Opinion » Street Talk

So long, smell you later


I think I might have dented your car this morning. Sorry. When I got out of my truck today, I wasn’t paying attention to where I was, so I opened my door — bam! — right into yours. I didn’t leave a note under your windshield wipers though, because, let’s face it, this little accident was as much your fault as mine, it takes two to argue and all that. Let’s just say we’re even and get back to our lives. Plus, you’re really not going to hold a little thing like that against me when you hear what I’ve been through.

When I got to work on Monday, my keen Shredder senses detected a faint whiff of what I could only describe as “Los Osos� lingering around the entrance to the New Times building where I show up twice a month to pick up my paycheck and make sure nobody responsible for signing that paycheck has died or been fired or both.

“Who did you piss off now, Shredder?�

Bob Rucker is, I guess you’d say, technically one of my “bosses� at the paper, if you’re into that whole giving people labels movement, I’m a Type A, she’s a fox, you’re a moron for parking so close to the line.

Over the weekend, someone had mistaken our building for a public toilet and had left a large, steaming how-do-you-do right in front of the door, then, not content to let sleeping crap lie, proceeded to smear it on the wall as a sort of avant-garde excrement-based piece of public art that not even the SLO Arts Council would approve funding for.

Bob was somehow under the impression that this deviant bowel incident was all my fault, and was not in the best of moods since his early-to-bed, early-to-rise philosophy has made him healthy, wealthy, wise, and, in this case, the one responsible for hosing the stains off before anyone else got to work. Though parts of my weekend itinerary are still a bit hazy, I’m reasonably confident that I didn’t take a dump on anyone’s porch, and if I did, I would have had the decency to leave it in a flaming bag.

So now, everyone at New Times is investigating the mystery of the anonymous crapper, questioning every visitor, thinking about installing hidden cameras in case the squatter decides to return for an encore performance, this time with extra corn.

I have my own theories, and it’s just a matter of time before I catch the perpetrator brown handed, unless he — or she, hmmmm — has cleaned up since then. I’ve been making a list of the usual unusual suspects which so far includes:

A disgruntled photo contest loser? Could be. A Los Osos Community Services District Board member? Wouldn’t put it past some of them. You, in revenge for me denting your car, which hadn’t even happened yet? Sneaky, and just the sort of thing you would do to throw us all off. I’m also not ruling myself out either because, let’s be honest, I can’t account for a large chunk of Saturday night.

I’m also taking a tip from mystery shows on TV and considering the people I’d least expect. That list includes the Pope, Albert Einstein, and Bob Rucker himself, who may have finished wiping then turned around to hose off the building himself, though I won’t explore that theory any more for fear of being fired, or dying, or both in no particular order.

Not to change the subject and divert attention from the fact that I just included my boss in a list of suspected feces-related vandals, but how about that Costco? SLO City Council members apparently couldn’t wait to give everyone’s favorite megastore the big thumbs up to start building next to Home Depot, and so started their latest meeting early. The city took money from the big box, along with a promise that the store would help out with realigning Calle Joaquin to ease traffic jams caused by ecstatic hordes of locals who don’t have to dirty their feet in Santa Maria just to get 40 gallons of mustard at rock-bottom prices anymore.

The whole situation is surrounded by big words like “mitigation� and “vernal pools� and “San Luis Obispo Natural Resource Manager Neil Havlik.� Apparently, some biologists raised a lot of stink about little fairy shrimp that may or may not live in puddles that Unocal left behind when it ripped out its petroleum storage tanks on Tank Farm Road. Before anyone can start mitigating anything that needs any mitigation, though, scientists have to determine whether the shrimp do exist where people say they do. A word of advice I cribbed from “Peter Pan�: Every time you say “I don’t believe in fairy shrimp!� a fairy shrimp somewhere falls down dead. Unless Councilwoman Christine Mulholland leads a team of vernal-pool huggers in a 120-day-long clapping session, the construction folks would have the biggest pile of dead crustaceans since I accidentally microwaved my Sea Monkeys.

A rank steaming pile of which, now that I think of it, would make a nice medium for someone’s next art installation. Not that you heard it from me. ³

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