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Urine Luck when You’re In Albany

February 4th, 2007 · No Comments

Tonight I volunteered to be a sober driver for some friends that wanted to go out but were clearly in a state unsuitable to drive by New York State’s standards. It was a good thing they didn’t drive, since it started snowing quite hard during the twenty minute ride from Troy to downtown Albany. Albany’s gritty streets welcomed us with all their icy and illicit fury. Approaching the bar my friends were headed to, near Quail St and Western Ave, we were stymied by a police activity, apparently arresting some man for some unknown reason – taking him away in an unmarked grey Chevy Tahoe. There were three marked patrol units on the scene, and it was our misfortune that one – a Ford Taurus police car – was parked such as to leave just barely too little room for anything but a Suzuki Swift to pass.

I waited a moment for the action to end and for the vehicles to move since things seemed to be finishing. The officer driving the incredibly un-cool and invariably unsatisfying, un-intimidating toy of a police car waded back to his car, ensuring to get a good “tough guy” look at me, the jerk that was waiting to get by him. He gets back in his car, before deciding to exit again a moment later and tell me to back out and go around the block, even though he only had to move a few inches to make enough room for me to get through.

But before I even made it around the block, coming at me the head-on down a side street was this same Ford Taurus police car. I have a laptop in my car, and so did he, which I inferred by the fact he was completely not watching the road, and was this time riding so far into another lane that he prevented me from moving past him in my direction. When he came to, he moved to his right again and let me by. And of course, where did he go? Around the block again, to meet me in the parking lot I was trying to get into. Then, as I pulled into the spot, and put the car in park, he slammed his brakes, threw the car into reverse, and rallied off into traffic with tires spinning, assisted readily by the fresh snow on the ground.

Unfortunately, the Albany police’s level of protection afforded to that parking lot was significantly less through the rest of the night. I got some Chinese food from the restaurant whose parking lot I was in, and waited for my friends to do their drinking for a few hours.

In the time spent waiting for my friends, seven people utilized the outdoor bathroom facilities in the parking lot, namely, the dumpsters and the brick wall that fronted the street.

The first few perpetrators surprised me more than anything, since they were pretty conspicuous about the whole affair, walking right up to the dumpsters and spending a hot minute letting the faucet flow. Not more than fifteen minutes later, the third and fourth friendly Albanians (n.b. not ethnic Albanians) stopped to pee in the parking lot, which I began to realize was the popular place to pee in this area. The fifth guy was just too sketchy to warrant eye contact, riding deep into the shadows of his ghetto fabulous comforter jacket.

The sixth and seventh gentlemen that stopped by to join in the manufacture of yellow snow came as a team. These two were far less stealthy and were noticably less prepared than other public urinators, pausing to look over their shoulder first, directly at me, and then setting up their shot. When the guy looked at me, I said, “That dumpster looks pretty nice; are you sure your heart’s set on the wall?” But he answered silently by equalizing the difference in liquid pressure between his body and that red brick wall. He was kind enough to give me thumbs up and say thanks for the offer of help, adding, “When you gotta go…” When you gotta go, indeed.

But this story begs two important questions. First, why did Albany buy marked Ford Taurus police cars? No police department with a sense of self-worth would buy such an ambivalent patrol car. The one exception to the mid-size sedan police car rule is the ’86 Ford Taurus LX that Robocop drove. Those were bad-ass. And second, how many public urinators per capita are there every day in Albany if at least seven were peeing in one parking lot while I was there?

If people are peeing in public, surely there is some other mass mayhem occurring. Under-age drinking, perhaps, if these kids are crafty enough to talk their way in, or get in with a fake ID, or know someone that can get them drinks on the inside or simply not get carded at all. Girls may even be going wild in those clubs.

I wondered if we really can be free if we can’t choose where to pee, but the free spirit of these bar-goers snapped me to my senses and made me realize that laws are broken routinely when they interfere with basic human needs like the need to pee after hours of hard drinking so that you can drive home without having to pull over and pee or be pulled over at all for that matter! Note that you should always do whatever is needed to ensure the police are not your sober driver, as they only service a limited number of locations and the wait times can be horrendous.

But my friends made it home safely with my assistance, and weren’t even urinated on even though they were out in Albany for almost two whole hours.

As an aside, I was reminded of a recurring argument I had with a girl that I dated from SUNY Albany. She thought Troy was worse overall than Albany in terms of crime. But I always thought, while Troy is a rough place to be, you really only have to worry about the typical sensible types of crimes, like a robbery. So for example in Troy, you might get robbed for your shoes and get shot or stabbed over it. But in Albany, you’d just get shot or stabbed for no good reason.

Urine on a brick wall at Quail and Western in Albany

Tags: Government & Politics · Police, Law, & Justice · Urban Exploration, Infiltration, & Security

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