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I am VERY RARELY able to access toilets while away from home in San Francisco. I am white, English-speaking, able-bodied and might be perceived as professional.

An experience last night really cemented the cruelty of San Francisco and the gig economy it has shaped. #thread
I was in a rideshare on the highway, on my way home at night, and realized... shit, I reeeealllly have to shit. 15 mins from home. After a fraught internal debate, I worked up the nerve to bring it up with the driver, an older Greek man.
He responded in a frustrated tone, but I soon learned that the frustration was not directed at me. I begged him to stop at a gas station in the city.
He very kindly pulls off the highway. We get to the gas station, the doors are locked with employees inside, labeled 'window service only.' I come back to the car, and he says to me, almost in tears, "what did you think was going to happen?"
He tells me his story. How he pees in bottles. How his body suffers. How his doctor told him he was getting kidney infections from holding in pee. He drives 10 hours a day to support his family, and NOWHERE in the city will allow the use of a toilet. Often even with a purchase.
He says it wasn't always like this. Doors slammed in his face. Cafes clearly lying about bathrooms being "out of order." Drivers come to SF from HRS away w the hopes of making a living. But where can they find relief?

"40 years of driving in this city, and the humanity is gone."
Many cafes, even w purchase, are starting to require smartphone apps w codes to open doors. McDonald's locks bathrooms at 7pm. Public parks and kiosks also tend to lock at dusk. Once a cafe admitted to me that they permanently kept an 'out of order' sign up just to deter people.
It's something we all seem to plan around. But can we imagine what it's like for a rideshare driver far from home? A person experiencing homelessness? If I hear ONE more tech worker complaining about poop on the street...
It was a long 15 minutes, but luckily my stomach settled and I did make it home. We talked the rest of the ride about the city, and how big tech has brought with it a specific, capitalistic cruelty.
San Francisco invests an incomprehensible amount of $ in washing the streets clean, after closing toilets in most public transit stops & hiring attendants to police public elevators. The city raids homeless encampments, fueled by complaints about human waste to the police.
Dropping me off, the driver told me he was glad I was able to make it. I told him about the toilets hidden in a park across from my house that were sometimes unlocked at dark. We both sighed heavy sighs.
I am sorry that this is not an optimistic story. After this, the main question that I'm left with is: as our world moves in the direction that it moves... WHO are cities for? And if we don't like the answer to that question, what can we do about it?
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