John Metcalfe was CityLab’s Bay Area bureau chief, covering climate change and the science of cities.
Also, a pilot program to give out free toilet paper in China fails miserably.
Put on your goggles and plastic poncho, this Toilet Tuesday is about to get messy:
WHO WANTS FREE TP? (EVERYBODY)
A government experiment to provide free toilet paper in Qingdao's public lavatories has ended in abysmal failure (or a booming success, depending on when you used the facilities), as people simply unspooled all the tushie wiper and went home with it. The eastern Chinese city's bathroom bandits were so rapacious that they stole up to 1.2 miles of paper per day from 24 facilities, making the $236,000 sanitation effort into something more like a welfare program. Toilet paper in China's washrooms is never a guarantee, despite the country's claim to have invented the stuff in the sixth century. Smart squatters often carry around wads of emergency Kleenex.
The initiative's implosion has China's social-media philosophers bemoaning the failure of the country to ethically evolve, as the WSJ reports in "Toilet Paper Abuse Prompts China Morality Debate." One person called it a "national tragedy," while another had this explanation for the debacle: “With the birth of these new public services such as free toilet paper, the unavoidable reaction from the public is likely to be a ‘greedy’ one – in order to fully enjoy the government’s services to one’s heart’s content.”
THE FECES WILL GET OFF AT THE NEXT STOP
A group of British teenagers, unfortunately all afflicted with an incurable case of armcrossosis, claim they had the worst. bus. ride. ever, after the loo overflowed and swamped the cabin with urine and poop. Sixteen-year-old Jessica Squires tells the Croydon Advertiser that she and her friends were returning to London from the T4 music festival in Weston-super-Mare, a beach town with public sculpture that would make for a totally rockin' toilet, by bus when the "toilet exploded" and... well, here's Squires describing it:
"It was a tsunami of urine and excrement going down the coach where we were all sitting – it was disgusting.
"There was poo down the middle of the aisle and it stank.
"We were saying to the driver 'please stop' so we could get off and he refused.
"Everyone was crying on the way back, there weren't any windows open."
The sobbing teens had to hotbox human-waste fumes for an hour before the driver pulled into a service station, where Squires' boyfriend attacked the mess with a mop. That's according to the passenger accounts: National Express, the company that runs the intercity bus line, says the kids intentionally clogged the toilet and then hurled verbal abuse at the driver. Opposing parties can probably all agree that it was an unpleasant ride, for everyone.
BLIND TOILET ITEM
Which celebrity recently carped on Facebook about fans buttonholing him in the bathroom: "You wouldn’t wanna handshake standing at the pisser in the mens bathroom next to me would ya?... Yes, that's happened to me too.... Most people never consider the 'situation.' That's really important... I understand the excitement and all but just take a second and think... Is this cool right now?'"
The answer lies here.
Top illustration of cresting wave by Hokusai.