Monday, July 18, 2016

Diasporic Dining XXXXI: When the Shit Hits the Fan

chemical toilet in Baghdad (photo: Chitrapa)
Have you ever pulled into a roadside stop and faced the dreaded, “restrooms are out of order” and advising you to use the portable potty out back. That’s what drivers who sought refuge at the Cumberland Farms off exit 70 on the LIE faced on a recent summer’s afternoon. Remember the most horrifying scene from The Shining when Jack Torrance is axing through the door behind which his wife and children cower. The terror, drivers who had seen the film experienced, was probably a little less than the sight of the angry piles of shit, steaming amidst a heatwave, that covered many toilet seats outside. They undoubtedly felt a little like Alice searching for rabbit holes, but without success. Where was the portal that would finally provide relief? Actually, the shit (and other waste) on the seats in many of the stalls, which management had shown scant effort in having removed, was a little like the intractable problems of the world. Terrorists left scores killed in Nice and 140 dead in Baghdad. The coup in Turkey had failed. Police officers had been killed by snipers in Baton Rouge in vengeance for the killing of an innocent black man, Alton Sterling, and then, of course, there were the killings of policemen in Dallas and the killing of an another innocent black man Philando Castile, in the suburbs of St Paul, by police. There were undoubtedly motorists who felt a thank you was in order to Cumberland Farms. No headline could have been as powerful as the statement on the seats of those portable toilets. Is the sewage problem outside of Cumberland Farms more indefatigable than the problems facing our world? Hopefully not.

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