I'm told that there are places Google Earth can't reach, or won't. I find that comforting. I live in fly-over country, in one of those countless patches of iddy-bitty dwellings a few dozen travelers spot when they glance out of the windows of a jet on a clear day over the Plains. The only tourists here are relatives, and I've got to drive at least an hour to get a decent bagel. But I'm not complaining.
Take this guy. Chances are he scouted the area, chose his location meticulously. Good night, he's even adjacent to a dumpster. He probably knows very well that if he pees in the public square the way he is, he could be written up for some kind of salacious marketing; and all he wants to do--shoot, all he needs to do--is empty his clattering bladder. Look for yourself--he's trying to be circumspect, and what happens is he gets his mug all over the internet because Google caught him zipping--well, unzipping. It ain't fair.
Besides, what's a man to do? I was in the trees, along the river, Saturday morning, watching the dawn, when the urge came up like a migraine. Twenty years ago, out with an old friend, he excused himself, then reached for some kind of Tupperware gadget he had along in his briefcase and tinkled noisily right there in my car. I'm not kidding. He was in a wheelchair and thusly excused, but that was the first time I noted an unbecoming problem associated with aging. My father had it, and does just about every old geezer I know. Bladders get precarious and tip altogether too easily.
There's nothing criminal about what he's doing, really. And the fact is, I was at least fifteen minutes from the nearest convenience mart. It wasn't that early--7:30, I suppose--but not for a moment did I entertain the notion of knocking on some farmer's door and asking to use the porcelain.
Out in the woods, a man is a boy at heart. If Thoreau didn't write that, he should have. Besides, he did joke about watering all the berries around Walden Pond, a line I've always read as shadowy confession. If he built an outhouse out there, he never said a word, and I know Kohler wasn't making toilets for another several decades.
Anyway, confession is good for the soul, and my excuse for running this great picture is that I can't help but feel sorry for the shlep. Good night, he gets blindsided by his bladder's faulty siren and there's nothing he can do but find a corner.
And then there's Google Earth. That's exactly the horror Orwell had in mind in 1984. That's dystopia all right, the evil eye of Big Brother.