In Honolulu the search for a public bathroom can take a person far and wide


If you’re in downtown, forget finding a public bathroom

I hate it when one person ruins something for everyone. When it comes to homelessness, one of the things that makes it so difficult is the indifferent attitude of a slob. College, rehab, jail. These were opportunities to learn how women take care of themselves. In my experience with people I have seen that there is always one woman who has disgusting bathroom habits. So disgusting you think, “she must be doing this on purpose to get to people. No one would really leave that behind, right?” Unfortunately, something that is horrifying to me is just a regular way of life for someone else. Not to put too fine a point on it, but I am talking used feminine hygiene products indifferently tossed to the floor for the next person to kick aside. Unless, god forbid, the next person steps on it. That’s an experience a person does not forget. There’s one of these unspeakably disgusting people in every group. Maybe two. The way they leave evidence of their bodily functions and fluids infuriated me. When I had no choice I pushed down the anger. If I had been in public and I had the notion that someone was inflicting her filth upon me, I would have felt a different kind of rage. It’s the fury you feel when things don’t have to be like this. But they are.

I get why all the bathrooms have been closed in town

When people are on drugs there is something they relentlessly pursue besides getting, using, and finding ways and means to get more. That sought after treasure is a safe, private ace to get high. A person does not want to get caught which can lead to any terrible outcome depending where you are when someone stumbles upon you with a needle in your arm. Besides, it’s not a good look. People don’t need to see you like that not just for your sake but for theirs. It could be heartbreaking, traumatic, or maybe worst of all, enticing to the uninitiated. So you seek the public bathrooms with locking doors and running water, and things might have been ok with no one the wiser. However, here’s what happens:

  • People lock themselves in the bathroom for hours are a time and require management or the police to get them to leave
  • I addition to used pads, they leave used needles.
  • Their only option for bathing us what’s called “taking a birdbath” in the sink. Water everywhere. Before the attempt to provide public bathrooms was abandoned altogether, signs were posted advising the public that removal of clothing and washing items was strictly prohibited. To no avail
  • People overdosed and died. I have read that finding dead bodies in public bathrooms was a big problem on the mainland. Now and then it happened here in Honolulu. But like I said, it only takes one person one time and things are ruined for all other similarly situated people. Yes, I think one dead body would be enough for establishments like Safeway by the Pali Highway to say “forget it.” Understandably.

A public bathroom with running water is highly prized by Honolulu homeless. Access to this type of facility is non-existent in 2021, Public bathroom closures are unfortunate but unavoidable.

I was driving downtown today, Nov 22, 2021 and I saw Honolulu City & County clearing a homeless encampment

It sure did not look like things had been ruined by one slob. It looked like a group of 50 or so people were putting down roots. It took five workers, a couple of trucks and a police escort to clear out the cardboard box make shift tents that took up a long stretch of sidewalk by the medical examiner’s office. The stench of urine is but one of the problems in these diy tent cities. It’s not just their problem but could become a matter of life and death island wide. No exaggerating.

The lack of bathrooms could create a serious health crisis. When I was in college a teaching assistant said that public health depends on one thing more than anything else: the proper disposal of human waste. Without that, we could die. The transmission of disease through oral-fecal contact is not as unlikely as it sounds bc it’s the pathogens we cannot see that are deadly. If we don’t want cholera outbreaks–and believe me, we don’t- we have to figure out how to provide bathroom facilities for the homeless, assuming there’s no way to house everyone. And what about the used needles people are going to leave behind? Not most people. Maybe only one person. But it will happen. What about that maddening violation?

I honestly do not know

No on

E

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