On Sunday, just before I was getting ready to head out on an errand with Fernando and Mateo, a very drunk and very homeless (there are degrees of homelessness after all) man took advantage of one of the semi-private semi-alcoves of our building, using it as a privy.
My natural emotion in almost any situation is anger. It is part of why I am so charming. But at the same time, I don't really like confrontation--in the past I have relied on being threatening to get around actual confrontation. I am like one of those brightly colored but harmless insects. My buzzed head and bigger than average size and the way that I look angry and menacing when I am trying to remember where it is I was going scares people who don't know me, when in fact I am harmless. So, though part of me wanted to yell at him and I muttered something about the police, I wasn't really going to do anything. Off on the errand.
When we got back about an hour and a half later, the man was still in our alley, sleeping off a drunk on the porch of the building across the way. Dutifully--I am on the board of the damned HOA--I dug around in the recycling until I could find a suitable piece of cardboard to scoop up the feces and then I got to scooping. Having scooped, I sprayed down and went to wake the man. I couldn't be too angry, though I had just nearly vomited inside the shirt I had pulled over my nose as a makeshift mask. I asked him to move along and then he wandered away.
But, then I thought, what kind of pseudo-society do we live in where there's not even a place where people can go to the bathroom. Even that little bit of dignity--a private place to take a shit--is removed from people, unless they are a paying customer. Now, I know the arguments against having public restrooms or making restaurants and other businesses open their restrooms to whomever. It raises their costs; it's an unfair burden on the restaurants; whatever. For what it's worth, I didn't much enjoy having to clean up what I did, either. But, I wouldn't want to be that guy.