Saturday, July 12, 2014


Sitting at the Delmar Metrolink the other day, in the hot sun, was a woman waiting for a bus that runs every 40 minutes.  She was 60ish, African-American, in somewhat fragile health, and on that day, dry as dust.

"Why don't they have a drinking fountain?" she asked.  "All this money we pay, and we can't get a drinking fountain."  She didn't have even a quarter to buy water from one of the local restaurants.

"We need bathrooms, too," I commented. 

"Yes, but right now, I am so dry, I couldn't even go to the bathroom," she said.  "I need a drink of water!"
The need for bathrooms has already been well documented on this blog.

But we need drinking fountains, too.  Riding your buses is thirsty work.  There is rarely enough shade at bus stops and terminals, and often there is no shade.  Too often there are no places nearby where a person can get a drink of water for free.  If you want water you will need to pay at least a quarter to get a cup from a fountain machine, or buy a plastic bottle of water. Of course, that is the same as needing the toilet.  You have to buy something at most places. 

If I were driving a car for an hour and a half on the highways, there would be ample rest stops where I could get water and go to the bathroom.  But during my daily three hour trip on the buses (90 minutes one way, on three bus lines each way, with at least a 20 minute wait between one of those transfers) there is no consideration for my most basic needs.

It's the 21st Century and we can send a man to outer space, but we don't have public facilities in our earthbound cities.  Legislators, lawmakers, and the media argue endlessly over when life begins in a woman's uterus.  Corporations are ruled to be "persons".

But the one thing that all people have in common (except for corporate "persons") is a bladder and bowels.  One thing we all need to survive is water.

Our city and nation, our entire planet, is ruled by shareholders and executives seeking profits for themselves.  They don't care about us, and they never have.  We are cash cows to be milked for labor and then again for taxes.

We, the people, pay for everything but get very little in return.

Maybe when we are all thirsty and incontinent enough, we will begin to demand our fair share.

Let's start with public toilets and drinking fountains at St. Louis Metro transfer centers, and go from there.

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