I thought to myself as I walked under the Civic Opera House portico this morning.
After years of walking this City, it is certainly not an unfamiliar odor. I have come to expect it when I use the underground exit at Union and come up the slightly-darken stairways onto Madison Street - sometimes gaggingly strong, but expected.
I also expect it when passing two protected-from-sight doorways on my way to Trader Joe’s on Ontario – that same stench.
But this was the first time I had smelled it and recognized the tell-tale stain on the limestone of the inside corner of the grand portico of the Opera House.
I feel pretty confident stating that most of the time this public peeing is done by men (remember I grew up with four brothers and I have a son, they all pretty much, like my male black Lab, peed/possibly still pee, on anything outside that didn’t/does not move and sometimes on things that did/do).
I can also tell you that I have witnessed, during broad daylight down here, many instances of men peeing in public, the two most memorable to date being:
A cabbie, while waiting in the cab lane in front of the Apparel Center, opened his door and stood within it, hoping, I guess, that it would shield his actual unit from view, as I approached him from the back, I saw the stream of urine coming out at his feet.....he shook and zipped as I walked past.
Secondly, and my most favorite seeing-peeing-in-public-moment, was while walking to get lunch at a salad bar kind of place on the corner of Wells and Lake under the El tracks many years ago....I crossed at the light and saw a bike messenger leaning into the I-beam that supports the overhead tracks....I first wondered what he was looking for in there....but as I got closer....I realized exactly what he had been doing upon seeing him reel it in and zip up.
I have several reasons for that sighting being a favorite, one of which is from that day forward I have been able to firmly say with no uncertainty - that what I had always heard about black guys.....at least in his case...was not wrong!