The Public Bathrooms of Venice Beach, California

28 May

The Public Bathrooms of Venice Beach California

I lived in Venice, California, for several years in the early 1980’s and again for several years in the 1990’s. I’m not sure which this memory is from.

I have lived in various parts of Los Angeles. I started out in Culver City as a small child, was removed at ten, and then reinstated at seventeen, due to familial problems and then travels. 

 I got to live in a one room apartment at the Seacastle Apartments on the beach in Santa Monica, for a few years, that was neat. I even met Tony Russo.

I spent a lot of time at the beach, and with my stepfather’s friends. I rented a room from one of them, a woman in her fifties. We hung at the beach a lot. 

The beach I knew started at Santa Monica and stretched down through Venice, an unincorporated part of west Los Angeles. What I remember is dealing with looking for bathrooms. There were concrete buildings with toilets and sinks. 

But what shocked me was that the ones up by Santa Monica were regular bathrooms, with stalls and doors. A little further south, towards Venice, there weren’t doors.

And even further down, there weren’t any stalls at all.

There were homeless people, there were street people, there were crazy people. My Venice Beach experience always included this. I didn’t worry about it. 

But I stayed clear of the bathrooms.

Decades later, I wonder just what that was about? What do we accomplish by ensuring that people who don’t have anyplace else to “go,” can’t do so with at least a modicum of privacy?

I worked around Venice quite a bit, “Oh, the junkies will be able to shoot up or smoke crack in private”

I’m glad I’m not a homeless IV drug user. But if I was, who is anyone to tell me I can’t use a public facility without partially disrobing in public where there are not doors, where there are not latches?

And men? Men can easily find a place to pee without pulling down their pants. 

And women? Women on the street? We are the ones who get raped.

Especially if we engage in “welcomes” like shitting in a toilet that doesn’t have doors.

But the reality is, they did that to keep the women out of the bathrooms. Did the Man’s Bathrooms have stalls for when they needed to shit?

I don’t know. I should have checked. 

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