There is a construction site in my neighborhood. I drive by it often. It’s like most construction sites — three or four houses at different levels of completion. One, I believe, is already sold.
As builders go, these appear to be conscientious about keeping the surrounding area as free of debris as possible. I’m grateful for that as I imagine are the neighbors nearer the site than I.
There is one thing, however, that makes this site different from any other I’ve seen. There are two Pepto-Bismol pink porta johns. As you can see in the photo there’s a pink ribbon painted on the front.
I can’t say why, but each time I drive past these eyesores I feel a bit more disconcerted, maybe agitated, than the previous pass. In writing this post I’m not having a knee-jerk reaction. I’ve had months to contemplate the possible reasons a person might be compelled to promote breast cancer awareness via outdoor toilets.
For the personal/emotional reasons I have a fairly high degree of empathy and understanding. Those who have lost a friend, mother, sister, wife, husband, etc., to breast cancer feel helpless and want to do something to save others from suffering. I get that.
The organizations that promote breast cancer awareness (Susan G Komen and Planned Parenthood come to mind.) have done an admirable job of putting that little pink ribbon and its meaning in the minds of almost all Americans. I have some pink ribbon pins I wear during October, if I remember. October is breast cancer awareness month, of course. But the ubiquitous pink ribbon has made most of us aware during the other eleven months as well. That’s a good thing.
Maybe it’s the ubiquity that has caused my discomfort. I think perhaps it has a down side. Maybe it brings out the charlatans. I seldom go shopping anywhere for anything without seeing a pink ribbon decal and a message telling me that if I buy this item the company presenting it will give a portion of the proceeds to a charity promoting awareness. But do they really? How do I know that? Do I sound cynical? I suppose I do. But I prefer to pick my charities and check them out before donating.
I would appreciate your comments. Tell me how you feel. Kindly, please. I’m especially interested in hearing from people who have or have had breast cancer. Do you like the pink toilets? You may have guessed by now that I don’t.