Sunday, October 19, 2008

The finer points of the "Porta Potty"

Through numerous bike races and other cycling events, I have become quite familiar with the "porta potty". Initially it took some nose-holding and psyching-up to get into one of these things, plus a lack of conveniently placed bushes. (What the heck-- pissing just adds nitrogen to the dirt. A good thing.) But sometimes you just have to deal.

Used to be, my attitude was that I'd rather my colon implode rather than use one of these things and the forest with all the bushes? It had to be ablaze. With squirrels running out of it.

It was a hot day in July during the 2002 Seattle To Portland that forever cured me of my porta-potty aversion. An added bonus? It was a #2 and there was NO hand sanitizer. Could have been worse, I suppose. The TP could have been out. I could have experienced the dreaded "poke through". Just no hand sanitizer and the prospect of spendinging another 4-6 hours with a ninky hand.

I was wearing full-finger gloves so that wasn't really an issue, I suppose.

It was during those two sweltering days on the road that I developed an appreciation for the finer accoutrements of porta-potties. And to this day, one of the first things I do upon entering one is to perform a quick assay of the facility.

Is there a hook upon which to hang a coat/gloves/helmet/whatever? A mirror? After launching snot-rockets sometimes there's a little, shall we say "blow back". It's nice to be able to check for this. However, it doesn't matter much in the company of cyclists-- we all do that sort of thing and nobody really cares all that much. Still, it's nice to be able to check one's visage.

I've seen shelves, even. These are nice for holding things that don't hange well but don't substitute for the utility of a hook. A wadded up jersey, for instance is too likely to just un-wad and fall onto the piss soaked floor. (Note: Taking one's jersey off is necessary to do a #2 when wearing bib-shorts. That's why I'd need to take my shirt off in the bathroom-- it's not a George Costanza thing.)

However, the bar was raised infinitely high today by the folks of Team Beer. At the Rainier High School cross race they were hosting an exclusive porta-potty with an attendant. (Or a valet?) They had incense and 2-ply TP. This is all second-hand info, you know. I just didn't feel worthy to visit this particular establishment.

My porta-potty, on the other hand, featured miserable TP that was so thin you could read a newspaper through it. Even when it was doubled up.

No hook either. Or mirror.

Here's to you, Team Beer, for daring to set a new standard.

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