Baby Boomer bladder blues during Occupy Wall Street protests

Dave Masko's picture

EUGENE, Ore. – They’d love to do more Occupy Wall Street protests, but the problem is they can’t “occupy” enough bathrooms during those long stretches out here in damp, rainy Eugene; meanwhile, other “Baby Boomers” and seniors are singing the “I have to pee” blues nationwide due to the non-availability of facilities for protesters to do one’s business.

There’s a popular Seinfeld episode where Kramer had to use the bathroom -- and kept getting turned away -- until he was stopped up. In turn, “Baby Boomers” and seniors here in Eugene say they want to do more “Occupy Eugene” protesting but with limited facilities to go the bathroom, they are opting to stay home where they can easily access their toilet. Wall Street protesters from across the nation – Occupy Portland, Occupy L.A., Occupy Seattle, Occupy Denver, Occupy New York and the rest – all report an occupation hazard, reported the Los Angeles Times, “Where’s the toilet?” While such a question seems appropriate when behind each and every Wall Street protest is the fundamental right to peaceably assemble.

Anti-Wall Street protests turning “non-paying customers” away when they need to go

As one means to send a message to “Occupy Eugene” protesters that they’re not wanted in a town that prizes the big business of such events as University of Oregon “Duck” football games and this summer’s 2012 U.S. Olympic Track & Field Trails – to be held June 21 to July 1 at the University of Oregon’s Hayward Field – some business owners are blocking their men’s and women’s room access, say protesters.

“The city should be installing more portable toilets for our protesters and the homeless, but we have those seeking to pressure us to stop by denying access to their facilities, claiming there for “paying customers only.”

In turn, a new poll about the Wall Street protests across America -- from the Associated Press and “GfK Roper Public Affairs and Corporate Communications” -- states that, after polling more than 1,000 Americans by phone Oct. 13-17, more than a third of Americans support the protests. However, there were no poll questions about giving protesters access to bathrooms.

“Where’s a good toilet,” ask protesters as it gets cold outside

While the University of Oregon and some parts of Eugene feature portable toilets for protesters, many male protesters from “Occupy Eugene” admit to “going behind a tree or something,” while female protesters either have to use the “old squat and pee method under their long dress,” or go in a car or van while undercover and in a bed pan.

“It’s not cool, at all, and a big hassle when you have to go,” says Eugene protester Shelly, while pointing to her mother and father as “backing us up 100 percent, but they had to go home to use the bathroom.”

Thus, the rise or fall of the Wall Street protest movement may turn on the simple human need to pee or go number 2.

“Occupations such as those under way in cities across the country pose staggering logistical problems. But for the individual occupier, one problem often overshadows everything else: Where am I going to pee?” writes Barbara Ehrenreich in the Los Angeles Times Oct. 30.

“Some of the Occupy Wall Street encampments spreading across the U.S. have access to portable toilets (such as those on the City Hall law in Los Angeles) or, better yet, restrooms with sings and running water (as in Fort Wayne, Ind.) Others require residents to forage on their own,” adds Ehrenreich, while giving an example form a recent Occupy Wall Street protest in Washington, D.C.

“At McPherson Square in D.C., a twenty-something occupier showed me the pizza parlor where she can cop a pee during the hours it’s open, as well as the alley where she crouches last at night. Anyone with restroom-related issues – arising from age, pregnancy, prostate problems or irritable bowel syndrome – should prepare to join the revolution in diapers.”

Image source of portable toilets that are being offered to some Occupy Wall Street protesters, but not to all. Photo courtesy Wikipedia

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