Tag Archives: barber

Botswana’s urinals—Project LOU . . .

Botswana’s urinals—Project LOU . . .

My 10-day stay in Botswana in 1985 was at once professionally productive, entertaining and educational, fruitful and frustrating. I was frustrated by the ever present fleas and swarms of flies and other flying insects, the stench of the open market, the unpaved thoroughfares in the city, and particularly by the heights at which urinals were affixed to the walls of men’s restrooms at the Holiday Inn complex where I was housed.

Allow me to explain:

I could find no statistics for the average height of adult male Botswana natives, but from personal—and close up—observation during my stay in that country, I estimate their average height to be at least six feet—72 inches or more. I concluded from my observations that even boys and girls in their mid-teens tend to equal or surpass the height of the average adult American male—that worthy tops out at five feet, nine inches.

As one might reasonably expect, the installation of urinals in Botswana, or any other country, would and should be accomplished by professional plumbers. Get the picture? Urinals in Gaborone, the capital city of Botswana in which I spent 10 days in 1985, were therefore installed at a height acceptable to males native to that area. Given the fact that I am a mite short—so to speak—of the average height of the adult American male, just consider how short I would be—again, so to speak—of the height of adult males in Botswana. I’m sure you get the picture now.

In spite of the disadvantage posed by misplaced urinals, I thoroughly enjoyed my stay in Gaborone, and I found imaginative ways to overcome any disadvantages that I faced—once more, so to speak. Should the opportunity ever arise I would happily visit that city again, only this time with the hope and the expectation that enough vertically challenged immigrants had entered the country, legally or otherwise, to justify Project LOU: Lowering of the Urinals.

Previous postings dealing with my outing to Botswana may be viewed at these sites: Sojourn to Botswana and  I married my barber,

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

More highlights of my trip are in the works—stay tuned!


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I married my barber . . .

The above title seemed appropriate at first, but on serious reflection I realized that the title involved certain conclusions that could possibility be drawn by viewers. I therefore hasten to add that my barber is a lady, a lady that I married in 1952 and one that has hung around and tolerated me for the past 57 years, and our union continues in its 58th year with no abatement of the passions that prompted the marriage (that simply means that we still love one another). I can understand my love for her, but I have never fully understood her love for me.

Que sera, sera—whatever will be, will be!

My wife became my barber in 1983, the year that we left the sanctity and security of Texas’ Rio Grande Valley and relocated to the Washington, D.C. area following my unlikely promotion to a higher level in my duties as a law-enforcement officer in our federal Civil Service. I managed to endure those duties for three years before I bailed out and returned to Texas—to Houston, not to the Rio Grande Valley—and six months later to San Antonio for an additional ten years in service and retirement in 1997. Texas is our adoptive father and San Antonio is our adoptive mother—we love both, and we intend to remain in that family throughout this life and the next—see, I told you we love them!

The above two paragraphs comprise the foundation for this posting, one that could accurately be titled, “The time my wife cut my hair and my left ear prior to my travel from Arlington, Virginia to New York, NY and on to London, England and Johannesburg, South Africa and finally to Botswana, the capital city of the sovereign nation of Botswana, Africa.” That trip and its several stops, both outbound and return, are fodder for later posts and will be attended to in time. Just as a teaser, I will tell you that at that time, apartheid still ruled in South Africa—click here for details of that nation’s apartheid rule from 1948 until 1994.

I was running a bit behind for my flight out of National Airport (later renamed Ronald Reagan National Airport), but I was desperately in need of a trim. My barber gave me the trim but inadvertently removed a one-inch strip of skin from the outer portion of my left ear, a wound that bled very little but quickly became an unsightly scab—it ultimately healed with no discernible after effects, but that one-inch strip figured prominently in my trip to exotic foreign countries. It became a topic for conversation, and attracted stares from everyone I faced on the trip, including immigration and customs officers, taxi drivers, airline employees and fellow travelers. While few questioned the wound, their gaze invariably strayed from eye contact to ear contact, a really disconcerting situation. It made the viewer appear uninvolved, and somewhat cross-eyed. At first I felt obligated to explain the wound, so I assembled several canned responses to use when someone asked, “What happened to your ear?” I finally gave that up, and either ignored the question or steered the conversation in a different direction. Bummer!

Oh, I just remembered that my mother labeled eyes that seemed to be looking in different directions as “A and P eyes.” She explained that by saying that one looked toward the Atlantic and the other toward the Pacific. I make no apology for her little joke, nor do I feel compelled to apologize for recounting it here. My mother was a lovely lady with no hint of bias of any fashion toward any race, color,  or creed, nor was she biased toward noticeable physical or mental aberrations. And as the adage goes, the fruit never falls far from the tree—like mother, like son—seriously!

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it!


Posted by on March 5, 2010 in Family, foreign travel, Humor, marriage, Travel


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