Rocketships and lipstick

Being able to get up and walk into a little room, dump bodily waste, wipe an orifice, and then walk back to friends or a date without any undue scrutiny or guilt is a blessing. In parts of Asia and the Middle East, you can simply walk over to the side of the road, whip it out, and piss away. In the Western world, a combination of modern sanitary practices and the shame of exposing private parts necessitates crappers. In that, it builds in the need to have these rooms everywhere and the need for them to be available.

So it is not a big deal to use the bathroom. Think about it. You have to go. Your body is burning in pain because physically, it is telling you to get rid of something that will slowly poison you. And I am not even talking about taking a shit, I am talking about pissing. There are additional gender and social conventions to scrutinize, but for this post I will focus on public urination to illustrate a point. As I walk out of a bar and make my way home, I will need a bathroom. The amount of beer I would have consumed will certainly make this so.

And there are houses to piss on. Some of the houses have contours in their facades that allow for a body to slip into a shadow, giving privacy to the pisser from eyes on the street. But is public urination wrong, you ask? It can’t be wrong, for we let animals practice in full view of the world, something humans in San Francisco are not socially granted the right to do. We let dogs piss everywhere, and it is somehow ok when a human pissing is not. Is it not wrong for dogs to expose themselves?

Now there are interesting juxtapositions to humans/dogs practicing public urination. And we must examine these angles to see that the argument is not cut and dry. San Franciscans are not granted the right to piss wherever they please. We cannot just piss in the street. While it is not completely illegal, you can still be punished in the City’s finest catch you enjoying a pee. California Penal Code 370 and 372 define public urination as a public nuisance, and California Penal Code 647 define it as disorderly conduct. You can be punished for both actions, albeit misdemeanor tickets. The embarrassment of being caught for this should persuade the public pisser to reserve themselves when peeing on buildings.

The lack of bathrooms in the City makes it difficult. Homeless people and junkies will camp out in park bathrooms given the chance. Anyone with years of city dwelling experience knows this. The Main Library in the Civic Center has problems with sink showering in it’s public restrooms. The coin operated restrooms on Market street simply fail to really work, and I think I have seen them function as de facto hotels/shooting galleries. Without a place for people to piss, the walls and gutters of our home become social, gender-neutral urinals, something this forward-thinking City should maybe boast about.

Dogs, on the other hand, have little in the way of piss problems. I have found it difficult to walk down the street in any neighborhood and not witness a dog enjoying their ‘walkies’ and spraying some plants along the way. I do find it humorous watching dog owners scoop up dog shit with bags wrapped around their hands. For some reason, these people seem like the types that complain about how MUNI is so filthy, but would come into VERY close contact with body temperature dog shit. That’s is beside the point though. Dog owners do not have to spray down areas where their dogs pissed. Some building owners put up signs to warn dog owners to curb their dogs, but there are no laws stating that animals will be ticketed for not following the posted signs. The dog owners don’t even blink when their dogs pee in a public area like a park where children might be playing (in dog piss). That’s a socially acceptable thing.

So if humans are pissing in dark cracks late night after watering hole adventures and dogs are spraying down the playground sand before Jimmy builds his castle, who is in the right? I don’t know what sounds like more of a public nuisance. Dogs should be held to the same standards as humans or humans should be able to piss in public like dogs, without worrying about being scrutinized. And if not, San Francisco should think about equalizing urination for everyone.


Human Sheilds

One can’t help think that this housing problem in San Francisco is simply a changing of the guard, the movement of one group of people to another place, like muscling in on the Ohlone (this happened). This is clearly illustrated in the current state of affairs with wealthy, young workers flaunting their capability to pay astronomical rent when outbidding others on the opportunity to make other people rich. Renting does not benefit you, no matter what you think. You will never have a right to the property you pay for.

So maybe this is just the more capable forcing out the less capable. In a recent article by Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez, San Francisco natives lamented about their changing home, albeit with far less vitriol than the Mission housing activists. They say it’s because of the new techies, but I see it as a simple imbalance of groups that have always existed here in San Francisco.

And we used to have balance. The city has always had neighborhoods for different types of people. We have the Marina for the yuppies (young, urban professionals = y. u. p. = yuppie), the Mission for the scumbags/weirdos/artists, the Bayview for the thugs, the western neighborhoods for people that had kids and dropped out. It was all here. There was plenty of space for everyone, and unspoken borders kept you where you should be.

There are too many yuppies here in the city. And I have to characterize a yuppie as someone who is very young and therefore very naive about life. When I moved to the city for Los Angeles, I was in my very early 20’s and ignorant. After mistakes, I have now learned a few things about life. Yuppies, with there extremely high paying jobs, don’t really know what to do with their money. If there is a young person that makes a lot of money and say, invests is properly or saves it, then they automatically count themselves out of this categorization. If there have a lot of money and spend it on expensive clothing or ridiculous parties or worse, well, they should count themselves defined.

Yuppies are just dense. I am not saying that they are horrible people. They don’t kill people in the streets (most of the time) or engage in antisocial behavior (most of the time). They are mainly hardwired to self serve, to only think and care about the person in the mirror. Again, not horrible, but not exactly edifying to society. Patrick Bateman taught us that a hyper keen perspective on the pointless details of life were more important than acting civilized, and if these yuppies picture themselves woven into the thin blanket that the City has spread over it, there is little in the way of a moral block that will stop them.

And the reason this is so horrible is the effect housing in the city. The large number of yuppies is driving the economy. Rent skyrockets when you have too many people that are willing to pay astronomical prices just to live without understanding what they get. Most people would scoff at a one bedroom in an old wood framed house for $2500 a month..but not yuppies. They just pay. I marvel at what is happening downtown. I lived in the Tenderloin for eight years and can say that it is a shithole. It was an affordable shithole, but it is still a shithole. And when I hear that people pay over $2000 for a crappy studio while their rent controlled neighbor smokes crack and talks to themselves all night to the tune of $600 a month, I just can’t believe it. By the way, I still walk the old land from time to time, and it is still a filthy shithole.

The stupidity problem is something that will never be solved. Every major era in history has had to deal with this issue. It’s a byproduct of youth. Young people have the power to stand up to any regime, invent amazing things, change the world, but that is only some of them. The rest are emotionally unstable and only capable of following others over a cliff. The stupidity problem here in San Francisco, however, is one that I cannot dodge, hence these words.