I was strolling along a back road in Yaba. The sidewalk was elevated from the road on my left and bounded on my right by the fence of a school.
There were no cars passing and no other people on the street except one man walking towards me. About forty steps away, he stopped, looked around furtively like a burglar and turned towards the wall. He unzipped his trousers and started peeing against the wall.
I kept walking, wondering what the appropriate response to this was.
Should I cross the road? I could ignore him, but was there enough room on the sidewalk for me to pass without brushing against him?
Did I want to pass him while he was pissing and listen to the splashing while pretending not to see him?
Should I walk faster to get past him before he finished or slower so he’d be done by the time I got there?
Would he then shake himself off and ruin the rest of my day by making eye contact?
Thirty steps away, I had chosen to make no changes. I am, by nature, a very slow walker. This quirk had come up in a past relationship where my girlfriend’s idea of quality time was going on walks. She would take quick strides while I trotted behind her to keep up. At the end of the relationship, during the airing of grievances, I brought that up, whining, “Why do you insist on going on walks when we never walk together?”
I don’t have an excuse, it seemed important at the time.
I was twenty steps away now. How could he still be peeing?
That’s the thing about long pees. You’re always about half-way through them before you notice, damn, it is a long one and you should have been timing it.
If I was a WC engineer, I would dedicate all my research to my greatest invention: A toilet with sensors in it that starts a timer as soon as the first stream of fluid hits the water. It would have a digital screen above it and when the client is finished, the display would read:
“You have just ejected 1.3 litres of fluid in a time of 32 seconds.”
NEW TOILET RECORD!
Hit flush to continue
The next screen will have a list of high scores and you’d enter your initials like an old school arcade: TAT
Ten steps away and I was worried.
He was facing the wall and the puddle of piss pooled at his feet. But the sidewalk sloped downward from the fence to the road so he widened his stance to allow the stream flow between his legs. Behind him, the liquid fanned out into a wide based triangle and I realised that to pass I would have to hurdle it.
I tried the long jump in secondary school but it didn’t take. There was the run-up and the take-off board and people who were good at it would adjust their strides just right to get their last foot to slam perfectly on the board as they hurled their bodies into the air. I could never get that to work. I would approach the line running too fast, then lose all momentum by slowing down to get my final foot on the board.
I broke up my last five steps to the pisser into ten mini steps preparing to leap for maximum distance. I stutter-stepped cha-cha-cha… cha-cha-cha and took off. I sailed through the air flailing my arms and pumping my legs. The landing was flawless. My hands were stretched forward and my feet placed together hit the ground simultaneously. I stood up straight, thrust my fist in the air, and bowed to the crowd.
Behind me, the river ran unabated.