Thirst quenching

Thirst quenching

I decided to take a break from writing and stood from my table in Starbucks to go to the bathroom—excuse me—Men's Room because my bladder beckoned me so. A female barista came out of the Men's Room because the women's bathroom was in use. She said, "Why do guys' bathroom smell like pee?"

We go way back.

My response was carefully composed and thought out. "I dunno."

The obvious answer was that there was pee on the floor. But then that beckoned the question why was there pee on the floor? And the obvious answer would then be men can't aim while peeing. It's true. We stand over the toilet, like literally, our thingybobs dangle right over the bowl, and all we have to do is piss into that relatively large bowl. I mean, pro basketball players can make 3-point shots into baskets that are smaller than most toilets. So what is our freakin' issue?

The toilet is on the floor and pee has a couple of feet to travel before splashing into the water, so the Earth's rotation moves the target enough where the pee misses. Let's just say that's true. It ain't. But gimme this one for now. All right. The Earth's rotation is the cause of the Men's Room smelling like piss.

That doesn't explain urinals, though.

Let me get ghetto here: it don't mattah where I be at, every urinal I be seein' has a puddle of piss on da floor. I hate it because I hate stepping into piss, so I find myself straddling the puddle, while I make my deposit, which is apparently hard enough as it is. And ladies, I know you haven't had the pleasure, but it can't get any easier than peeing into urinals. I mean, they're usually mounted on the walls high enough where our pee travels at most half a foot, if that.

So what the hell is going on? Why don't Men's Rooms smell like Women's, all rosy and fresh with lounges pushed against the wall and shelves full of romance novels and self-help books?

I think I figured it out.

My ex and I had adopted a dog, a chihuahua mix, which I named Dobby. Yes, like the elf from Harry Potter. Cuz he has ears like Dobby. All of the sudden our lives changed because our schedules rotated around two basic things: our dog's eating schedule and potty schedule. And for some strange reason, I took pleasure in watching my dog peeing and pooing. Don't ask me why. I’m strange. Goes along with having the satisfaction of picking a rather large booger out. Maybe I’m just a neat freak.

Anyway, one morning Dobby was pawing at the bed to indicate he’s gotta go and he’s gotta go right now! At this point, I could take him out without a leash cuz he knew the routine, and he ran over to a green patch of grass. Normally, he’d sniff around to find the perfect spot to take a piss on, cuz peeing on a bad spot is a no-no in dog world. But this morning he peed like he had been out binge drinking the night before. Like I was standing there waiting…and scratchin’ my head…then scratchin’ my other head…

Then I noticed something I hadn’t before. He didn’t aim. In other words, he didn’t bother to look down and aim. Where ever his thingybob pointed is where it went. But he was focused on being aware of his surroundings. His nose pointed in different directions, wiggling as he explored his surroundings. His eyes scanned the neighboring houses and bushes. His tail was up and alert, but I think that was more about not getting it dirty.

Having expelled the contents of his bladder, Dobbs sniffed around in another patch of grass to find the perfect spot to take a crap. Obviously, for whatever reason, this spot wasn’t good enough, so his little legs worked like a sprinter's and brought him to another fresh patch of green grass. After long moments of sniffing and contemplating, Dobbs arched his tiny back, his hind legs braced his butt hole over that perfect spot. His little body shook from bearing down, squeezing out the prior day’s meals. Still at this moment of pure physical and mental focus, Dobby was well aware of his surroundings, ready to dash away from danger and leave me to fend for myself.

So it must have been this way during the caveman days where bathrooms had yet to be invented. Men must have peed and pooed and kept scanning their surroundings for dangers such as lions, tigers, hyenas, and even other cavemen.

Ladies, I hope you now understand the plight of men, and how our caveman instincts still live in us today. It isn’t our fault that we can’t seem to aim our pee, despite being evolved human beings.

