Bubbling and peeing

“Is that guy peeing on our house?” I asked.

“I thought so, but he’s been there for a long time,” my wife said.

We had just come back from the grocery store and stopped at the park so our daughter could blow some bubbles outside in the playground at the park. A man was in the alley behind our house facing the other way in a urinating stance but didn’t move. M went into the playground with the boy to watch after the “bubbling,” as our daughter calls it.

There was another family at the swing set. They were speaking to their one-year-old daughter in Cantonese. M said a few things to them in English and they laughed and said yes to every comment.

“Is he still there?” M asked me.


“What’s he doing?”

“I’m pretty sure he’s still peeing… Oh, he’s zipping up… And he just flipped me off.”

I walked into the playground, which is surrounded by a fence. On the gate hung a laminated paper sign that read “Playground for children and their caregivers only.” I stood near my son who was crawling around on the high tech cushiony surface and waited for the man to emerge from the alley.

He stumbled out, never taking two steps in a straight line. I wondered if he had flipped me off after all. He seemed unable to focus on anything right in front of his face and I was across the street and a ways away from the curb. He made it to the corner, waited for another man riding an old mountain bike with a completely flat rear tire to pass and crossed the street, disappearing up the hill to Hastings.

The man on the bike had passed right in front of us and was waiting to turn left on Powell. A shiny black truck with a crane used for movie sets passed and the bike squeaked away.


About azlewis

I'm an academic living in the poorest neighbourhood in Canada. I also teach at a local seminary.
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