I was shocked the other day to discover a little boy in front of a children’s toy store zipping up his pants. He looked straight into my eyes with a devilish grin like he’d gotten away with something. As it turns out, he had. A big dripping mass of urine, to be specific. It was right there in front of me, soaking into the porous bricks of the strip center wall with the overflow sliding down the side. It took a while to process. Did that little boy really just pee on the wall? Right here in public? Surely he was an orphan, with no mother around. Most certainly he was left alone, abandoned and neglected, having no comprehension that boys of the world are not supposed to whip out their pee machines in public whilst other innocent citizens are shopping for pink baby doll furniture. But he didn’t have clothes like an orphan, all dirty and ripped with a funny little hat and patched knees. Everyone knows that orphans walk with a limp, carry a cane, and usually speak with a broken English accent, but all I heard out of this little runt was a giggle.
Okay, so maybe he does has a mother. He’s just a little brat who used immature judgment and decided a wall was a perfectly natural place to pee. It’s hard for a little tot to distinguish that peeing freely on camping trips and in secluded backyards might be okay but storefronts, well, not so much. When this mother finds out what her little one was up to, I’ll bet she is downright horrified. . .
“Hurry up,” I heard a voice coming from behind. It was a woman, standing by a car tapping her fingers on the door, waiting. Who needed to hurry? What was she waiting for? The little kid ran over to her car and hopped in. No. For the love of bacon, no. This woman was just standing there? Waiting for her son to urinate on a brick wall in public? I’m curious just how that conversation went, exactly.
“Uh, mom, I totally gotta pee.”
“Well, let’s see,” horrible mom says. “We are standing in front of a store with public restrooms. With urinals and running water. But instead of that, why don’t you just hop on out there and pee on the wall. It’s cool. Just like the last time I told you to pee outside the dry cleaners. It’s similar to that, but with more people around. Try not to poop, since that might send us to jail or someone might call CPS and there are all those flies to contend with. But pee’s totally harmless. It’s just reconstituted soda pop. We’re in a drought. It’ll dry.”
“What’s reconstituted mean?” the brat says.
“Just go out there and pee already. We’re late to the movies.”
I just stood there for a few moments, unable to proceed. I just kept staring at this mother, and back to the store, and over to the huge pee stain. It was like the air surrounding me was somehow contaminated with this boy’s urine. All I could think of was Clorox wipes and dirty hands. The mother looked down, perhaps due to shame. Perhaps in anger. Perhaps she thought I was judgmental or inappropriate for giving her dirty looks. The truth hurts.
I let out a very quiet, barely audible noise – perhaps incomprehensible to some. Or, if you listened veeeery carefully, it actually sounded something like “Are you serious? Are you freaking serious? Did you just let your kid pee on the wall right there?” Okay, so most people heard it. But only if you were really paying rapt attention and happened to be in a five-mile radius and were not on your ipad. It was subtle, really. I think I really made an impression.
I went home without doll furniture. But I did walk away with a new appreciation for toilets. And hand sanitizer. And a realization that maybe I’m not such a bad mother after all. I might make instant pudding and not realize I can’t set the inside of a crock pot directly onto a stove burner and not notice my child playing with knives, but at least my son won’t pee in public.
Unless he joins a college fraternity. Then, we’ll just forget this entire conversation.