Friday, May 29, 2015

Oddest Object or Just Recency Bias

On my last night in The Hague, I went out for a few several too many drinks with a Brit who works at a NATO HQ nearby.  As we pub crawled, we walked past this:

What is it?  A pop up public urinal.  Yes, it looks like a manhole cover during the day, but at night it pops up so that any man can urinate.  It has three sides with three urinals.  Yes, it is in the middle of the pedestrian thoroughfare.  There is so much that confuses me about this:
  • Um, peeing in public?  I guess this is an improvement over peeing against a wall, but still.
  • In the middle of the street?  Couldn't this be more discreet.
  • No urinal at kid height?  I guess the city knows its audience--late night drinkers.
  • How incredibly sexist this is--providing public facilities for those with penii and not for those without.
  • Again, could we have this over in the corner somewhere?
I have no idea of these exist in Amsterdam.... yes, this reveals that I don't go out late at night when I am on one of these research trips.  It took a British friend (rule #72 of fieldwork: do not go drinking with a Brit) to take me pub crawling to see this.

Is this the strangest object I have seen in my travels?  In my fieldwork over the last three major projects?  The first travel heavy project took me to Hungary and Romania, and there was much that was odd in Romania, but nothing like as weird as this.  The second took me to many places, and I found a cart half in a wall to be far less strange than this:
Maybe it is just recency bias.  But it raises the question: what is the strangest thing you have seen on your travels?

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