On Sunday, my husband and I took the kids to the state fair as a last hurrah before school starts this week. When the time came for us to eat “lunch” (I put “lunch” in quotes because funnel cake and a corn dog are state fair lunch, not real lunch) we grabbed a picnic table on the side of the long line of food stands and got our nosh on. Then, about halfway into my corn dog, it happened: a couple walking by with their son stopped about ten feet from our table, pulled out a collapsible, portable potty, pulled down their son’s shorts and underwear, and sat him down on it.
In the middle of the food court. In the middle of the road. And I mean, in the middle. People had to walk around them to get their delicious elephant ears and cheese fries.
I was shocked. I was sitting there, watching a child take a poop in a public place. How do I know he was pooping? Because this particular portable potty came with a clear plastic bag to capture their child’s evacuations.
Oh yes. I’m serious.
I kept looking around, wondering if I was the only one who was seeing what I was seeing. And you know what? Not one single person seemed to notice what was going on. If they did, they were much more polite than I am and pretended not to see it. Or maybe they see this shit all the time, I don’t know. The state fair attracts all kinds. For me, however, this was a novelty.
I have been through potty training – twice. I know how hard it is. I remember when taking my kids to a public place for more than twenty minutes was nerve-wracking, potentially embarrassing, and required many wipes and changes of clothes. But you know what? I never for one second considered whipping out a potty chair and allowing my child to relieve themselves in a public place. That doesn’t mean that there aren’t extraordinarily inconvenient emergencies, and I would not have blamed this couple if that was what this appeared to be, but it wasn’t. This was clearly the norm for them.
The second this kid said he needed to go, his parents dropped what they were doing and pulled out the potty. Even if it were an emergency, even if there were pee trickling down my kid’s leg, I would respect his privacy (because he is entitled to some, even if he’s three) and the corn dogs of those around me and take the extra minute to move off to the side. These parents didn’t look AT ALL concerned because apparently, this is what they do. State fair, grocery store, church, wherever. When Johnny needs to potty, Johnny is going potty. Now. Look away, Grandma.
Well, guess what. This is not okay. These people had no excuse for not finding a more private place. They weren’t running from the law, and they weren’t in a barren wasteland without trees or shelter. In fact, I saw this kid on the potty a second time, while they were watching the cattle judging. Just right there on the ground amidst the legs of strangers.
Please, people, don’t be selfish — there are other people around you. Life doesn’t revolve around you and your potty training issues. Have a little common courtesy and don’t force people to watch your child take a dump.
Is that really asking too much?