6 am call times and an unrelenting pop song on repeat; tender stems the silvered color sunlight brings out of fog and punctuated with exclamatory yellow buds; a single oak holds back a landslide, rocks straining against a tangle of roots, outspread Kali arms for once keeping chaos at bay; the old stone love seat at the top of the mountain is crumbling away, the view from this precarious shrinking perch now chaparral-obstructed.
I pissed off the side of an outcropping today, up a trail toward the eastern end of the Angeles. I knew what I was doing, and where I was…moreso, I think, than when you’re discretely tucked away behind a civilized bathroom door. Voiding the bladder outside brings the animal self forward, vulnerability heightens your senses; eyes, ears and nose all dilate until you’re back on your feet proper, standing erect, the alpha predator in the story you tell yourself about yourself in the world.
I watched a woman piss off the side of a curb today, in noontime traffic on the busy corner of Franklin and Vermont. I can’t pretend to know her thought process. One of the young men with me said, “Well, where do you want her to do it?” and I had too many answers. Discretely tucked away behind a civilized bathroom door. Because I wanted her safe? (I hope so) Because I didn’t want to see it? (I’m ashamed to say it) Because my eyes, ears and nose dilated on contact with her? Because my animal self came forward, assessing threat to my young charges because sadly one of the first things I think is: if someone will squat and piss on a street corner, what do they have to lose? A predator in the world.
God no, I don’t think so. Prey. Prey to addictions, to her own mind turned adversary. Prey to the apathy of the traffic racing by her tender haunches, perched so precariously a few feet from the suddenly sinister silvered grills of the cars and their hot black rubberound feet spinning indifferently and at inhuman speeds. Where are the oaken arms to hold it all back?
I can’t unsee.