Public restrooms

The biggest gripe I have with the Eastern Shaw or Truxton Circle area is the perceived sense of lawlessness by some of the people that pass through the borders. I’m not talking about the dealing, shooting, etc. It’s the little things that I just can’t get my head around. The other morning on the way to work, I looked down the alley and saw a nicely dressed man walk a little ways towards a trash can, look at me and then proceed to do his business while I stood and stared. He looked at me and I made a point at stopping to stare at him. Didn’t phase him. He zipped up and walked off.

I’ve seen plenty of crackheads leave “presents” for the residents. But it kills me when I see someone who should know and act better think that they can just void their waste wherever they choose. This man was a customer at one of the take-outs and was not your stereotypical looking crackhead. He may have been a crackhead, but my crackhead-radar tells me he was not.

I value diversity. But is having to tolerate people using streets like a restroom a consequence of a diverse neighborhood? I haven’t decided on that yet. Maybe a signal a neighborhood has turned is when the streets are no longer frequently used as restrooms. (Yes, I know that bar hoppers in Adams Morgan and Georgetown do this at night.)

What ever happened to shame? Is that something that you have to teach people?

11 thoughts on “Public restrooms”

  1. When you are a man the world is your toilet.
    Anyway, I don’t think it is a diversity thing it’s a lack of home training (manners) thing that our society is lacking. I’m sure someone can make the arguement that the man was challenging burgeois (I can’t spell) conventions by pissing in public and refusing shame. But I won’t because I’m gonna use my powers of BS for good and not evil. Well today at least.

  2. It’s hardly a man’s thing! Everyone’s favorite crackho is the biggest offender in the area. But that’s understandable because she’s a crackho and adheres to crackho values as opposed to what the rest of us measure ourselves to.

    As for the “diversity” issues. It’s hard to tell when to use it in quotes to signify sarcasm… it’s really not a diversity issue. I’ve been in a lot of low income neighborhoods in a lots of countries and there tends to, generally speaking, always be a stigma against peeing in the streets. Well, everywhere but on my street apparently.

  3. You give drunk people too much credit, they “need” to relieve themselves just like the crack addict needs to “relieve” him/herself. Grow up, realize humans are humans regardless of income, and their bladders don’t care if your ugly mug is watching. Nothing new here, just go to any college/club/party area of town. As far as your problem being linked to diversification, well, you’re just looking for a reason to dislike a particular demographic. Sorry, but there’s no logical reason for your assumption as otherwise.

  4. First, just ’cause you’re drunk doesn’t mean that you should have any more or less of a right to pee in someone’s neighborhood. Second, this was at 8 AM, and the dude wasn’t wobbling around so the “drunk” argument is pretty weak. He was clearly on his way to work.

    I should have chosen to expand on “diversity”/”diverse”. I often use it with sarcasm because everyone seems to use it as a catchall. I find it interesting that people use it to explain things like crackheads, public urination, inappropriate behavior, etc.

    Finally, as for the use of it to malign a particular demographic. I guess I’m guilty of that if the demographic is the people that don’t know or don’t care any better than peeing in the streets. Other than that, it’s not a loaded term unless you’re trying to make it one– which I was and am not.

  5. T-
    This is your post but I tend to delete Anon comments. I deleted the double post, shall I continue the clean up? email me w/ your answer.

  6. I heard an interesting argument from a development econ professor that stated that people do what they think they can get away and what is acceptable in the place that they are in. He said that people from place where they litter on the beach will litter on the beach in those places but when they go to a place where no one does it, they won’t. It’s really a peer pressure argument. If you think that you will be caught or looked down on for doing it, you won’t. The same thing happens in my hood, which is near H street,NE. I’ve seen teenage girls doing it in the afternoon. It is gross.

  7. Anon I’net Coward–

    I agree. I think you hit on my bigger point that was probably unsaid. That kind of behavior is driven by what appears to be socially acceptable. Unfortunately. It’s a climate of permissiveness… litter, brown bagging, smoking dope on the streets? Cops say they have bigger fish to fry. Peeing in public? They’re just not interested. So you see it happen frequently which shows tacit approval from the community.

    Stuff like this will take a while to go away. However, if communities keep the streets litter free (I can’t imagine how much work that would take) and publicly make their disapproval for such behavior clear, I would guess a lot of the quality of life crimes would diminish.

  8. Truxtonian,
    I shudder to think of the endeavour that keeping the streets clean would be. I came home late Friday evening to discover that someone had left a giant pile of junk in the alley. Two days later it is still there. Is there a number to call to complain?

  9. Try submitting a service request through the city:

    It’s easy and you can track the progress of the request. There’s a special category for illegal dumping.

    If they fail to follow up on it, you can document that it was submitted correctly. I’ve had good luck with this, though I know others who have felt the city was completely unresponsive.

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