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Burnett's Urban Etiquette

Wednesday, June 28, 2006


I'm trying to be understanding and opened-minded of different types of folks, but for the world of me I just don't get my neighbors' obsession with peeing outdoors.

I swear I don't live on the grounds of an asylum, and Big Daddy, if nothing else proves it, this should convince you I don't live in the 'burbs.

I'm in a pretty decent working/middle class zone of Broward. But there's an apartment building across the street from my house in which a group of like 10 dudes in one unit.

Pretty regularly - I won't swear it's every day - after work, these guys hang out on the sidewalk leading into their little building and they chill, and drink beer...and toss the cans on the sidewalk, and occassionally smoke weed. Some of you would credit them for abiding by the puff, puff, pass rule. I ain't giving these guys credit for anything, 'cause inevitably after they've been out there for an hour or so they start peeing on the outside walls of their building.

They never go inside to pee. I'm no sicko. I mean I'm not watching them for the sake of watching them. But they do it so much that you can't help but notice the frequency of their weeing, as you piddle about your own house and yard, etc.

These guys are like pups marking their territory. They have peed from every angle on every wall of their building. It's as if they their goodie bags are allergic to toilet bowls. They have turned peeing into a competitive sport.

You sit 15 feet from your front door. Why not take your wang indoors and handle your business there? Your beer will still be cool when you get back. What in the world is this outdoor peeing thing about?


  • The public peeing astonishes me every time. I actually yelled at a guy who was pissing IN the subway station on the F line a few months back. I told him I hoped it fell off. It was a Sunday morning and he was pissing in the train station against the wall. He wasn't even drunk! Ugh.

    By Blogger Melissa, at 11:20 PM  

  • So much for Civilisation as we know it! Now if they were in some Third World country - where there is no public sewerage system. . . Didn't their parents try to teach them anything? Or are they trying to ensure that nothing grows by their wall?

    BTW - if they really do leave their beer cans about you could always collect them & recycle. You can still get a pretty good price for aluminum, or steel, in some places.

    A friend took in 130Kg (nearly 300lb) crushed cans & some foil - many of the cans collected as he walked to & from work in Portsmouth (Hants, UK). He got £68 ($120) for it, which he's sending on to the Baptist Missionary Society.

    With the World Cup as well as it being summer here, & England is still in it (just), there are more cans than ever left lying around.

    So there you are - reduce littering, help the environment, make some money, maybe even help someone else!

    By Anonymous Bronchitikat, at 5:55 AM  

  • This post reminds me of when I lived next to a frat house. When we moved in we noticed right away that there was a strong urine-like smell in the air off and on.

    I'd seen guys on the roof of the frat house peeing off the side in the middle of the night (guess going down the hall to a toilet was just too much effort - easier to climb out the window), and I just assumed they did this so often that there was a resulting lingering odor.

    It took a few months to realize it wasn't urine we were smelling, but the ethanol plant about 5 miles away.

    By Anonymous Freddie, at 9:35 AM  

  • I'm not going to hold a fig leaf up for these clowns, but I will say two things in regard to public elimination of body waste.

    1) Americans have a heightened sensitivity to public display of sex organs and consideration of their use to eliminate body waste that is probably only exceeded by fundamentalist Muslims. Many cultures outside of the US do not have the same aversion to public display of sex organs (mammary glands, penises, vaginas, and buttocks) as we do. In fact, Americans' repulsion to the sight of "privates" is in many ways childish, is based on latent Puritanism and Victorian Era mores, and often borders on the comic. Therefore, in many urban places, public urination is tolerated much more than in America.

    The resulting waste stream is perceived as a looming public health and sanitation issue, but I don't see why it should be. Dogs, cats, and other outdoor animals do their business on the ground all the time. If you add up all the squirrels and seagulls that leave a mark, that waste probably greatly outweighs the body waste emitted by humans. In fact, it is much more wasteful to flush 3-5 gallons of fresh water down the drain than it is make your own rivulets on the street. Solid waste poses its own sanitary problems, but a shovel can handle that. It certainl can't be as harmful as using 1-2 trees per week to make sure our backside is clean in addition to the 3-5 gallons of fresh water flushed. In many world cultures, they use soap, water and their hands to clean their backsides--even if they used a gallon per dump, it's still less wasteful. We have not mastered the three shells (a nod to the bad Wesley Snipes flick Demolition Man).
    So my feeling is public elimination is really not a bad thing from a public health or environmental standpoint. Americans just don't like it because it reminds them that they have to do it and that detracts us from being sanctimonious pricks.

    2) The guys across the street from you have street poisoning. They are poisoned by the "life" and want to be in it. When you have street poisoning, nothing of real value (stocks, bonds, real estate, etc. ) matters to you because you've made up your mind you will never have it, so you don't have a problem pissing on those items possessed by others. Plus, the allure of the street is so strong that you never want to leave the (insert one of the following--block, stoop, corner, street, avenue, set, promenade, cab stand) for one second, lest you miss something exciting or educational to your street life. Additonally, the stoop is either their front yard or a poor man's bar--both completely appropriate places for drinks whether in the hood or he burbs. Lastly, even though those gentlemen are neighbors, none of them wants any of their beer sotted compatriots going no. 1 or 2 in their toilet. So therefore, the outside of the building is now the bathroom for all you mooks!!

    By Anonymous Big Daddy, at 2:24 PM  

  • Ha! BD, only you could turn nasty public pee-ers (I know that's not a word) into poster children for anti-Puritanism. Just say it: these dudes are triflin'!

    By Blogger James Burnett, at 3:57 PM  

  • Big Daddy: "words words words...."

    Then why does Paris smell like a urinal? Maybe on a farm it's ok, but in a crowded city, it's just nasty. The idea of the flush toilet is to get our waste as far from us as possible. Let's keep it that way.

    By Anonymous ChrisA, at 9:57 PM  

  • Big Daddy, would you feel the same way if women started lowering their britches and squatting on the street?

    By Blogger Manola Blablablanik, at 8:58 AM  

  • me, I like to pee outdoors., But when I say outdoors, I mean the big willow tree 900 feet from my house, Or the middle of a forest preserve. Peeing outdoors in a city, well, if you get to where you can't find a crapper in time, that's one thing- but find a damned gas satation, huh?

    By Anonymous og, at 10:37 AM  

  • I'm surprised the women who replied didn't get the answer to this one... When I asked around the office it was a woman that told me the reason, by the way.

    The reason they won't go inside to go pee is that the others will talk about them behind their back while they're gone!

    By Blogger El Capitan, at 1:26 PM  

  • OK, el capitan, that was the funniest response I've read on this one. I almost spit coffee clear across my desk when I read it.

    Welcome to the chat.

    By Blogger James Burnett, at 2:46 PM  

  • Ha! BUt then what happens when they run out of beer and someone has to go inside to get more?

    By Blogger Manola Blablablanik, at 4:19 PM  

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