Moving from the Upper East Side to the Upper West required me to learn a few new 'best practices' for navigating through my new neighborhood. Whereas on the Upper East Side, the most critical rule I abided to was leaving my house for work 10 minutes earlier than I thought necessary, in order to avoid crossing the subway voodoo dancer girl who I work with - now I have been instructed to avoid, at all costs, walking down 82nd street to get to the subway in the morning.
"The Holy Trinity church has a soup kitchen for the homeless in the morning," my cousin warned me with fear in her eyes.
Thusly, I've avoided 82nd street for the past 2 weeks, opting to instead pass by the disgusting guys who man the corner grocery ("Ay, mamacita!"), the indiscriminate drooling men who open the Spanish tapas restuarant in the a.m. (their presence resulting in a 180 degree turn of the neck as any girl passes), and the dark construction underpass that, every morning, houses a new 8:00 in the morning scumbag ("Good morning. Can I get a smile?").
Deciding that the homeless men sitting on the steps of the church had to be a classier group of gents than the above described, I chose to walk down 82nd this morning. No hootin'. No hollerin', No staring. No disrespect. I liked this. I passed a couple of these men and accidentally eavesedropped on their conversation: "You know, you just can't shower everyday. That's the way it is." Ironically, it was a refreshing and welcome alternative to the usual morning chatter. All was going just dandy until I passed a man who was pissing, non-chalantly, on the street. [I've heard rumors that NYC has embraced public pissing with open arms, but not until today had I seen it in all its glory].
Thoughts of rainwater spreading the urine further across the land filled my mind, as did an image of heat transforming the puddle into inhalable yellow steam. A little disgusted, my mind traveled to the cleaner city of Chicago (as it oft does). Still, I was left with only one immediate option: to walk down 82nd and breathe in flying piss molecules or walk down 81st and smell the odor of complete and utter desperation? It was a no brainer: add puddle jumpers to my ever-growing shopping list and embrace street urination like any true New York implant ought to.
As an aside, I'm not too good to admit that I've used the occassional alley as a toilet following a latenight bar romp. The differences? No one was watching. It was dark. A speck of shame was involved. Don't lie - you've done it too.