Go With Da Flows

Into my second week of living in the H.I., I fly to da Big Island, better known as Hawaii. People have told me that it's very country. Through the small window of the small plane, the kind that papers write about having crashed on desert islands, I see acres of plots of land, agriculture, and tiny houses placed in the middle. It's very country. I book a tour to the famous lava flows. What I didn't realize was a ten mile round trip hike to the flows over barren, treacherous terrain that is made up of 50% silica, another word for glass. One of the requirements for this trip were pants, not leggings, but pants. One fall usually ends with cuts. Since I only packed shorts, I wore shorts. Live and learn.

We start the hike and quickly find out that the terrain is treacherous. I think a 4X4 truck would keel over. Every step sounded like glass breaking under our shoes. Everywhere you look is just cold lava where a community once lived. Our ranger said that houses still in this area has been built over the last eight years, people who are unwilling to let their land go, and insurance companies don't offer coverage to them's lava. You can't stop lava. If it flows toward your wooden home, then pack up and say good-bye.


What seem like years, two hours go by, the sun had set. The ranger warned us: if you see a glowing crack, that means it's hot. Duh. Don't put your hand over it. Duh. We ain't stupid! One of the tourists call out and point to a glowing crack. We whip out our cameras and snap away like little boys ogling a topless woman. I stick my hand over the crack and yank it back. Yup. It's hot.

At this point, we're about a mile away from the flows:


Can you see it? It's the little red dot.

Here, the ranger said we're about a quarter mile away:


Getting closer and it feels like a hot summer day. And bam!


We were lucky because an earlier group stated that the flows had stopped. But when we got there, a small hole burst open and lava oozed out. When I say burst, I mean, there was no flow, then there was. A snail after ten shots of bad vodka moved faster. But it was amazing. I was about fifteen yards away, but any closer and the heat would start melting my Nike shoes.

I think tens of thousands of tourists come to the Big Island specifically to see this. It's the only place on da planet where new land is being created. As we trudged our way toward the flows, a lot of what we walked over was anywhere from a few hours to several days old. Most people never walk on any type of earth, given the concrete jungle that we live in. So to walk on new earth, and then to witness new earth being born is amazing. All of us watched this flow for what seemed like an eternity.

Then we hike another quarter mile and see this:

How often do we see ocean water combat red hot lava? It's like two opposites hashing it out, making brand new land. Land that someday, if we humans are still around, an agent will sell. To think we can own that is stupid, but oh well.

For me, I've always loved the creation of art. When I hike through San Francisco, I love watching street performers. They're creating art right in front of our eyes. I think that's why we love certain reality shows like American Idol, or theater, or live music, or even Cirque du Solei. We want to live in the moment, but when it comes to our own lives, we don't. So we succumb to something like cooking shows because they're not only taking risks by being in a competition, but they're creating something new, something from nothing. It's pretty amazing stuff. My vice is Design Star on the HGTV channel.

Back to the flows. I'm not sure I'll be back. It's quite an effort to get there. I'll never forget it because I have pictures. And because the experience of getting there, seeing something like that, then not wanting to leave, but we do, is a cool experience to be had, much like being in da Hawaiian Islands.

One funny story: The ranger said if we needed to pee, we should let him know. He doesn't want to lose a tourist and have that reputation fowl our time here. As it happened, I needed to go and headed over a small hill. This way, I'll get privacy, not that anyone would shine a light to watch me pee, and hope its far enough away where the smell of pee won't reach the rest of the group. As I peed, the sound of sizzle on the hot rock startle me. It's not a normal thing for me to pee and here sizzling. Then the smell of urine punches my nostrils. Whoa. Have you ever walked by an alleyway and realize people use that alleyway to pee in? Now multiply that by a thousand, add heat, mugginess, and downwind. Yuck.

My characters who are both warriors and hunters understand that concept of downwind. I apparently do not. Worse was when I trekked back to my group, that downwind blew toward us and carried with it my boiled pee, fowling that area. Live and learn.

One suggestion if you do go to the lava flows. Do wear pants. We almost made it out when two people fell. One man fell on his hand and cut his palm open. Another woman fell on her shin, but she wore leggings. Rolling her leggings back revealed she suffered some deep bruising in its early stages and several cuts. Ouchy.