纽约时报双语:美国,一个没有小便自由的国度

美国,一个没有小便自由的国度
America Is Not Made for People Who Pee
纪思道
2021年3月9日
纽约时报双语:美国,一个没有小便自由的国度

PORTLAND, Ore. — Here’s a populist slogan for President Biden’s infrastructure plan: Pee for Free!

俄勒冈州波特兰市——拜登总统的基建计划不如用这个民粹主义式口号:尿尿免费(Pee for Free)!

Sure, we need investments to rebuild bridges, highways and, yes, electrical grids, but perhaps America’s most disgraceful infrastructure failing is its lack of public toilets.

是的,我们需要投资重建桥梁、公路,当然还有电网,但是,令美国最颜面尽失的基建失败可能是缺乏公共厕所。

Greeks and Romans had public toilets more than 2,000 years ago, with people sitting on benches with holes to do their business. There were no partitions, and Romans wiped with sponges on sticks that were dipped in water and shared by all users.

希腊人和罗马人在两千多年前就拥有公厕,人们坐在带孔的长椅上如厕。没有隔间,罗马人用固定在棍子上的海绵蘸水擦屁股,而海绵由所有人共同使用。

I’m not endorsing that arrangement, but at least the ancient Romans operated large numbers of public latrines, which is more than can be said of the United States today.

我不是支持用这种方式,但至少古罗马人开设了大量的公共厕所,比今天的美国多。

The humorist Art Buchwald once recounted an increasingly desperate search for a toilet in Manhattan. He was turned down at an office building, a bookstore and a hotel, so he finally rushed into a bar and asked for a drink.

幽默作家阿特·包可华(Art Buchwald)曾经讲述有一次在曼哈顿疯狂寻找厕所的事。他被办公楼、书店和旅馆拒绝,最终冲进了酒吧,要求喝一杯。

“What kind of drink?” the bartender replied.

“喝什么?”酒保回答。

“Who cares?” Buchwald answered. “Where’s the men’s room?”

“都行,”包可华回答。“男厕所在哪里?”

America should be better than that. Japan manages what may be the world’s most civilized public toilets — ubiquitous, clean and reliably equipped with paper — and almost every industrialized country is more bladder-friendly than America. Even poorer countries like China and India manage networks of public latrines. But the United States is simply not made for people who pee.

美国不该这么糟糕。日本管理着可能是世界上最文明的公共厕所——无处不在、干净并且总有厕纸——而且几乎每个工业化国家都比美国更“膀胱友好”。甚至像中国和印度这样的较贫穷国家,也管理着公共厕所网络。但是美国根本不适合需要尿尿的人生存。

“I go between cars or in bushes,” Max McEntire, 58, who has been homeless about 10 years, told me as he stood outside the tent where he lives here. “Sometimes at my age, if your body says pee, you’ve got to pee. If your body says poop, you can’t wait.”

“我在两辆车中间或者在灌木丛里尿尿,”58岁的麦克斯·麦肯泰尔(Max McEntire)已有十年无家可归,他站在他居住的帐篷外告诉我。“在我这个年龄,有时候如果你的身体要小便,那你就得小便。如果你的身体要大便,你也没法等。”

Most stores and businesses are of little help, he said, because they often insist on a purchase to use the restroom — and that’s even before a pandemic closed many shops.

他说,大多数店铺和商家都没什么用,因为他们经常坚持要消费才能使用洗手间——在大流行导致许多商店关闭之前就已经是这样。

“At night you’ll see men and women pulling their pants down and peeing and pooping in the gutter,” McEntire said. “People lose their dignity, they lose their pride.”

“在晚上,你会看到男人和女人脱下裤子,在排水沟里撒尿和大便,”麦肯泰尔说。“人们失去了尊严,他们失去了自尊。”

Cities also lose their livability, and open defecation becomes a threat to public health. Americans have painstakingly built new norms about dog owners picking up after their pets, but we’ve gone backward with human waste.

