Day 66: Today conserve water.

All of the urinals on campus – with the exception of one, in the basement of one of the libraries – are Kohler waterless urinals.

The first time I used one – nearly two years ago, when I came for my campus visit – I was struck by how vaginal the urinals were. It’s hard to see in this picture, but the bottom lip sticks out much more than that of a traditional urinal, which requires the user to stand almost over it, rather than in front of it.

It made me a bit uncomfortable the first time, I have to admit – and it made me a bit uncomfortable all over again when I came back for my first semester. I’ve since gotten used to them, as one gets used to many things.

At any rate, the plaque that accompanies each urinal – because how will everyone know how smug to feel after pissing in one of these things unless the company tells us? – claims that each urinal conserves up to 40,000 gallons of fresh water a year.

That statement intrigues me – obviously the makers of such products would know how much water-per-flush a standard urinal uses, and how many flushes it would take to get to 40,000 gallons. It’s the “up to” that gets me; does this mean that, if the urinal was in continual use (someone urinating in it every two minutes, around the clock?), 40,000 gallons worth of flushes would be saved? If that’s the case, then far less than 40,000 gallons are actually getting saved. Of course, that figure might be based on how often urinals tend to get flushed in certain high-use venues (movie theaters, football stadiums, gas stations, brothels), and not on how many times a urinal might get flushed in an artificial, round-the-clock-pissing scenario.

If the latter is the case – if the figure is based on actual, real-world data – how does such data get collected? Somebody sitting in the bathroom with a clip-board? That would be an awful job – although some people might enjoy it, and those would be precisely the people you wouldn’t want doing it.

At any rate, I did my part toward the conservation of those 40,000 gallons – I’ve had a lot of coffee today (to get me through hours and hours of conferences with students), and so I’ve … well, I’ve been pissing like Gulliver in Lilliput. Puttin’ out fires in the royal district left and right.

It’s been a good day, when you look at it like that.


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