Tuesday, March 20, 2012


So this entry is about porta-potties.

Well, sort of.

First I want to talk about Bingo. You know, the game old people play.  I've played it four times in the past month and am a little weary of it. Three of the times were at school fundraisers, so that's my excuse... the other time was just for fun. But one thing that stuck out in my mind was how different each of the experiences was, in terms of the quality of the prizes and the fanciness of the Bingo cards themselves. 

At one event, the cards were made of flimsy paper and we had to mark our numbers with a crayon. 

At another, the cards were tattered and dirty and had actual "checkout date" stamps on the back going all the way back to the 70's.

Then at one game, the cards were so posh that if you were finished with a round, you simply had to move the tab of the free space, and it would automatically clear the whole card for you. Like magic!

Now, about porta-potties...


Bingo cards and porta-potties are related, you see. Hear me out.

Throughout my long life, I've encountered many different types of portable bathrooms. 

There's the old standards -- the kind that you find at carnivals or construction sites (a place where I've spent oh so much time) -- basically just a hole in a box, no sink, very ghetto. I really hate these. Their scent is unfabulous and the "occupied" sign and the lock are often faulty, which can result in some embarrassing situations.

A slightly fancier event (a wedding, perhaps) may require units where the toilet "flushes" and a little sink is inside the structure for guests' cleansing convenience. One company I found online even offers the units in "Wedding White." Ooh la la!

Think it can't get better? Oh, but it can. For example, there's this. The "VIP Unit." The first line of the description on that website is equal parts hilarious and offensive: 

"Not everybody who attends your event organized belongs to the same class." 

The grammar is awkward, but the message is clear: Jack Dawson need not apply. You are so not worthy of peeing in style, pal. Go back to third class.

The best portable restroom I ever encountered in real life was one of these. It was on a film set, and I told everyone about it afterwards. "Hey, Molly, how'd it go, did you meet any of the act--" "YEAH, FINE, BUT DID I TELL YOU ABOUT THE PORTA-POTTIES?!?  THEY WERE THE BEST! ALLOW ME TO DESCRIBE THEM IN INTIMATE DETAIL!! OMG THEY HAD LIGHTS AND WERE HEATED AND THEY FLUSHED AND...."

You know, it's funny how getting to spend three minutes in an awesome porta-potty can really boost your mood for the next few months.  It's like being upgraded to first class on an airplane or having a mysterious stranger pay for your meal at a restaurant. (Note: these things have never actually happened to me. But I can imagine.)

And it gets me thinking.

Some people may only ever encounter the most lavish restrooms and the fanciest of Bingo cards. They won't ever truly appreciate what they have, because they don't know how good it is compared to what else is out there.

Others may only ever get to take a potty break in a broken-down outhouse and make do with rustic Bingo cards. They'll be okay with that, but they won't get to experience the thrill that comes with encountering something fancy and amazing every once in a while.

But when it comes right down to it, no matter who you are or what you have, whether you do it with style or with the bare essentials, you're going to get the same result: you're going to get to play Bingo and you're going to go to the bathroom.

But you know what? I like that I've gotten to experience both ends of the spectrum. I know what all is out there, I know what I like, and I feel 

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