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Creek Running North
June 05, 2005
All this talk of healthy kidney function and hallowed icons of the dominant social elites got me to remembering a night long ago, back during the halcyon days of the Reagan Administration, back when conservatives actually thought you could slash taxes and increase military expenditures while balancing the budget. Yeah, I know. Good thing we all know better now.
I was in my mid-twenties. I was working at a series of jobs in the DC area at a range between 100 and 150 percent of minimum wage. I would get up each morning - usually with a hangover - and walk down to Columbia Pike, catch a bus, ride it to the nearest Metro station, then take the train in to wherever I was working. At night, I'd do the same thing coming back. It was not the worst commute I've had in my life - I think the one I have right now wins that prize - but if I missed commute hours, the schedules of both bus and train slackened, and I could find myself taking two and a half hours to get home.
One night a few of my co-workers and I went out after work for beer. This happened every so often. There was a bar next to the nursery where we worked, one of those fakey, irritated waitresses in short shorts and cleavage, stupid corny fake Irish name places with old DeKalb flying corn signs and stoplights and distressed photos of 1920s-era boxers on the walls. I think it was called "T.J. McGiveusyourgoddamnmoneys." Or something like that. I drank about fifteen dollars worth of beer. Note to people who didn't drink in 1985: this was five drafts, more or less. A couple plates of nachos and New! Fresh! Zesty! Deep-Fried Cheese-Stuffed Jalapeńos! later, I waved a vague farewell to my colleagues and weaved toward the newly-opened Tenleytown Metro Station.
The Red Line train was late, but it got there, and I got on. Sat down, watched the Van Ness UDC station roll past, and the Cleveland and Woodley Parks as well. And just as we rolled into the Dupont Circle station, I realized something troubling:
It would have been a good idea to take a leak before leaving the bar.
Ah, well. I was a grownup: I could tough it out, right? I got out at the Chinatown station and waited for a Yellow Line train. (They just had to call it that, I groaned.) I didn't wait long. This was a stroke of luck. The bus schedule was synchronized with the arrival of the Yellow Line at my destination, and that meant my bathroom was only another forty minutes away. I could last that long, though it wouldn't be pleasant.
The train was pokey, though. It chugged along beneath the Mall to L'Enfant Plaza, and then swung out in a slow, swooping arc on the bridge across the Potomac. Then into my station. It took forever for the doors to slide open.
Interesting fact: it's harder than you might think to run at full speed up an escalator when you have a full bladder.
I got to ground level, ran out the doors of the Large Federal Office Building whose basement the Metro Station occupied, and hurried to the multi-route bus stop... just in time to see the Columbia Pike bus pull away, its tail-lights fading into the blackness of the Northern Virginia night.
It was 11:45 pm. The next bus would arrive in an hour.
Pacing back and forth didn't help. Neither did not pacing back and forth. An eternity passed. It was now 11:47. And then I realized that not only was I a) in my mid-twenties and b) drunk, but 3) over there along the walls of the Large Federal Office Building was a thick, dark hedge. Not only was I in the demographic least likely to care about social proprieties, but the hedge would afford me plenty of cover. I limped across the access road.
There was plenty of room behind the hedge, and it completely concealed me - not that there was anyone around to watch. This was perfect! A short moment later, all my worries vanished as I fed and watered the hedge.
My bladder was full, so it was taking a while. I got to thinking. Why waste all my resources on this innocent plant when there I had there, just within range, the wall of the Large Federal Office Building? I swiveled, more or less aimed, and let fly with redoubled enthusiasm. That felt even better. I don't think I've enjoyed any single instance of urination more in my life.
So if we're engaging in near-literal dickwaving, PZ, I think I've got you beat hands down. (As it were.) Go ahead and threaten that worthless piece of paper all you like.
Because I've pissed on the Pentagon.
Posted by Chris Clarke at June 5, 2005 04:37 PM
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i recall when the yippies tried to levitiate the pentagon. i think pissing on it is much better. and easier. you must have a powerful sphincter or valve or whatever. maybe pz could give us an anatomy lesson here. maybe you could, as pz is busy pissing elsewhere.
i do kinda remember from a period of my life like that which you describe---the beer part---that my bladder was much larger than it is now. i had a 20 minute bus ride or a 40 minute walk, in oakland. ahhh youth.Posted by: dread pirate roberts at June 5, 2005 07:35 PM
Yabbut did you write your name?Posted by: Ron Sullivan at June 5, 2005 10:39 PM
Yabbut did you write your name?
"The bad news, Mr. President: It's in Nancy's handwriting."Posted by: Chris Clarke at June 5, 2005 11:02 PM
Dread pirate roberts, I remember that attempted levitation as well, because I was at the March on the Pentagon in October 1967. By the way, levitation was tto be the second phase of action after the Pentagon had undergone exorcism.
Although I did not participate in that "event",the word was that participants needed first to encircle the Pentagon and link hands. Absent this essential component, exorcism/levitation would be impossible.
I thought the whole exercise was silly, but apparently the troops guarding the Pentagon were under orders NOT to allow the participants to complete the circle.
It was nice to see the weight of supertition balance military judgment.Posted by: Ereshkigal at June 6, 2005 08:27 AM
I've pissed on the Pentagon.
Dude, that's so awesome. You, like, marked territory right on the world headquarters of the miliary-industrial complex.Posted by: Dave at June 6, 2005 09:56 AM
"The bad news, Mr. President: It's in Nancy's handwriting."
Ew. I hope you disinfected afterwards.