Monday, December 13, 2004

A funny thing happened at the bookstore today . . .

Jonathan keeps telling me to make a blog, a notion which I have resisted very easily until this day. I have very little to add to political or theological discussions, so stick with Hugh and Jon for that stuff. What I have today is a tale.

This week is textbook buy-back week at the Biola Bookstore, and I'm right there on the front lines. The job itself is incredibly boring in description, so I'll spare you all but the necessary details.

During a rare lull, my co-worker Nathan and I were standing around behind the buy-back tables, waiting for more books to box up or redistribute to the shelves. The window behind us looks out onto the patio in front of Student Services (we're on the second floor), and then to the front of the gym still in construction.

Just as I turn around to glance out the window, two figures down below immediately draw my attention. It is an Asian mother with her small boy (who I would estimate to be about 4 or 5).

As I watch, the boy is looking down at a metal grate in the cement, right near the border of the grass. His mother is looking there too, and it soon becomes apparent why they are so interested in this seemingly uninteresting focal point.

The boy and his mother shimmy down his pants to the ankles, and the boy pees in the drain.

Yes. Pees in the drain. Bare ass to the Student Services and Bookstore windows. Mother watching, aiding, encouraging, perhaps even insisting.

Now, I know that not everyone knows Biola as well as I. I know that I shouldn't expect everyone to know that there are six bathrooms in the immediate vicinity of this drainage grate (outside the bookstore, inside Student Services, inside the SUB, inside the gym, inside the fitness center, inside the pool area). Really, these bathrooms are seconds away.

However, I would think I have a right to expect visitors to at least inquire as to their location before resorting to public urination.

And so my question is this: could this be a cultural thing? My best guess is that this lady is not originally from America, that perhaps she is a Talbot wife of Korean or Chinese descent, and that wherever she is from, making your little boy pee in a drain in front of an active construction site, well-trafficked student path, and still-open school building is not far from normal. That it's easier to ask forgiveness than directions.

Can anyone guess? Mothers of boys may encourage some weird stuff in desperate situations, but as weird as I was growing up, I only peed in drains when my mom wasn't there.

This concludes my first web log entry.