I was sitting atop a cement traffic pylon near a busy intersection here in Taipei. It was just before class and I was smoking one of my mini-cigars before going in to teach. I had my umbrella leaning against the pylon--not a very good umbrella, the handle kept coming off and I needed to get a new one when I had the chance.
A well-dressed 60-something woman came by with her little caramel-colored dog on a pink leash. The dog was sniffing the base of the pylon and I was thinking: “This obasan is NOT going to let her dog piss on the pylon while I’m sitting on it.”
I was wrong of course. The dog started pissing, and the stream of piss was just missing my umbrella. I didn’t look at the woman, but kept my eye on the dog to let her know I saw how rude she was being.
And the dog, no more than a foot tall, just kept up its pissing. The piss flowed voluminously, almost amazing for such a small dog, until a broad puddle had formed just under me.
Then the woman went her way.
As I stood up to go, not a minute later, my leg hit the umbrella and it fell flat into the puddle. Oh, well. I decided just to leave it there.
I crossed the street and went into a little bakery to get something small to eat. I hadn’t had time for dinner. As I came out, there was the woman circling back with her dog. She looked at my umbrella lying in the piss, then looked round her a few times to see if I was still nearby, then reached down carefully to pick up the umbrella. She’d decided to take it!
Pulling a few sheets of tissue from her high-end, oversized purse, she began to wipe the piss off the umbrella. I watched her from the shade of the awning across the street. When she was done wiping off the piss, she continued on her way, heading home with her dog and my umbrella.
But she carried the umbrella by its handle. And the handle came off in her hand, the umbrella itself dropping to the ground.
Surprised, she glanced round her again, to see if anyone was watching, then looked down at the umbrella at her feet. Finally, in a gesture of frustration, she tossed the handle down next to it. She continued walking home.