城市也失去了宜居性,露天排便已成为对公共卫生的威胁。美国人费尽心力建立了关于狗主人清理狗的排泄物的新规范,但我们却在人类排泄问题上倒退。

Meanwhile, it’s not just the homeless who suffer. Taxi drivers, delivery people, tourists and others are out and about all day, navigating a landscape that seems oblivious to the most basic of needs. The same is true of parents out with kids.

同时,受苦的不仅是无家可归的人。出租车司机、送货员、游客和其他人整日在外奔波的人,在似乎根本无法满足最基本需求的环境中游走。带孩子出门的父母也是如此。

In Ferguson, Mo., Walter and Ritania Rice took their children to a city park. Their 2-year-old son needed to pee, there was no toilet around, so Walter Rice took his son behind a bush, where the Rices’ 4-year-old urinated as well. A police officer arrested Rice for child neglect, and he was held in jail for nine hours and later found guilty by a judge.

在密苏里州的弗格森,沃尔特(Walter)和里塔尼亚·赖斯(Ritania Rice)将他们的孩子带到了城市公园。他们两岁的儿子需要尿尿,而周围没有厕所,因此沃尔特·赖斯将儿子带到了灌木丛后面,他们四岁的儿子也在那里尿尿了。一名警察以忽视儿童罪逮捕了赖斯,他被关进监狱九小时,后来被法官裁决有罪。

And in Piedmont, Okla., a police officer gave a 3-year-old boy a $2,500 ticket for public urination, even though the incident occurred on private property. After an outcry, the officer was fired; instead, I suggest he should have been given a couple of extra-large coffees and ordered to spend his shift monitoring a playground with no toilet.

在俄克拉荷马州皮埃蒙特,一个三岁男孩随地小便给警察开了一张2500美元的罚单,尽管事发地点属于私人地方。遭到抗议后,该警察被解雇;我倒是建议应该给他几杯超大杯的咖啡,并命令他负责巡逻没有厕所的操场。

What’s a parent supposed to do when a toddler needs to wee? And what about people with medical conditions that require more frequent urination or defecation? Why do we make life so difficult and humiliating? How is it that we can afford aircraft carriers but not toilets?

当幼儿需要尿尿时,父母该怎么办?那些因健康问题而需要更频繁地排尿或排便的人呢?为什么我们让生活如此艰难和屈辱?为什么我们买得起航空母舰却买不起厕所呢?

For men, it’s more convenient to disappear behind a trash can, but men also face greater risk of being arrested — and the consequences can be dire. At last count, 13 states sometimes classify people arrested for public urination as sex offenders.

对于男人来说,躲在垃圾桶后面更方便,但是也面临着更大的被捕风险——后果可能很严重。据最新统计,有13个州会将因随地小便而被捕的人归类为性犯罪者。

In Florida, a welder named Juan Matamoros was fined and ordered to move away from his home, which was near a park, because 19 years earlier he had been arrested for public urination; as a result, he was considered a lifelong sex offender and not allowed to live near a park.

在佛罗里达州,一位名叫胡安·马塔莫罗斯(Juan Matamoros)的焊工被罚款,并被勒令搬离公园附近的家,因为19年前他因随地小便被捕。结果,他被视为终身性犯罪者,被禁止住在公园附近。

Women seem less likely to be arrested but more likely to be humiliated.

女性被捕的可能性较低,但更可能遭到羞辱。

“It’s a big hit to your dignity the first time you have to squat down in a field or by the side of the road,” said Raven Drake, 37, who until recently was homeless and now works with Street Roots, a Portland group supporting the homeless. “Slowly you take these hits to your dignity, and one day you don’t even think you’re a person anymore.”

