”do the signs read “Stalls”and “Urinals”or “Stalls and Urinals”and “Stalls Only”or “Stalls, Urinals, Sinks”and “Stalls and Sinks”? Does listing the functional capacities of the bathrooms and making them accessible to anyone who wishes to use those functions destroy our time-immemorial gender barriers? Women can’t use urinals with much success, but maybe they just want to hop in the men’s room to use a sink, and what’s wrong with that? Both bathrooms have sinks. The only problem is that we’ve gendered bathrooms. The reality is that, and I assume this with some amount of confidence, all sinks, stalls, showers, restrooms, etc. are created equal, i.e. sans gender-defining genitalia, save for men’s rooms maybe possessing urinals and women’s rooms perhaps sporting superior mirrors or excessive pieces of furniture. Let the people use what they want, when they want, where they want, and if people have a problem with co-ed bathrooms, single occupancy restrooms exist. If you’d like to know where these private bathrooms are located, don’t worry, we can make an app for that.
But why not embrace the Earth as our urinal? Dogs will pee on anyone’s lawn. Birds poop on everything. Why do we waste time locating toilets? Since death tends to thrust matters into perspective, imagine if a virus were to wipe out the human race. With our species reduced to the brink of extinction, there would be no shame in joining our animal brethren in showering our world with reckless abandon. By embracing our new God-given right, let’s call it Freedom of Breach, we could save precious time, and while possibly only seconds with each excrement, those seconds saved are the seconds we would have spent finding gender-appropriate restrooms, and those seconds add up into minutes and eventually hours, and if enough people save enough hours, we’ll have more time to discover a cure. Abolishing bathrooms could save the human race.
As I reached the front of the Luxembourg Gardens’line, I couldn’t help but think of a dog I had seen while running that morning. The dog had stopped in the middle of the walking path, popped a squat, dropped a deuce, wagged his happy little tail, and sauntered away. Excretion should be that simple, but it’s not, because as humans we’ve chosen culture, as if to wag our disapproving fingers at that dog to say, “I will pick up your shit, but not my own shit.” So I peed on a bush and can only hope that I inspired the passersby as much as that dog inspired me.
Hours after that morning tinkle, my full bladder forced me to gimp into the previously inaccessible Luxembourg bathroom. The attendant asked me for money. Coins. I had to pay to pee. The life lesson would appear to be that when you see people in unnecessary distress, demand change.