Friday, January 25, 2008

Lake Superior in my Path

Tonight as I got off the train at Hollywood Transit Center, no less than SIX cops marched onto the train and began trooping down it as the doors closed and it rolled away. Last Saturday night while the train was stopped at Gateway, two cops got on, tromped up and down a few times and got off. In both cases, fare inspectors were also present and the cops were not concerned with that. They must have been looking for someone, and had decided the MAX was a likely place to find them.

So I’d like to know where all these cops were last Sunday night when I got off at Hollywood at about 6:15. It was dark and not another soul was anywhere to be seen on the platform. At least that’s what I thought till I moved closer to the stairway and saw someone hosing down the pavement. At first I thought, Well this is a weird time for the maintenance workers to be out -- it’s Sunday night, it’s freezing, and it’s pitch dark. Then I thought, Well what good is that, to shoot the water up into a lame arc like that? Shouldn’t they be pressure washing it?

Then I realized this was a man standing with his back against the stair wall, spewing a geyser of pee onto the strip of concrete leading to the elevator. When I figured this out, of course I stopped walking. He kept right on peeing forever, looking over at me apologetically and calling out, “Soorrrryyy!” He had to walk toward me to leave the area. I waited till he walked past me and called out, “That was disgusting!” He turned and came back toward me with his arm extended benevolently, saying, “What can I do to make it better?” or some such drivel. I said, “You can Go Away.”

I knew it had been a mistake to engage with him at all, and I returned my attention to finding a route around the lake without stepping in it or rolling my tires through it or falling off the platform onto the tracks.

It’s quite evident the world over that men pee in public all the time. Look at any vertical surface in a transit center or parking garage – what do you think all those drippie-marks are from? Not to mention the smell, which our tax dollars are always trying to wash away with other, equally pungent odors. The floors get washed, but for some reason the walls are usually forgotten.

You can say all you want about the scarcity of public toilet facilities, but somehow, I manage to get through each day without urinating on public pavements. Had this guy been homeless or mentally ill, I might have been more forgiving, but he seemed clearly none of those things. He was well dressed in clean sporty clothes, carried a crisp satchel and wore a neatly trimmed mustache. Even if he'd been having some kind of medical emergency (which he wasn't), there were plenty of dark corners where he could have disappeared from view and aimed out onto the tracks, and we both could have gracefully pretended it wasn’t happening.

I would like to think that only the lower echelon of male specimens engage in this practice, but I’m not so sure. In any case, here was an example of someone with no excuse whatsoever committing one of my most unfavorite acts, and as soon as I’d maneuvered the lake, I went right for the cellphone in my pocket and I called the cops. 911, no less. OK, it wasn’t exactly an emergency, but darnit, why should these slobs get to do that wherever they feel like it? Besides I figured that Sunday night is probably a slow night for cops and they wouldn't have much to do. And there'd be no use reporting it at all unless they were going to act on it right away, so it was either 911 or nothing.

I watched him get on the train and noted the exact time. I thought, There’s always cops at Gateway (a few stops down) -- maybe they could nab him there.

I know if this were any huge city, the dispatcher would probably hang up on me, but instead they asked tons of questios and took down all the details as if they’d be hot on his trail in seconds. Obviously the cops are trying to rack up points on the transit system to show the public they're cracking down on Crimet, so why not add this to their scores?

I suppose I'll never know how it turned out. No three inch letters splayed across the paper the next day revealed the results.

Go ahead and mock, but I'd love to bust one guy for that as payback for all the pee I've had to see and smell and walk in during my lifetime. I can't help it if I'm civilized.


At 11:58 AM, Blogger Jeff said...

Are you sure he wasn't just marking his territory? It may have been instinctual!

Seriously though...that's gross. That's one of the most nauseating smells on the planet!


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