Same place, same problem

Without warning, I needed to use the toilet. It's one of the symptoms of being old — two or three days might go by without a poop, but when it announces itself, it cannot be ignored.

Unfortunately, I was at the bus station in Burien, where there have never been any facilities for such an ordinary human need.

Same thing had happened in December, so I'd left a dump on the concrete. There'd been no other choice — it was on the concrete, or in my pants.

I wrote a letter to the transit agency about it, begging them to provide public facilities. I let the trail cool, though, since my pooping had been caught on security cameras, and didn't actually send my letter until a few weeks ago.

And there I was again, same place, same problem, and again noplace legal to shit. I could literally hear my bowels stirring. I don't think I had ten minutes.

Maybe I could delicately waddle to the Burger King a block away, wait in line to order a hamburger I didn't want, and then as a paying customer ask for the key to their men's room? Nope, with that much walking I'd poop my pants before getting there.

Maybe I could squat in the short bushes that separate the bus depot from its parking lot. I scanned the branches and leaves, but a 'Transit Security' van was parked beside the bushes, and two gendarmes were leaning on the vehicle, watching me watching them from the bus station.

Then I noticed a big blue box next to the security van. No, it wasn't a TARDIS, it was better — a sanican, one of those tall plastic non-flushing toilets.

Usually sanicans are for construction workers, not we the people, so they're padlocked, but padlocked or not, I was going to poop within minutes. I crossed the busway to the sidewalk by the bushes, and warily approached the sanican quick as I could without squirting, but expecting to be disappointed.

As I came close, one of the guards asked, "How you doin'?"

"I'm doing fine if the sanican is open," I replied, and reached for the door, and… it opened. Hosanna to nobody in particular! An atheist's prayers had been answered!

Once inside, the door was impossible to close, though. I pulled with all my minimal might, but it remained about two inches ajar, and couldn't be latched.

Time's up, I said to myself, dropped my pants and sat in the unlatched sanican. The crapper was filled with other people's droppings, up to about a foot below the toilet seat. I added my poop on top of everyone else's, and it came out fast and loose. 

El feces flagrante, voices approached, and a mean-looking black guy with very muscular arms opened the door to the sanican. We made eye contact as I was crapping, and he said, "Oh god, sorry, man."

He closed the door, and I wiped my ass, then stepped into the sunshine feeling so much better than a few minutes earlier. The man who'd opened the door was waiting, and apologized again. "Don't worry about it," I said magnanimously. "The door doesn't latch."

He stepped into the sanican, and I heard him swear as he realized the awful truth in what I'd said. One of the security guards, same guy who'd asked 'How ya doin'', said, "We put in a report, to get it fixed."

"I'm just happy it's here," I said.

The security guard was in a talky mood, and said as I was walking away, "Yeah, they installed it a week ago, but some people still go in the bushes, or on the walkway."

And I'm sure that some people do, but a lot of people don't — that was clear from the fifty gallons of shit, urine, condoms and cigarette wrappers in the sanican's tank.

My bus had come and gone while I'd been pooping, so I waited another half hour for a ride home. But that's OK. No complaints from me, except that it would be nice if there was a sign somewhere at the bus depot, "Sanican thataway," so people would know. 

And I'm not certain, but I might be the hero here. I'd sent my letter (an email, actually) to the transit agency on March 1. They never replied, but maybe my email is why people can now poop and pee at the Burien Transit Center.

Maybe I've finally made the world a better place.



  1. That's a beautiful story, Doug. Making the world a better place, one sanican at a time. :)

  2. Finally a happy ending!

  3. A 5-poop rating on a scale of 1 to 5!


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