This weekend I did something that I’ve wanted to do for a while now, and that was to go visit my old alma mater, UBC. In particular, I wanted to see the AMS Student Nest, which is the new student union building. I thought that since it was the semester was over, it wouldn’t be crowded and that the wide open spaces of the beautiful campus would allow me to enjoy a bit of nature and see some of the new buildings.
I guess I should have expected this but basically everything was closed on campus. While some parts of our city and businesses are open under the new normal, much of the UBC campus still closed to the public. Nearly every building I saw had signs posted on all entrances, indicated the building would be closed until further notice because of the pandemic.
While this was a bummer, I couldn’t really argue against that. Each building would need a social distancing plan in place and some of these buildings are close to 100 year old, and keeping people two meters apart isn’t practical in some areas. Nevertheless, I was happy to walk around, get some fresh air, and reminisce about the good old days when I was a much younger man, attending UBC for both my undergrad and graduate degrees.
At one point, however, later in the afternoon I started to feel the need to go pee. At first, it was just a mild indication that my bladder was full, so I began looking for a building that was open, but everything I had seen beforehand told me I probably wasn’t going to find anything. Building after building was closed and locked up tight. I even wandered up to the University Village area where I found the McDonald’s there was open for take-out but the washrooms were closed.
As I continued to wander the campus, the urgency rose to alarming levels. Somewhere near the Totem Park residences, I decided I needed to relieve myself and it did not matter if I found a washroom or not. I began scouting the area. There were many which were exposed to the windows of the residences and I didn’t want to pee where someone might see me. I saw a small wooded area but I then realized the tree cover wasn’t as dense as I thought and I could easily be seen. I finally stumbled upon two large dumpsters in a small walled off area by a dorm. One was a normal but huge industrial sized dumpster and the other was a garbage compactor that was especially tall and wide. The walls were on three sides and dumpster and compactor blocked off the front. This was as good as it was going to get I thought.
I did a quick look around and saw no one, so I darted behind the compactor, undid my pants, and started urinating in public. I absolutely detest having to urinate in public. It was then that I realized one of the great ironies of doing so. Whenever you pee in public, you’re always so scared of being caught, so you just want to finish quick, zip up your pants and get the hell of there. Unfortunately, a pee that is done in public is never quick. The fact that you’re peeing in public usually means it was a last resort for you and that you exhausted all other attempts in finding a washroom. Now, your bladder has become so full, it needed to be emptied no matter what, even if done in public.
So, that was the situation I found myself in, I peed and peed and when I thought there could be no more pee left, I continued to pee, with a strong and unwavering stream. It felt like I was peeing for five minutes straight, long enough for someone to call the on-campus RCMP, for them to get in a patrol car, drive to me, and then find me behind the garbage compactor, all the while, I’d be peeing.
Mercifully, my peeing ended some thirty minutes later. Feeling very relieved, I zipped up and discreetly left the walled off area. I felt so much better. It was at this point that I decided I should probably head home before I needed to pee again while I was on-campus.
I know the issue I faced today wasn’t just something I alone have had to deal with. Homeless people in particular and anyone that needs to be out and about have had trouble finding washrooms to do their business because everything is now closed or won’t allow people to use their facilities. In my local municipality, they have tried to solve this by installing porta-potties in high traffic areas, so people have places to go, rather than on the street or in an alleyway. This hasn’t been done at UBC though, and that’s why I peed next to a garbage compactor today.
Be forewarned though, if your local health authority is lifting some restrictions but not all, and you’re venturing out more and longer now, you might be caught without anywhere to go.