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a most significant movement

The husband, kid, and I went down to DC two weekends ago for, literally, a day and a half to help the sister-in-law tie up some loose ends with her recent move. (We also had plenty of whirlwind fun things on the agenda to sorta celebrate our upcoming anniversary.) We needed to deposit her cats with her, take some stuff back to Pittsburgh with us, and grab a few things that required the use of a car. She needed a desk for her computer and had her eye on one at CB2. She explained that a tiny part of her reasoning of buying the desk from there is that she suspected that I had never been to a CB2. She was correct and I was curious to see the inside of one.

We made our way toward Georgetown, and I did a little bracing of my emotions, because any time I’ve been there I get kind of…insecure? anxious? about how many really wealthy people there are in one place. In Pittsburgh, we have concentrations of rich/wealthy people but I can tell that there is something more down-to-earth about them. Maybe it’s the addition of political power that drips from every tasteful storefront in Georgetown? I don’t know. All I know is that I feel tiny and poor when I’m there. But it’s cool, I’m not mad.

Anyway, now that I’ve laid bare my neuroses, I can get to my “point.”

While we were looking for a place to park near the waterfront, we drove past a few homeless people. This is also, sadly, nothing new to me. I see homeless people fairly often, and while it’s always thought-provoking (ie, how did I get here and he/she get there? there but for the grace of God, etc.), it’s not usually jarring. However, this time, something was a little, uh, unusual:

As my eyes moved across the landscape, I slowly began to put together what I was witnessing. A grown man, bent over, hands clasped, meaty bare thigh and buttock-side pressed against the brick wall.

This guy was taking a dump. And I was looking right at him.

He and I locked eyes for a moment and I was the first to look away, because I figured even if the guy was moving his bowels in the middle of a crowded urban area, he still deserved some privacy.

“That was awkward,” I said. “I made eye contact with that guy while he was pooping on the street.”

The husband said that I should have given him one of these:

After we parked, we made our way up to the center of Georgetown. We came upon a long, long line of people. But these weren’t the pooping guy’s contemporaries lining up for possibly the only meal they would get that day. No, these were people lining up to get cupcakes. Famous cupcakes. Cupcakes that are on TV. We continued on to our destination, settling the desk task and whatnot.

But the experience stuck with me. How often in life do you look someone in the eye while they’re pooping? The only other instance that I could think of would be when the baby was an actual baby. In my more sleep-deprived moments, I’m sure I thought, “You’re doing this to me on purpose. Stop pooping! No! No! Not all over the wall!” but of course I knew that that part of his mental and social development just hadn’t fully baked yet. This experience in Georgetown was a chance encounter between a somewhat privileged consumer and someone who, through various events and circumstances, had ended up literally taking a shit on the privileged.

I felt bad for the guy, of course, but also really admired the small statement that he was making. These are nice boot straps…for me to poop on.

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