Linked article from WordPress.com: https://wp.me/pakr2b-1ZT
Hygiene lessons are supposed to be taught to a child before he will be separated from his mother for hours and must cate fir himself with the help of a caregiver (pre-school/kindergarten teacher) who must split her attention between him and a small group of other children. Little kids are not solid yet with bathroom skills and hand washing but it is assumed, usually accurately, as they get older and acquire more skills a little kid will develop into an adult who can keep himself neat, clean, with no body odor or bad breath. The cleanliness standard is high in the United States where people must maintain themselves so that no one would guess that they sweat, use the bathroom, eat food, or get dirty in any way.
Challenges of Homelessness
In order to maintain yourself so well that no one would think you have to maintain yourself at all, you must have equipment. All of the equipment relies upon running fresh water that is constantly replenished. Homeless people can be dirty and smelly in part BC they do not have access to running water, sinks, toilets. In Honolulu people discovered that a public source of running water will draw the homeless. There are no outdoor sinks, drinking fountains (even before COVID caused places to close drinking fountains), or toilets. Businesses and restaurants that used to provide bathrooms to their customers do not do so anymore and there are reasons that this article wi address. Here is a list of what NOT to do when you are “out there.”
1. Lingering. If you find a bathroom that is open to the public do nit do one of these things people hate. A. Do not take up a lot of time by occupying the space longer than 5 minutes. Whatever you have to do, do it fast or rhe proprietors will deny access. I have known a few people who stayed in bathrooms at state parks for hours, like 3 -4 because they were using the sink to bathe and hand wash their clothes. Or they were in the bathroom getting high and did not want to leave a place where they can lick a door between themselves and the world. A public bathroom is nit for your leisure. It is nit a “rest” room. Get in and out abd do not make people knock on the door to hurry you along.
2. Leaving a disgusting mess. People might take a long time in their own bathrooms but I am sure that people who trash public areas would not treat their own space that way. Flush the toilet. Wipe up water on floor and sink. Moat public restrooms are not made for what people in Honolulu call “birdbaths” which is bathing by using the sink. Water splashed around does nit go anywhere until someone cleans it up and that someone needs to be you. I have been with people who are doing well in life and people in the street. No matter who U am with there’s always a woman who will leave used feminine products in plain sight. This form if nastiness appears to cross class lines. A homeless woman cannot afford to do this if she can find an open bathroom. And most importantly do not leave drug paraphernalia.. It is both disgusting and horrifying to find used needles.
3. Overdose. Several years ago I read an article about how places on the mainland that had since been 24 hour temporary sanctuaries for the public, like churches, and libraries, had to close at night or completely deny access to bathrooms because too many people were overdosing on heroin and dying. Some church officials were heartbroken to have to turn people away but finding one dead body is the stuff of nightmares. When you start talking more than one dead body, people will take swift and radical action to try to keep any hint of death out of their reality. If there’s one thing Americans do not want to see, talk about, or be aware of, it is death. Americans cannot even tolerate genuine expressions of grief; displays of strong emotion make us supremely uncomfortable. American culture demands that death not intrude upon life. I have heard other places are different..
It is really best nit to take risks that could result in people finding your body and that s what you’re doing if you do drugs although no one ever allows themselves to think about this truth. If you’re sneaking drugs into someone’s space do not over do it. Note: I am not advocating doing drugs in someone’s shower. I am addressing reality.
4. WASTING OPPORTUNITIES. I know of at least two programs that provide showers fir homeless people. You might have to wait in line and adjust your ways fir others. People will refuse to be seen going into one if those places out of pride. In truth, people know you are out there. You’re not fooling anyone the way you think you are. Your face is familiar and recognized as one of the area’s homeless. Accept any inconvenience to use facilities that allow you access. Same rules apply. Leave the place looking like you never entered.
5. CONTROVERSIAL OPINION. If someone else leaves behind syringes, for example, consider picking them up BC there will be no investigation for the perpetrator All homeless will be blamed. “See how they are,” is what will be said. The willingness to keep the facilities open will diminish with every incident until its the last straw. Besides, its nice to show gratitude to people who are helping you. Moreover by doing something nice they will never know about, you keep your spirit bright.
6. HOARDING. People who want to help the homeless often hand out supplies. Now and then a small group will come downtown and pass out sandwiches. If you have the chance to get soap, feminine hygiene products, by all means take them. But only take a few. Do-gooders feel taken advantage of when one person snatches a bunch of items. And they winder if they are not helping to perpetuate a mentality that promotes taking at the expense of others. Do-gooders need to feel they are doing something good. That’s their payoff. If you rob them if their payoff and they believe they have done more harm than good they will lose motivation.
7. DO NOT TELL ANYONE. If you find an out if the way bathroom tell no one. People wi ruin it. Sad but gruel. The proprietors would appreciate your silence.
8. CREATING POSSIBILITIES. You might get a date who takes you to his place. That occurrence is not unusual in Honolulu. Or, you might find yourself in someone’s apartment, usually another addict. Carry your shower stuff, always. Ask to take a quick shower no matter what you’re there to do, with your own soap and towel. Plus a plastic bag for your dirty clothes and wet towel. Five minutes–say it and mean it. Make sure you clean the tub. Ideally you’ll leave the bathroom better than you found it. Do not think you should not clean up if your host is messy. They tolerate their mess. Not yours. And they will notice your mess, even if they have a pile of dirty towels on the floor. The host will remain open to the person who comes after you. No matter how humble your circumstances you can do something to benefit another, s life affirming action.
Public Bathroom Summary
In short, a bathroom is supposed to look like no one uses it. People are grossed out by evidence that a bathroom is used, even if they also use that bathroom. Do not think other homeless people will be ok with a discarded needle on the floor or water everywhere. They won’t. They will be as disgusted as the people who cross the street to avoid a homeless person. The sad thing is that most homeless people do their best to keep areas clean. It is a case where one person can truly ruin it for everyone. Do not be that person.