Tuesday, 23 June 2009

The French pee problem

France is not a perfect country. There is unemployment, high taxes, lack of customer service, excessive dog excrement and a severe national urinaton disfunction.


When wandering through any typical French city, you will likely see someone - usually a man - peeing in a corner somewhere. They are discrete, but not so discrete that you don't see them. The discreteness comes from the fact that they don't care and are therefore completely non-chalant about the whole public urination thing.

Since my toddler has stopped wearing diapers, I too have found myself taking part in the repulsive practice of dropping her pants behind a tree or bush or in a random corner of the park. but what's a mom to do in a country without public bathrooms? But there is a difference between a 3 year old little girl who is just learning to "hold it in" and a 35 year old man who you see taking a leak in front of your house...

I love our neighborhood; it's very lively, probably the liveliest in Lille. But lively also has it's downside, like the drunken idiots who wander down my street from the corner bars every Sunday. Our house happens to be closer to "the bad end of the street" and also happens to be the only one with a garage and a facade that's a little set back and provides a nice corner for men to hide while they pee literally into my house! Yes, once said urinator is properly positioned, his urine will not only enter through the joint in my garage door thus creating a puddle right under our bikes, but will also be carried by gravtity through the grates leading to the basement. (do you feel like puking too?).

It gave both me and Jerome such pleasure Sunday night to actually catch someone in the act as we returned home from La Fête de la Musique. The problem is that the guy had no shame. None at all, even though a pregnant woman and a 3 year old were watching him piss on their house. When Jerome slightly nudged him - making him pee all over himself - I began to wonder if this was the proper way to show your child how to deal with beligerent drunks who pee on your stuff. But I guess she's got to learn sooner or later that peeing on people's houses has consequences.

8 comments:

Beth said...

This is SO true!!!!

What's with all these French guys? They can't hold it until they get to a restroom or at least to a more secluded spot? What are they? Three years old?

Owen said...

There was a good post on this subject over at Not Waving but drowning not too long ago...

http://drowninginfrance.blogspot.com/2009/04/world-of-difference.html

That's just awful about your garage... I wonder if there is a human size version of the pigeon deterrents that get put on public buildings ? Or is there perhaps a window above your driveway from which you could dump buckets of toilet slop on their heads from ??? Really, enough is enough...

There certainly is a shortage though of restrooms in many places in France... I've found myself desperately needing to go sometimes even in Paris late at night, and no solutions in sight... not a pleasant situation to be in.

Rachael said...

Oh for goodness sake, it's not that hard! I hate the public peeing and my little guys aren't allowed do it. I'm a pedestrian which means I generally know where the public toilets are. Yes, we have to pay sometimes but it's better than peeing in the street!

My four year old has been asking to pee in public lately because his friends do. So aggravating!

Could you put a white sign over your cave window that reads "Pas un pissoir"? Or would that make it worse? Put up something that would make it splash back onto their shoes?

English Rider said...

How about a motion sensitive light that surprises any potential pee-distributors.
I have to say that we had a similar problem in Cornwall, U.K. when I was growing up. The Womens' Institute Hall was behind our garden and was home to the Scouts' Fund-raising Disco once a month. We could look out of our bedroom windows and see rows of men peeing against the wall. That and the noise from the Disco made many of our Bed and Breakfast customers leave sooner than planned. It drove my Father crazy.

Don't Feed The Pixies said...

I know the feeling well - i had to install a security gate to stop my drunken neighbours (yes, people who lived next door but one to me and not just random drunks) from peeing against my house (remember - they lived two doors away)and climbing over my fence at 2am.

Yay to Jerome. Perhaps you should give them marks out of ten?

Marianne said...

As much as I complain about it, I'm not sure that I won't let (help) my toddler do it when he'll be 'propre', cause as mentioned, where else can you go?
I'm all for the self-cleaning paying ones, Rachael mentioned, but in our town there are only 4...

I've got one up on all of you- when leaving our old apartment one day, my husband almost slipped and fell in a puddle of piss in the front entrry way, cause apparently there was a line outside for peeing on the building... we promptly moved.

Reb said...

Thanks for the all the support with the pee problem. I actually have dreamed up a contraption where an electrical current will be emitted when the urine stream hits my house thus shocking a certain member...

For the kids, I got a little portable potty that Suzanne uses when we're out and not near a toilet; A great little contraption that doubles at a toilet seat.

Brian of Nazareth said...

Reb, I was thinking the same thing about the electrical contraption. Maybe hook it up to a little metal bowl with a sign over it saying "PISSER ICI"! :D

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