On the Town   


Port-o-Potties and Me

By LouV

I’ve long held a special place in my heart for port-o-potty’s – port-o-sans as I like to call them. It comes from the original Woodstock movie, when they interviewed the Port-o-san cleaner man. He had a son in Nam, remember? Cool guy. I was 7 years old that summer, living a few miles from the concert grounds. Close enough to sniff it.. frustratingly too far away to hear the music. So I think I’ve lived vicariously thru Port-o-sans ever since. To me, they are the embodiment of the Woodstock concert. Something you can touch and feel, even after the concert is long gone.

Festivals and road races are where you find the most impressive displays of port-o-potty’s. I’ve seen as many as 30 or 40 port-o-potty’s strung out next to each other. Back 20 years ago you were lucky to find 5 port-o-potty’s together at an outdoor concert, with long lines. The port-o-potty business must be doing well..

The NYC Marathon doesn’t furnish enough port-o-potty’s. I’ve never run one but I hear it takes 45 minutes for people in the back just to get to the start line after the gun has sounded (nowadays 30,000 people run it). By that time a whole lot of folks have to use a port-o-potty.. So it’s become custom for guys to pee off the side of the Verrazano Bridge (I don’t know what the women do; maybe they pee off the side too) – you’ll literally see thousand of guys peeing off the side of the bridge 30 minutes into the race. (Not to be in the fireboat at the bottom of the bridge.)

Grete Waitz sure could have used a port-o-potty when she was winning 7 straight women’s marathon’s back in the early nineties. Every year she was getting a bad case of the runs at the 20 mile mark, refused to use a port-o-potty, and instead, just kind of ‘ran’ through it (read that, port-o-pottied in her pants).

There are nuances about the port-o-potty too – like how society hides urinals from woman in all aspects of life, except for the port-o-potty, where it’s thrust in their face like it or not.

Everyone seems to have a port-o-potty story: Meeting someone on the port-o-potty line, making fun of someone who was taking too slow, ignoring the universal port-o-potty red-occupied/green-vacant sign and accidentally opening up the doors on someone, guarding the port-o-potty door for your kid, and so forth. We encourage you to send your stories in to us here at paperbacknovel.com.

In the meantime, we begin our port-o-potty photo essay.

First installment coming next week.

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