The Rittenhouse Review

A Philadelphia Journal of Politics, Finance, Ethics, and Culture

Wednesday, April 21, 2004  

A Slice of Philadelphia

I am fortunate enough to live in Philadelphia’s nicest neighborhood, namely Society Hill, and in a beautiful house that abuts a “way,” a “way” being something more than a path but something short of a street, a “way” that, for the sake of privacy, I will not name.

Just moments ago I went out to our private garden to smoke a cigarette -- smoking being disallowed in the house (it’s a two-two tie).

While relaxing in the wonderful surroundings and “taking in the air,” as they used to say, a familiar sound rang in my ears.

The sound of someone peeing.

I was certain said urination was not occurring within our property limits, but I took a quick check nonetheless. It wasn’t.

Rather, the urination, the peeing, the leaking, the taking of a piss, was taking place in the “way,” that which I’ve explained above is something more than a path but not quite a street.

No surprise, the perpetrator was a man.

No surprise given that women, what with their differing anatomy, and the overall paucity of alternatives presented to them by society at large, having devised more civilized alternatives when the need arises, when “nature calls,” being disinclined to relieving themselves in dark -- and not-so-dark -- “alleys” or “ways,” are the last suspects in such infractions.

Every urban dweller knows -- and therefore the following advice is for those otherwise residing -- yelling, “What the hell are you doing?! Don’t piss there! I’m calling the police!”, does little -- very little -- to discourage the wanton pissor.

Meanwhile, in seeking the deviant urinator, I ruined the garden’s fountain. I think it can be repaired.

I’ll work on that tomorrow.

[Post-publication addendum (April 22): The fountain has been reassembled.]

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