Toilets, Because s#!+ Happens

Los Angeles has self cleaning toilets for the public to use. What this really means is that there are self-cleaning toilets out there that homeless people can use because the general public can use a toilet inside a restaurant or a store that their patronizing has homeless people are often turned away by signs that say for “customers only”.

Andy Bales of the Union Rescue Mission, and one of my personal heroes, recently stated that there are just 5 self cleaning toilets in use for the homeless.

I did some math, and it breaks down to LAS homeless using the toilets at a ratio of 360 bladders and bowels per toilet. You would almost have to stand in line to use the restroom again as soon as you were done in order to have access to it by the time you needed it again. That is assuming that you only went pee 4 times today. A well hydrated human should be urinating at least 7 times a day. (That last statement was more of a factoid  my father likes to throw around than a scientific fact that I’ve researched, but  I find it to be accurate.)

LA Times article in the toilets from 2013

I have been saying for a long time that Skid Row is not a place or a feeling, it is a smell. It is the fetid putrid smell of human waste period excrement is smeared on the sidewalk and urine stains building walls.

As you drive down the streets you see people hunched between cars with their pants down trying to poop as fast as they possibly can to avoid detection, to be as helpless and exposed for a short amount of time as possible, and to retain as much dignity as possible while doing the most human of bodily functions.
It is unfair that the Mounted Police Officers can take the horses down San Pedro and have the horse’s poop on the street but they will arrest a human who does the same.i have McDonald’s toilet tokens in the cup holder of my car to hand out to people I know who live there.

Yes, there are places like laugh community that runs a public toilets and showers where people can come inside and use the toilet with running water and soap. But the doors closed at night and people need to urinate in the middle of the night. I know so many people who have kept the five gallon buckets by their boxes or 10 because that’s what they had to pee and and in the morning they try to find a gutter to pour it down. In an era where we’re already costing people their health insurance, I don’t think that pouring feces and urine and public places is the wisest of health decisions, now more than ever.

toilet

 

I was taking a walk around my local park today and realized that there are far more open Toilet stalls there than there are the entire downtown area of Los Angeles. Nobody likes being reminded that people are homeless. Nobody likes seeing homeless people. But wouldn’t it be nice if we could see them and treat them with respect. Wouldn’t  it be nice for people to be seen and not smelled?

I Hate You. Merry Christmas.

I leave you this Christmas with these thoughts to hold. I have a split personality, I am a curmudgeon who pretty much is annoyed by everyone and hates people as a whole, and also I love children and people as individuals.

I hate you
I love you, I hate you. But you – specifically – I love you.

When I look at you, I am almost always trying to see what you looked like as a child; looking for remnants of that innocence and sweetness in your face. I am seeking out the baby your mother was so happy to hold as you came into her world. Politician, friend, enemy, gangster, client, judge, you are all the same to me and I am always speaking to your inner child when I talk. You remember, the kid who is always saying “That’s not fair” and trying to even everything out. The child who would protest “How would you like it if that was done to you?” Lately I have been hearing “Share, you have to share!” I somehow got hung up on the religion ideal of having faith and believing like a child.

Kissing Santa
Everyone deserves love

I think it is important to recognize that kids are complex beings who are assembling their world views. When I am speaking with someone who doesn’t share my point of view, I am appealing to the inner 7 year old who is still open to weighing the evidence against instinct and their heart to see if I can change their mind or behavior. So yes, I am trying to manipulate you at your core.

Last week my youngest and I had a conversation about God. I like Science, it is fun and it makes order out of the chaos of everything. I believe in Science – I also hold a steadfast faith in God. Darla wanted to know if God was a girl or a boy, and what God looks like. I said I did not think God’s gender could be defined as male or female, but since boys wrote the Bible she would hear God is a dude. When it came down to what God looks like:

  • The man standing on the freeway exit.
  • The lady sleeping under the overpass.
  • The gentlemen in suits at 7th and Wilshire drinking coffee
  • The kid who sits next to her at circle time –

If we believe that god made us each in His own image, then we all look like God.

We are all made out of stardust and defied the odds just by being born.

There is no purpose or greater good from treating each other as less than equals. I hate that we separate ourselves into arbitrary groupings and assign power accordingly.

So when you see someone who is hungry, homeless, impoverished or simply unhappy – look at them hard, find their inner child, or look for a little bit of God in them.  I am hoping you will find it harder to hit them, ignore them, bomb them or wish them harm – instead you will find it easier to love them and show them compassion and wish them peace.

“Mary Did You Know, When You Kiss Your Baby Boy You Kiss the Face of God.”- Mary did you know

“I was a poor boy too” – Little Drummer Boy