Wednesday, June 10, 2009

When ya gotta go

Well, one of the major news story in Boston earlier this week was the one about the bus driver who pulled over mid-route and relieved himself on the side of the road.

When the driver stopped the bus at a point where there was no bus stop, one of the passengers reported that she:

... followed the driver with her eyes and grew more surprised.

“I could not see him from the waist down, but the body language that I witnessed, it’s unmistakable when a guy’s peeing – on the side of the road,” she said.

The passenger - a nurse, no less, and one who works with the homeless and has, thus, very likely seen someone urinate in public before - somehow felt compelled to report the bus driver to the MBTA.

The driver will receive some sort of discipline for his infraction (which he didn't deny, by the way).

The article (which was published on, the online version of the lamentably going bust Boston Globe) set of a storm of commenting.

This is not surprising: any story about the MBTA, or T, (our local transportation system) tends to draw a lot of rather contentious comments. Most recently, the big story was the texting T-driver who'd rammed into another trolley car because he was texting his girlfriend. Dozens were injured, including the T-driver, who was subsequently fired. Bad enough, the texting T-driver turned out to be transgendered, which brought all kinds of everything-bashers out of the woodwork. Talk about heaping on....

But the comments that I read on the bus driver with the call of nature were surprisingly common-sense. Of the 40 of so comments I scanned, I'd say they were running about 20:1 in favor of the driver and against Nurse Nancy.

I had never really given much thought to how terrible it must be for a bus to have to relieve himself/herself. Where do you go? It's not like on a subway car, where (other than on our Green Line trolley cars) there are booths where at least someone could discretely pee in a jar. Plus I believe that all the subway stations have toilets for drivers. (Again, this wouldn't help the Green Line drivers once they get above ground, where there are no stations, just trolley stops.)

A treatise on the general lack of public facilities will be saved for another day.

What I will say is:

BFD that someone pulled over to pee. Now, seeing people take a whiz in public is not my all time favorite thing in the world, but if ya gotta go, ya gotta go. Why this busy-body Nurse Nancy had to go and report him, I'll never know. Especially since, if a man urinates in public, he can get arrested for indecent exposure, and end up with a sexual offender designation on his record. Which I would think that someone who works with the homeless would be well aware of. A lot of these guys have this offense on their records - and try getting a job or an apartment if you're listed as a sexual offender.

Has Nurse Nancy never been to Paris? On my last trip, I didn't notice any pissoirs on the street, but we did stop in a cafe where there was a urinal next to the door to the ladies' WC. (My nieces really enjoyed seeing this one, I can tell you. Fortunately it was not in use at the time.)

Sometimes, even if you don't have that cup of coffee or soda, things happen, and I'd a lot rather have my bus driver pull over and let it go than any of the alternatives I can think of.

A few years ago, I was in a panic driving to work. There was a terrible black ice situation that I didn't realize until I was trapped on Route 93. It took me 5 hours to get 30 miles. Fortunately, I never have that cup of tea at home before I leave for work, or I would have been in trouble. Not a lot of private places to pull off on 93 - and I only had a one-door car, so I couldn't have made a little privacy zone for myself.

It will be interesting to see how this one plays out for the driver, but I'm happy that the weight of public opinion, when last I looked, was in his favor. Vox populi, vox dei and all that. (At least in this case.)


K. said...

For Boston, for Boston!

Is the Globe really going under?

Maureen Rogers said...

Oh, probably not - but The NY Times Co. (which owns them) is trying to unload them.