Blowing Chunks

First Ferry vomit bag*Warning: Not for those with weak stomachs*

I'm disgusted with the total disregard some people have for public areas when it comes to bodily functions best reserved for the washroom, bathroom, toilet, WC, lavatory, what have you.

I used to walk with my head held high before I came to Hong Kong. Now I look down a lot.

Why? Let's begin with what's known as blowing chunks.

This is not an inaccurate euphemism. For my foreign friends, blowing chunks means to vomit, throw up, to hurl, to puke, to spew, to be sick. It's a literal reference to undigested food that comes up soon after it goes down. You get the idea.

"... this is not an inaccurate euphemism."

I bring this up [ahem] because on several occasions it has been my misfortune to view the grotesque remains of someone's recent meal splattered like an impact crater on the sidewalks that surround our building. I've had to endure this spectacle at least four times; this time it was in the doorway next to the entrance of our block. Yuck!

When walking home after finishing a nice dinner, it's repulsive to round the corner and spy a nasty, foul mess waiting to make your acquaintance. It's not conducive to good digestion. Worse yet, by design these sidewalks are covered by the second storey canopy; rain can't wash away the crud. It stays there for days, unsightly and unpleasant.

Six meters away is a raised garden contained in a wall about one meter high. It has grass, plants and trees; a small green patch in the midst of all the concrete. Open garbage bins line the pathway that bisects this raised garden. If one were going to lose one's lunch, wouldn't it be better to run over and eject it into a bin or into the grass, where others won't have to see it, much less step in it?

· ƒ ·

Then there are the government-operated public restrooms, which are revolting and to be avoided unless a dire emergency is unfolding. The odor alone is enough to sear nose hairs. I won't discuss the condition of the stalls. Washrooms located in restaurants and shopping malls aren't a huge improvement.

"Words such as aim, wipe, flush and wash are not part of their lingo."

Men are awful when it comes to respecting this environment. Words such as aim, wipe, flush and wash are not part of their lingo. Once I saw a pile of dung in a wall urinal. I wondered what kind of man would commit such a horrible act, until I saw one help his young son use a urinal for that purpose. In a word: appalling.

Understanding this, it's a good idea to learn where the cleanest washrooms are located. In the event nature calls, a suitable facility should be close at hand.

Unless one is so drunk one can't see straight. Returning home from the nearby 7-11 at 3.00am, I happened upon such a man. Nonchalant, he urinated on the wall at one corner of our block in full view of anyone who may have passed by. Either he didn't notice the nearby garden or was too hammered to care. Another display of an overwhelming lack of social graces.

Where does this reckless disregard for public areas originate? When a mother pulls down her little boy's pants in a crowded bus station and teaches him pee into a sewer grate, that's where the disrespect begins.

Were this nauseating human behaviour not bad enough, we also must deal with pointy-headed cretins who let their dogs crap everywhere. Don't blame the dog; to a dog, all the world is a toilet. The owners don't clean up after the dog, either. No no no! That would be too much like work.

This leaves booby-traps for the unwary pedestrian. Inevitably, someone steps in it and spreads it about. One even tracked dog poop into the lobby of our block.

I could go on, but I'm sure I've sickened you. In fact, I've managed to turn my own stomach.

I'd better get to the washroom before I bl... blow... bl... hurk!

November 4, 1999

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