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.


Jonathan said...

Present and accounted for, Sir!

And no, I don't have an answer to your question.

BrendoMan said...

I don't know about Koreans, but I do know that Chinese folks don't have a problem with public urination, especially as far as children go. Small children don't wear diapers here, they just have a hole in their pants (seriously) and when they have to go, they just squat somewhere. Even in the winter, I still see the occasional grown-up pissing in the bushes. I'm excited to read whatever you have to offer those of us in blog land!

Ryan said...

Mostly urination tales!

But thanks for stopping by. I'll try to make it worth your while.

Ryan said...

Oh yeah, I forgot to mention: when telling my roommate the story, he guessed that the lady was Asian before I even mentioned it.

He said pretty much the same thing you said, Brendoman. He's Filipino, and has been around a variety of large Asian populations, and said they actually have signs that say "Please do not urinate" in public places back home.

fatty said...

i like your tale. at first i was upset that it wasn't three hours, but then i realized it wasn't a tour.

Ryan said...


Mike Runnestrand said...

There is a picture that at one point was circling the inter-net of a similar asian woman/child duo. They are at a car show, and the woman is holding up a juice bottle to envelop her child's dangly thing while two asian car models look on with delight. I will post it when I get home. I am currently at work and my public asian baby urination picture library is somewhat limited.

Elihu said...

i am a 4-5 year old kid who walks around peeing in drains and other conspicuous areas
all day long: it is age appropriate, and in my country, it is praised and honored. How dare you look down upon what i consider holy!Who do you think you are?
Who gave you the right to cast condescending judgement upon the whole asian race because you witnessed me unabashedly relieve myself?

fatty said...

I sure am relieved that someone finally stood up for what is right. Yer in trouble ryan.