Well, shit / #wecantwait

19 Nov

A few days ago I got the following email:

IMG_1196My response was lukewarm (at best). This blog is supposed to be about bikes and adventure and justice. Yet somehow, instead, its #1 all-time runaway global sensation is a post about How to Pee (readers in 114 countries and counting; 18 more than my #2 post about suicide)!

Did I really want to delve deeper into the narrow niche of sanitation and sadness scholars?

Nah. I don’t think so.

But then today –the actual World Toilet Day— happened, and it was clear that I’d have to write about it, as it involves bikes and adventure and, ultimately, justice.

Sometimes the universe forces our hand…

Coach told me to drive to Pepperdine to start my ride from there (neither of us likes me being on PCH south of P’dine by myself). A friend was maybe gonna meet me there at 9:15. I woke up late and decided that it would be most expedient to drink my coffee and eat my breakfast in the car on my way up there.

By the time I got to P’dine my belly was filled up with an Everything bagel, toasted, with egg, Swiss, and tomato, all swimming around with a Large “Frosty’s Favorite” coffee. Ruh-roh. P’dine does not have any public restrooms. The nearest one would be ~5mi away at Zuma beach. No problem. I’d stop there.

Well, I stopped there, but I didn’t get to “go” there. Closed for maintenance. Drat. OK. in ~4 more miles there’s the gas station at Trancas, I’d go there.

Nope. The bathroom Nazi was in charge today: NO. NO BATHROOMS FOR YOU! YOU MUST BUY THINGS! I had no cash and they required a $10 minimum purchase for credit cards.

Shuck that fit.

I’d find something eventually… and besides, the loud, troublesome belly roil had somehow settled into a some sort of slow, heavy sludge, which was fine(ish) given that my ride assignment was to do long, slow, steady miles.

Onward!

Miles and miles and miles of majestic hillsides to the right of me.

Miles and miles and miles of smooth, multihued ocean to the left of me.

Miles and miles and miles of NO FRICKEN BATHROOMS, unless you count Neptune’s Net which, although it proclaimed to be “Open During Construction,” this “welcoming” message did NOT include the guest-house/annex bathrooms and using the indoor restrooms would require me to abandon Avengelyne (with no lock or friend to guard her) and trust that the throngs of Harley riders and surfers and travelers and tourists would not steal her.

Dammit all!

Onward…

Finally. Sycam81811452ore Canyon Beach — home of glorious extra-wide outhouses designed to accommodate wheelchair users, which also means they are bike friendly.

That is full of win!

It was also full of nasty.

But at least it allowed me to “take care of business” (so to speak) in private and without danger to myself or my bicycle.

I got to enjoy the rest of my ride (SUCH a gorgeous day — sorry East Coast friends!) and even hop on with a friend and his fast-moving buddies as they towed me to Oxnard (it is SO awesome to roll 5th wheel in a tailwind at +30mph without taking my heart rate over 140 — that kind of efficiency is reason enough to keep riding).

ANYHOW… I was grateful for the outhouse. Being able to use it brought exceptional joy to me today. And getting to use the gorgeous, fully plumbed, light-and-mirrors bathroom with Barr Soap at my bike shop post-ride was a glory worthy of poetry.

It was a longish ride, all into headwinds on the return, and even though I was rolling at high rpms/low resistance, I was pretty tired/brain-drained once I got home.

And what does a tired/brain-drained 21st Century Gen-Xer do to while away an hour or 2? She hops onto FB, of course!

And while there, she finds this TED talk, and this NPR story, and they lead her down a rabbit hole where she finds THIS.

Well, shit.Β #wecantwait

There are 2.5 billion –TWO POINT FIVE BILLION– people without access to a clean and proper toilet, and more than a billion of ’em defecate in the open. Reading the stories and diving deep into the rabbit hole it’s clear that among the untoileted, women and girls are hit hardest.

It’s not “just” about the health issues (although having 4,000 –FOUR THOUSAND– children die every day from diarrhea is hardly a small thing), for women and girls not having access to a toilet means risking their education, employment, personal dignities, privacy and security.

I was worried about Av being stolen if I used a safe, clean toilet.

How petty. How silly.

Here’s what a billion other women worry about (among other things — I’m letting you off the hook lightly…):

  • 16-year-old V has to miss classes when she has her period because her school does not have any private bathrooms
  • 23-year-old G was gang-raped because she had to trek 2+miles in the dark into a field in order to obtain “privacy”
  • 37-year-old R has to visit her brother’s house, 5 blocks away, anytime she needs to “take care of business” because it’s the only place she feels safe (and that same reasoning drives 19 other family members from 6 other households to do the same thing).

This is not OK.

This is actually really, really shitty.

#wecantwait and we CAN do something about it.

Give a shit. Donate to one of these organizations featured HERE. (I chose Unicef)

4 Responses to “Well, shit / #wecantwait”

  1. Anonymous November 19, 2014 at 8:11 pm #

    Perfect!

  2. istumpdesigns November 19, 2014 at 9:35 pm #

    Hahahahaha………..hahahahaah

    • justadventures November 19, 2014 at 9:39 pm #

      I suppose my personal plight is laughable, but the problems suffered by the 2.5Billion folks who don’t have access to toilets is hardly comic.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Serious Answer. | JustAdventures - November 23, 2014

    […] and I had to write about whatever that was (Holocaust Heroes, 1-legged-roommates, Twat-waffles, and toilets — all very important, serious stuff) and now I can’t remember what any of my original […]

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