Yeah, yeah, I’m still going to write about the wedding. But this is far more amusing! Over at Jive Turkey, she recently wrote about all the things she loves and disloves about NYC, and mentioned the high rate of encounters with other people’s bodily fluids. Which reminded me about MY encounters with bodily fluids in public places in big cities. And so I have some stories to tell.
MLE’s Top 3 (in terms of bizarreness, I guess) stories of Encountering Other People’s Bodily Fluids in Big Cities
#3. Was it pee? Was it amniotic fluid? Only her hairdresser knows for sure.
Once upon a time, I worked at a Really Big Corporate Law Firm in San Francisco. The firm had space on several floors of a big highrise building right downtown, only 2 blocks from the Montgomery BART station, and on the ground floor of the building was this huge gorgeous atrium area with tables and chairs, open to the public. You had to flash a badge to security in order to get upstairs in the elevator, but anyone and everyone could hang out in the glass-walled atrium and enjoy any sun that came through the San Francisco fog during regular business hours. Lots of people, including me, tended to eat lunch here on cold-but-sunny days, since it was climate-controlled, but you never knew what you might see. One day I had gone out with a friend to grab some lunch at a place nearby, and when we walked back in the building a large woman in her 30s (I don’t even remember what she looked like, other than she was wearing voluminous clothing and smelled bad) entered the building and yelled out something incomprehensible. All the people in her immediate vicinity shrank back, and a security guard came over to speak with her, or perhaps to escort her right back outside (you never know about people wandering in off the street in San Francisco). All of a sudden, a large splash of liquid sort of started emanating from her feet and it covered the floor in a big puddle. I wasn’t close enough to tell whether said liquid had any color (it was a slate floor), and because of the nature of the woman’s size and clothing, it was impossible for me to tell whether she was pregnant and her water broke or whether she just decided to pee all over herself. Either way, it was rather entertaining and broke up my monotonous day of running Lexis Nexis searches.
#2 There are some things that do not need photographic evidence
I went on a big, multi-country six-week-long trip to Europe after college. It was one of the best experiences of my life. I saw a lot of crazy things on that trip, but the best story (in my opinion) was when I went to Prague. I stayed in a hostel with a bunch of other people, all of whom were traveling alone, so one night we were hanging out in the common room and chatting, and all decided we’d go out to a club and go dancing together. Before we left, however, one of the people who had been there a few days told us that the staff would prepare and sell shots of absinthe. You know, the whole show, with the sugar in the spoon and the lighting on fire and whatnot. This was back in 2000, when you couldn’t really get absinthe very many places, and I wanted to try it. So I did. I had one shot of absinthe and it was far more intoxicating than I had expected (incidentally, I had occasion to try it again last summer, just one shot, and again I experienced a different kind of intoxication than with any other alcohol I’ve had. Also, it tastes gross.) The one shot was more than plenty for me.
Anyhow, so we were hanging out, and this one kind of annoying guy decided to join our group. Most of us weren’t really up to doing much partying, but he wanted to get his drink on, I guess, so before we left the hostel he had FOUR shots of absinthe. Now, I don’t know how many of my readers have ever tried this beverage, but ONE shot of absinthe was nearly enough to knock me out. Granted, I’m not one who generally holds a lot of liquor or anything, but sheesh. FOUR. Eventually, it was late enough to consider going out to a club, so we all (probably 8 or 10 of us) ventured out into the foggy Prague night and went down some dark stairs into a place that was recommended by the hostel staff. On the way, we passed by an ice cream cart selling Magnum bars (kind of like a popsicle made of ice cream but not covered in chocolate) and the annoying guy bought one and wolfed it down. So we got to the place, and it was bumping, and we all danced for a while, and eventually the annoying guy came over to me and told me he had THREE more shots of absinthe (bringing his grand total to SEVEN) and he wasn’t feeling especially well, and could I help him get outside? I guess I was the most approachable of the group (the rest being mostly independently traveling guys) and I wanted some fresh air so I escorted Drunken Magnum Bar Eating Annoying Guy up the stairs.
He promptly vomited all over the place, including on his socked- and birkenstocked feet. It was white.
Then he pulled his camera out of his pocket and took a photo of it.
I decided to remove myself from the sticky situation and went back down into the club, but the group was pretty much ready to go so we all headed back to the hostel. On the way, some gypsies (and by this, I mean probably Roma but possibly any manner of other people who act this way) surrounded Annoying Guy and tried to take his wallet but we chased them off. When we got back to the hostel, most of us headed to bed, but Annoying Guy tried to get us to go out with him to another club in some other part of the city. I’m pretty sure everyone blew him off.
I had to get up early the next morning to catch a train, and I went into the common room to get my free breakfast (museli and yogurt and hot chocolate), when who should I find but Annoying Guy. From the looks/smell of him, he’d never gone to bed or showered. Which meant he hadn’t changed his clothes, or his shoes or socks, and he still appeared to be drunk. Gross.
#1 Why that Thai restaurant hosed down their sidewalk every morning
As many of you know, I used to live in Berkeley, CA. I lived one block away from one of the busiest intersections in the whole city (University and Shattuck) above some small shops, and I had to walk a couple of blocks to the BART station each day on my way to work. I noticed that the Thai restaurant on that first block always hosed down their sidewalk, as it was wet every day whether or not it had rained. On the same corner where I lived but on the other side of the street, a blind, presumably homeless guy, would bring a folding chair and a radio and sit in the same spot every day, all day long, swaying back and forth to any music that came out of the radio. I never spoke to him, and he seemed pretty harmless, but I didn’t pay all that much attention. When you live in Berkeley long enough, you see the same homeless/beggars in the same places all the time, so they’re part of the landscape.
One day I was going to the movies with the Chef and my sister (and maybe someone else, I forget). We were going to see O Brother, Where Art Thou, and I was super excited about it. Everyone met at my house to walk downtown to the theater, and just before we passed the blind guy in the chair he stood up right in front of us, walked several steps down the sidewalk (to right in front of the Thai place), pulled down his pants, and had explosive diarrhea all over the sidewalk. Like, 10 feet away from us. And he just pulled up his pants and walked back to his chair like nothing had happened.
You haven’t lived until a blind homeless man has taken an explosive diarrhea crap right in front of you. And then pulled his pants up and sat back down.
That day, I learned why the Thai place hosed down their sidewalk every morning. I assume the guy just used it as his personal toilet whenever he felt the need.