September, 2011 Xing Ping, China
Yes you read it correctly. Go ahead, read it again. And yes, it is in quotation marks. This is a real, live, actual quote. By someone I know. Very well. Most disturbingly, I know it’s accurate and true because I was standing right next to him when it was spoken. So if you think about that for just a sec you’ll realize I was probably in real danger of being peed on as well. Oh the joys of living in China!
Before I go any futher, I really feel the need to be fair, we really love living here and for every one thing we’ve seen that may have freaked us out, we’ve seen 10 more things that were absoulutely fabulous. It is so easy to fall into the trap of “My Life Abroad is a Living Hell” bitch zone, as the things that surprise us or shock us tend to make the most impression, and ultimately make for the best stories. I suppose it’s also a bit of that dark side of human nature rearing it’s nasty head, that we sometimes concentrate too much on the negative.
So needless to say, the day in question ended up being a fantastic one and everyone escaped being peed on, although in Gary’s case it was a really close call. A near miss you would say. We were walking along in the crowded colonnade of a large building where we had just purchased tickets for white water rafting. The building not only had tickets, it had lockers, lifejackets, complementary rubber shoes and most interestingly of all, bathrooms. But some chinese father had seen fit to hold his young son half naked in the busy walkway at an angle that prevented the child from peeing on himself or his father and let him have at it. The suddenly appearing arc of urine reached about a meter from the child before spashing on the stone step within inches of Gary’s foot. Only the near instantaneous and instinctive evasive leap made by Gary saved him from a certain soaking, and immediately after he made the title comment.
This sort of thing happens all the time, although, for the most part, more discreetly near a shrub, drain, gutter, what-have-you. So as a general rule you don’t have to walk down the street in perpetual fear of public urination, but you will see it. It sure does seem to be way more acceptable here! As a foreigner in another country, you try and cultivate acceptance for whatever the social norms are in your host country. But, man, I’ll tell ya, we’re struggling a bit with this one! Some days you just have to be happy you don’t get peed on.
*No one was peed upon during the writing of this post.