“当你第一次不得不蹲在野外或在路边时,这对你的尊严是一次巨大的打击,”37岁的瑞文·德雷克(Raven Drake)说。她直到最近一直无家可归,现在与波特兰支持无家可归者的街头根源(Street Roots)组织合作。“慢慢地,你接受了这些对你尊严的打击,然后有一天你甚至不觉得自己是个人。”

Drake told me that she had lived in a homeless encampment in Portland that was two miles from the nearest restroom she could use, and she flinched as she recounted the shame of having to relieve herself where she could, trying to avoid people leering. Toilets, she said, are an infrastructure issue, but also far more than that: “Bathrooms are a humanitarian issue.”

德雷克告诉我说,她住在波特兰的一个无家可归者营地中,该营地距离她可以使用的最近的洗手间有两英里。当她回忆不得不就地解决并试图避免他人色眯眯的目光的羞耻时,她的身体退缩了一下。她说,厕所是一个基建问题,但远远不止于此:“洗手间是一个人道主义问题。”

In the 19th century, the United States did set up public toilets in many cities. They were often called public urinals, abbreviated as P.U. (this may be part of the origin of “P.U.” to mean something that stinks, although there are competing theories). In the early 20th century, these were supplemented by “comfort stations” for men and women alike, but most closed in waves of cost-cutting over the years.

在19世纪,美国确实在许多城市建立了公共厕所。它们通常被称为公共小便池(public urinals),缩写为PU(尽管存在其他说法,但这可能一定程度上就是“PU”意为发臭的东西的起源)。在20世纪初,由男女使用的“方便站”成为这些设施的补充,但多年来由于一轮轮的成本削减已经大多关闭。

That’s partly because this is a class issue. Power brokers who decide on infrastructure priorities can find a restaurant to duck into, while that is less true of a Black teenage boy and utterly untrue of an unwashed homeless person with a shopping cart.

阶级问题也是其中一部分原因。决定基础设施优先级的权力掮客可以找家餐厅躲进去,而对于一个黑人青少年男孩则不然,对于一个推着购物车的没有洗漱的无家可归者就更不可能了。

Granted, operating toilets is tough. American cities have experimented with various approaches to providing public restrooms and found that they are costly to maintain and sometimes attract drug use and prostitution. Still, no one would build a home today without a bathroom, even though it adds to the expense. So why economize and accept cities without lavatories?

的确,运营厕所很困难。美国城市已经尝试了各种方法来提供公共洗手间,发现它们的维护成本很高,有时还容易成为吸毒和卖淫场所。但是,没人会造一个不带洗手间的房子,即使这使造价增高。那么为什么会为了节省成本而接受一个没有洗手间的城市呢?

Americans have had tumultuous debates about transgender use of restrooms, but we haven’t adequately acknowledged a more fundamental failing in Democratic-run and Republican-run cities alike: the outrageous shortage of public restrooms generally.

美国人会就跨性别者使用洗手间的问题进行激烈的辩论,但我们尚未充分认识到,在民主党和共和党管理的城市都出现了更为根本的失败:公共洗手间普遍严重短缺。

The White House can work with cities to experiment with various approaches to expand restroom access. We can work with corporate sponsors. We can use advertising to help underwrite the expense. We can give tax breaks to businesses that make restrooms open to all. There are models all over the world, such as India turning old buses into clean public toilets.

白宫可以与城市合作,尝试各种方法来扩大厕所的覆盖面。我们可以与企业赞助商合作。我们可以使用广告来帮忙承担费用。我们可以给那些让洗手间向公众开放的企业减税。世界各地都有可参考的示范,例如印度将旧公交车变成干净的公共厕所。

If the Romans could figure this out two millenniums ago, surely we can, even if we’ll want to skip those shared sponges.

如果罗马人在两千年前都能解决这个问题,那么我们肯定也能,甚至可以不用那些共享海绵。

So come on, President Biden! Let’s see an infrastructure plan that addresses not only bridges and electrical grids, but also bladders and bowels.

拜登总统,拜托!让我们看到一个不光有桥梁和电网,还解决膀胱和肠道之急的基建计划吧。

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