Expensive ride just for a pee brings climate change home

Something happens to the bladder when the brain realises that there is nowhere close by to empty it, the writer says.
Something happens to the bladder when the brain realises that there is nowhere close by to empty it, the writer says.
Image: STOCK IMAGE

This past weekend I enjoyed the most expensive pee of my life. At R127 to be precise.

I was in Midrand to do my hair when I realised that I desperately needed to urinate. That's when my hairstylist told me that they've been experiencing water shedding for a number of days and unfortunately I couldn't use her bathroom.

There is something that happens to the bladder when the brain realises that there is nowhere close by to empty it. Take when you're on a trip for instance, you become obsessively aware of the need to urinate unlike when you're at home, where you have no worries.

You count every sip of your drink knowing that there will be consequences if you gulp it down and can't find a garage.

So there I was freaking out because unlike men I couldn't just go behind the building and relieve myself like many of them do. I had to call an Uber and go to the Mall of Africa where I was reliably informed water was available.

Before you judge me for being bougie, you have to realise that I even went to the length of whipping out my membership card ,which hasn't seen the light of a day in months, hoping to use the toilet at the gym which is located at the local mall, only to find that they had put very stern guards at each toilet entrance to prevent anyone from using them.

The receptionist that I hadn't seen in ages shook her head, disapproving of me for only showing up at the gym to use the toilet.

"Sorry, we don't have any water."

So the Uber it was, and off to Waterfall. The driver made some small talk about the shopping he imagined I was going to do. No sir, I'm paying you so that I can go and have a pee. But I was too embarrassed to let him in on the mission.

Anyway, I eventually made it back to the salon and did my hair with no further bladder issues. But this is the reality of a world that is facing climate change. Those with the means, even just R120, will be able to go on with life while the poorest of the poor will suffer.

Earlier this week, water and sanitation minister Lindiwe Sisulu said South Africa is being disaster-proofed after a lack of rainfall, with most of the country being heavily affected. Although she said there was no need to panic, people living in areas such as Klipfontein View in Midrand, where there has been no water for a week, are panicking.

Sowetan reported this week that residents have to choose what to do with the little water they have - cook, drink or go to the toilet. How is this not panic-worthy?

Meaning that for those who don't have the luxury of calling an Uber, where do they answer the call of nature? For someone who can't buy five-litre bottles of water for water-shedding days, what do they drink? Businesses will suffer, especially salons.

Climate change is no longer a disaster that we have feared will arrive sometime in the future. It is here and we're facing the consequences of ignoring it for decades.

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