I’ve gotten pretty good at spotting porta-potties, public restrooms, dumpsters, electric outlets, and water spigots – all essential resources on the road – and had seen a few porta-potties and one park restroom while out for walks. I walked to the closest porta-potty on Sunday and was able to dump the tank no problem; a quick block-and-a-half walk there and back – easy pee-sy!
Monday evening arrived and we realized that our Nature’s Head urine tank was almost full; only about three inches left until the top – time to go dump!
I gathered the urine tank in our Post-Mates bag as usual and headed out into the night to return to the porta-potty I had visited the day before. It is located on a side-street with construction on one side, so the street is nearly empty.
As I walk up to the blue porta-potty, I notice the “occupied” indicator is red so I give a knock – assuming this was just done by the construction crew to keep their blue room locked at night. I hear no return answer to my knock, confirming that this must be locked intentionally from the outside with a screwdriver. No big deal, I am able to flip the indicator to the left just enough to give the door a good pull and get it open.
With a loud “POP” the half-locked door swings outward towards me. At the exact moment the door opens, a man lying down on the back of the toilet seat jumps upright with a kind of grunt and stares with shocked eyes out into the night. “Oh shit! Sorry man!” I shout as I let the door slam shut, backing away from the man’s abode. I realize he is making no further sounds or movements on the inside, and know this is not a normal thing to do – lying down in a used porta potty at 10:45pm on a Monday night – so I step back to the porta-potty and ask “Hey bro, are you good?” to which I hear a muffled “yeah man” from the inside. Alright, I think to myself, time for me to go.
After walking for six more blocks to check two more dump locations, a locked park restroom, and another porta-potty that had since been removed, I returned to the bus with my full jug of pee.
Moral of the story – it isn’t always sunshine and roses on the road. Humanity presents itself in good and bad, and you see it all while out on the road. Sometimes you have to decide how involved you can get in someone else’s problem – sometimes it is safer to back away.