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Finding restroom a Costanzian challenge

Dear Action Line: As I walked out of Office Depot, a woman was urinating on the sidewalk. She looked at me, and I awkwardly said, “Hey,” like this happens all the time. What’s the etiquette in this situation? – Yuri Nayzhan

Dear Yuri: The only acceptable response in 21st century America? Pull out your smart phone, get a video and post it before someone else does.

Easy. Done. Next question?

Oh, maybe this question refers to the person doing the urinating. Bumper sticker characters like Calvin do it. Statues do it. What’s so wrong with urinating in public?

For many of us, peeing in a pandemic has led to minor crises. With the library closed, and some business restrooms and most restaurants closed or barely open, it’s not always easy to find a place to go when you’re, say, out running errands. Office Depot had closed its restroom to the public, but maybe this woman could have at least gone around to the back of the complex?

Action Line turned to Brian Burke, professor of psychology at Fort Lewis College, for a deeper understanding. He cited his two favorite experts on the subject, Sigmund Freud and George Costanza.

“I do think that bathroom closures – or even open bathrooms – have added to people’s stress of being away from home during COVID-19,” Burke said. “Using the bathroom in a public place is now fraught with dangers (such as potential COVID spread) that we never considered until recently.”

Freud was one of the first psychiatrists interested in human excretion, Burke said, notably in his studies of a child’s “anal phase.” Consult a textbook or just Google it if you must know more. To the point, being aware of the nearest restroom is an important way to feel comfortable while meandering about town; Costanza of “Seinfeld” can tell you the best bathroom to use anywhere in Manhattan.

The city of Durango code of ordinances, under section 17-101, makes it “unlawful for any person to urinate or defecate in the public view … except in (a place) equipped for such purposes.”

Durango officers “write this ticket into court frequently both through police observations and citizen reports,” said Durango Police Chief Bob Brammer.

Burke said Durango’s downtown offers a Costanzian challenge, but there are a few good options. Action Line suggests that elsewhere around town, there’s often a parcel of woods not too far away.

Dear Action Line: So the city didn’t collect recycling on New Year’s Day, a Friday. That’s totally understandable. However, for the hundreds of us who have Friday as collection day, we will still be charged the standard $7.76 “monthly recycling fee” but get one less pickup. Will the city prorate our bills for weekly services not rendered? I figure they owe every skipped household $1.55 – $7.76 divided by five Fridays in January 2021. – Singh L. Stream

Dear Singh L.: Wasn’t it worth $1.55 to see your neighbors in mass confusion trying to figure out if and when Friday recycling pickup was going to be? Some thought Thursday, but no, that was only for Friday trash, not recycling.

An overflowing Durango recycling can sits Jan. 2 on Riverview Drive after the city of Durango skipped a week of residential recycling pickup.

The previous Friday (Christmas Day) your recycling was picked up Thursday (Christmas Eve day), but that wasn’t going to happen New Year’s Eve Thursday for Friday recycling. Yet, if it was Friday trash, it would be picked up Thursday.

Did you follow that? Action Line wrote it and didn’t follow it at all.

Isn’t there modern technology around, like an app or something, that might help straighten all this out? But Action Line is stealing the city of Durango’s thunder.

“We know trash/recycling pickup schedules on holiday weeks can be confusing,” said Tamera Manzanares, public information specialist for the city of Durango. “The city will do a better job of reminding residents of adjustments.”

The city is also creating a new pickup schedule for holidays, and – pay attention folks – the first holiday is coming up lickety-split. When there is a holiday in 2021, trash/recycling gets bumped back a day. For everyone. Usually.

Martin Luther King Jr. Day is coming up Monday, Jan. 18, and that week, if your trash/recycling is usually picked up Monday, it’ll be Tuesday instead. Tuesday is Wednesday, Wednesday is Thursday, etc., and this is sounding like a frightening George Orwell novel.

The new schedule is available at DurangoGov.org/trash. Study it. Memorize it. No, don’t. There’s an easier way.

The city won’t prorate your bill, Manzanares said, but it is offering a service where residents can sign up for weekly trash/recycling pickup reminders via text, phone or email. Find it here: durangogov.org/364/Garbage-Collection.

Said Manzanares, “This will save residents time in figuring out holiday adjustments as well as the headache of forgetting pickup days.”

Email questions and suggestions to actionline@durangoherald.com or mail them to Action Line, The Durango Herald, 1275 Main Ave., Durango, CO 81301. No, there is no app to point you to the nearest restroom in Durango. Yet.

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