I’ve traveled a lot – to 40 states and a dozen countries, to be exact – and in all that traveling, I’ve met lots of people. Lots and lots of people. Some of those people are nut jobs. I’m always telling my boring friends who stay at home stories about the nutty, nutty people I’ve met in my many travels. Then it occurred to me, when I was driving home from yoga class, that I should really be telling these stories to all of you! They’re probably wasted on my boring friends who no doubt see them as proof that they should never, ever go anywhere, ever. So for the first installment in my ongoing blog series, Wacky People I’ve Met, I’m going to tell you guys about the Tide Bottle Pee Man.
I met the Tide Bottle Pee Man in California in 2004. Can you guess where I met the Tide Bottle Pee Man? I’m sure none of you will be surprised to learn that it was Venice Beach.
To be honest, Tide Bottle Pee Man wasn’t the strangest person at Venice Beach, and he wasn’t even the strangest person I’ve ever met. I know lots of people even now who are probably crazier than Tide Bottle Pee Man. But Tide Bottle Pee Man sticks out in my memory because he peed in a Tide bottle.
Some background: I was traveling with my hippie boyfriend, the Redheaded Guitar Player (not to be confused with the Redheaded Banjo Player, a different hippie boyfriend who may or may not appear later on in the series), and when we met the Tide Bottle Pee Man, he was living out of a van on Venice Beach. I mean, he was basically doing the same thing we were doing, but with a much nicer van. The Redheaded Guitar Player’s van was a 1972 Dodge Something-or-Other held together with bubblegum, dreadlocks and duct tape. The Tide Bottle Pee Man’s van was a much newer model, and while it wasn’t as big or as well-appointed as the Redheaded Guitar Player’s, it had one thing the Redheaded Guitar Player’s van did not – a Tide bottle full of pee.
The Tide Bottle Pee Man was a totally normal-looking dude. His hair was a little long, but he cut it that way on purpose. He was clean shaven and wore normal clothes. If you’d met him in a bar or coffee shop or something you’d have never guessed that he lived in a van and peed in a Tide bottle. The only way we know was on account of him standing next to said van, pointing out said Tide bottle, and saying, “I live in this van and pee in this Tide bottle.”
“Why?” asked the Redheaded Guitar Player, who was just as baffled as I was.
“Well, because I see it, and I think, clean, you know?”
The Redheaded Guitar Player and I looked at each other. Neither one of us wanted to ask why he didn’t just pee outside, although we totally had that exact conversation the minute we were out of Tide Bottle Pee Man’s earshot. For the record, neither of us had any good ideas about why Tide Bottle Pee Man peed in a Tide bottle.
I guess he was concerned about his privacy, but I’m a woman, and I’d bare my snow-white ass and pee outside before keeping a bottle of urine in my van. It’s even easier for men to pee outside. I know this because they never shut up about it.
Tide Bottle Pee Man was lonely, too. “Yeah, you know, I just wanted to get this van, and enjoy this lifestyle, you know, man,” he said. “I had a girlfriend, but she didn’t want to live in the van with me. I don’t know why.”
“Women, man,” said the Redheaded Guitar Player, in solidarity. I didn’t say anything, but the Tide Bottle Pee Man looked wistfully out to sea like he really didn’t know why his ex-girlfriend didn’t want to live in a tiny van with a guy who pees in a Tide bottle. I just can't stop picturing her trying to wash their clothes.