Have you entered the storehouses of the snow...Job 38:22

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

What No Porta-Pots?

We just got back from the Hills. I love to go to Rapid City. I've said before that I could live in Sioux Falls. Well I could also live in Rapid. It's different. But it's alive. It has commerce. It has natural beauty. I'm a big fan of Rapid City and the Black Hills.

Someone used to tease me because of my dislike of South Dakota. She would say to me that I should get a job as a spokesperson for South Dakota tourism. Actually she's right. I should get a job for tourism. I think everyone should come to South Dakota at least once in their life.

Come see the Badlands, the Black Hills, Mount Rushmore! 

I remember the first time I saw Mount Rushmore. I was so excited. I had flashbacks to being in the 3rd grade looking at my social studies textbook picture of Mount Rushmore. It had a picture of an old station wagon in front of the carvings. I thought I want to see that. Then I'd think, I'll never see that because we don't have a car. We live in Brooklyn. I'll never see that in person.

Whenever we leave South Dakota, there will be a part of me that is very grateful that I had the opportunity to visit Mount Rushmore and Western South Dakota not once, but many times now.

Yesterday we ate once again at Wall Drug. It is getting to be part of our ritual from trips to Rapid. It's not that the food is spectacular. We just like it. I had a buffalo burger yesterday that was overpriced but so yummy. We've been to Wall Drug a lot to eat this past winter. In the winter the place is quiet. In summer it comes alive with tourists. There is so much energy in Wall.

We noticed the license plates of the cars we past and those parked in front of Wall Drug. There was a line of people for food yesterday. One man in front of us hesitantly asked to try one of their donuts. I abstained from their donuts yesterday. I am sure he wasn't disappointed. They are amazing!

There is a lot of construction on I-90. It seems this is the year for bridge repair. All of a sudden I noticed it. In Connecticut they always have a police officer or two for any construction work on the roads. The police love the overtime for these activities. Tennessee doesn't always station police but they work a lot at night to not inconvenience travelers and tourists. Connecticut has that same consideration. Iowa, which we frequently drive through, doesn't.

South Dakota, like so many other things they do here, is different. There were no police around. They were working in the day time. Traffic is usually minimal in South Dakota so construction on the interstate is not an issue. However, then I noticed it. I thought... what????

I looked and looked and realized there were no porta-pots on their construction site. I thought now that's just too much. Here are these workers, working all day, outside, and if nature calls, I guess they are just out of luck.

In Tennessee they use local and state prisoners to do trash pick-up on the highways. Guess what? They get a porta-pot. Yep, on the back of the pick-up or on a trailer following the van that transports the prisoners to do this community service, there is a porta-pot. South Dakota doesn't even give it's workers the same luxury.

After my realization my husband and I had a lengthy discussion about penny pinching and toileting. I said, what do they do walk a half a mile to find a bush or tree - trees are sparse here. That takes more of the tax-payers time than putting a porta-pot for them to use. Then with my usual sarcasm, I said, what? do they have to wear a diaper? We laughed. Then we got serious. My husband brought up women working on construction sites. Women don't do as well behind a tree.

South Dakota is a great place to visit. They have plenty of rest areas for you on I-90. Clean ones too! They'll rent you a CD to listen to in the car for $20 with $15 refunded when you return it. You'll learn all about the state. You should come here.

But if you live and work here, forget about services and bring your own toilet paper.

People are voting in South Dakota today in the primary. 
If I were running for office I'd make sure that the construction workers got Porta-Pots.


  1. Oh, Joyce, how you do go on! The work on I-90 is a federal highway project. There's no way OSHA would let them do it without porta-pots. They must have been somewhere not visible to the passersby - imagine that.

    For what it's worth, when I went to Martin 3 weeks ago, there was (state of SD) road construction on Highway 73, complete with flagger, pilot car, and porta-pot by the side of the road. You would have been proud!

    DeAnn (aka 'thorn in the flesh')

  2. My Dear Thorn in the Flesh -
    I do hope you come back to see my comment. We looked, we looked far and wide. We looked very carefully - there were NO PORTA-POTS.
    Yes, it is a federal highway project that is administered by the good folk of the state DOT. I think the buck stops in Pierre on that one.
    As far as 14, I'm not surprised they had a flagger and pilot car - of course they did, that is a 2 lane highway not an interstate. As far as the porta-pots, I'm glad they had them. They need them for the workers on I-90 - if it had only been ONE site where I saw this I'd dismiss it but it was every one we saw that was minus a porta-pot.
    I guess you missed my comments about tourism...
    As far as OSHA-there is a building on campus right now that has no water, no toilets and the workers in that building are covered with dust and hazardous odors - no one seems to care about OSHA there? They are told to work anyway.
    I wonder who is a thorn in the flesh to whom -- you seem to get ruffled a lot by what I say and think - but you know you gotta love me - I'm your sister in the Lord.God is good


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