Wednesday, April 28, 2010

One Bath Alley

In the yet to be published guide book of particular interest to those who like to let fly and relieve themselves outdoors, the alley behind our apartment will surely be noted with no less than five stars. Not restricted to those of limited financial means, our back entry is a public toilet for lost Cubs fans, drunk smokers, and yes, those who are temporarily without adequate housing. Imagine my thrill when the construction company working across the way set up a LepreCan just outside our garage, presumably for the use of their employees and not the first step in a true convenience conversion? Why not throw down a mattress or two and call it a Night's Out? Room service?

But I was wrong, this eyesore has not actually increased the urinary traffic, rather the flow has remained somewhat steady. It appears, to the untrained voyeur, that our alley is not simply a destination urination station but a fabulous place to thrill in the great outdoors and revel in all things exposed. The regulars pass right by the big green outhouse, seeking out their usual quasi hidden spot next to the electric pole. The thrill would be gone, I suppose, the LepreCan being far too utilitarian for these daredevils.

But here is the real story: I called 911 this week to request that my neighborhood police officer be sent round to remove an offending outdoorsman. A rude and obviously crude man, his real skills clearly not truly realized as he was able to go hands free, gesturing wildly with one finger while waving the other hand. Hoping to startle him, although in retrospect I know allowing him to remain somewhat focused was best, I honked while flying past, my two small children in the backseat wondering why their mother, honking and speeding, was shrieking wildly. No answer, six rings, no friendly voice saying "911 operator, what is your emergency?", and he was gone without assistance, running out of the alley onto a busy street. Disgusted I hung up and then waited, surely they would call back, surely my city would ring back to check on me, to make certain that I had not just been stolen, stabbed or beaten senseless. They did not, the call did not come, and our alley remains the safest spot in the neighborhood to seek personal fluid freedom. No emergency, I understand, but adequate response time to be noted in the travel guide, most certainly another star next to our listing.

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