Central Market has a rich history of serving as a toilet. But, today, toilets of a different sort were on display.
An exhibit of faux-fur, faux-brick, and faux-Giger Alien commodes were lined up on Market and Ninth. But these toilets were far too pretty to befoul. Instead, they were an art piece/publicity hook for Lava Mae.
World Toilet Day was actually two days ago -- but, hey, it's the thought that counts.
Lava Mae's founder, Doniece Sandoval, is on the precipice of pulling off a seemingly crazy idea: Retrofitting an obsolete Muni bus and converting it into a mobile shower and bathroom station. (You can make your own jokes about Muni vehicles serving as repositories of human effluvia).
"I saw this whole mobile food thing," says Sandoval, a former marketing and development professional who most recently served as chief external relations officer for Zero1. "If they put food on wheels, why not showers and toilets?"
Well, that sounds holistic.
And San Franciscans like holistic: Sandoval's group has raised nearly $225,000 toward converting four 20-year-old Muni Gillig diesel buses into rolling washrooms. This will cost an estimated $75,000 per bus, and she hopes to start serving San Francisco's unwashed with a single refurbished vehicle by April or May of next year.
Converting a bus into a washroom isn't something you do via a template. There's no IKEA kit for this. Instead, architect Brett Terpeluck is pondering how to install two bathrooms, complete with sinks, toilets, showers, a private changing area -- the works -- and do so while adhering to the Americans With Disabilities Act.