Warning: No…ahem, littering
In defense of my upstanding moral character, here is my experience:
When the woman in uniform approached and asked if I had been urinating in the privacy of the cedar tree I’d just cleared, I admitted that yes, I had. To be clear, there was no chance of indecent exposure because I was using what I affectionately refer to as my “big, six-incher”; the only thing possibly visible would have been a tiny pink, plastic spout. She saw me put something back in my pocket and did not attempt to confiscate it. (That might well have started a war.) She informed me that she would have to report me to the campus police. She was a Police Aide stationed in a nearby pick up, positioned so as to not be visible in the driver’s seat. (A stakeout? You decide.)
The three policemen, in two cars, arrived shortly afterward and parked between myself and nine cycling friends. I sat down, figuring I would be there a while. Three seemed like an awful lot, maybe they called backup out of concern that I would draw my prosthetic funnel and attempt to use it as a weapon. Or maybe the possibility of arresting a woman for urinating in public was the most interesting thing going on around campus that morning. I didn’t expect the riding group, most of whom were now feigning complete dissociation from me, to wait, even though their 7:30 ride was now ten minutes late.
Cop number one took my driver’s license, called me in, then explained to me that I was “littering” and I could be arrested for it. I defensively replied that the bathrooms at the student union — where I normally litter — were locked; so was the engineering building. (Coincidence? Who knows?)
I don’t reckon the campus police give a rip how they do it (litter, that is) in China, Laos, Vietnam or Cambodia, and I didn’t think describing my past four months in the wilderness of Southeast Asia would help my situation. After all, that’s why we have sewers here, right? That’s what cop number one said. He also chided me for not knowing where the next nearest public bathroom was. (Answer: The Circle K, about a quarter mile away — I don’t normally patronize them because most Circle Ks don’t have facilities.)
Though frustrated, I contritely said I had never littered there before and would not do it again. I instantly regretted the exasperated “Okay?” I tacked onto the end. It could have easily been misconstrued as sarcasm. (Note to self: in future situations, take off cycling eyewear.)
He handed my ID back as his colleagues looked on with disappointment. I rode toward the group with a look that my husband later wished he could have laughed at.
If they were targeting the Saturday morning shootout, the campus police unfortunately missed, but they did want me to pass along to my cycling friends that “littering”, in public, is inappropriate. Consider yourself warned.
So, how many campus police does it take to nab a litterer? Watch this space for a reissue of Alice’s Restaurant, coming soon. (Collaborators welcome.)
For those of you interested in Asian Adventure bike touring:
Claire and her husband Bob Rogers will give a program on their tandem bicycle journey In Search of Shangri-la. They pedaled from Chengdu, China, over the Tibetan Plateau, into Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand.
This is not your grandfathers slide show! They’ve ridden their tandem more than 40,000 miles, fully loaded, all over the world, and have given tens of presentations about their adventures. Crossing passes nearing 16,000 feet and getting lost in the anti-personnel bomb infested jungles of Laos are just two of the stories they have to tell.
Sunday March 28 at 7pm
The program will be in the central clubhouse at Far Horizons Tucson Village, 555 N. Pantano. Turn north at the stoplight on 5th between Speedway and Broadway. The gate will be open until 7:30