I HAD A DOORMAN at my apartment building in Caballito who loved bleach. Absolutely loved bleach. We lived there – it’s a neighborhood in the center of Buenos Aires – for three years before moving to the beach in Pinamar. Every morning the doorman would come downstairs to clean the sidewalk and the entrance hall. The first thing he did was to sniff around the sidewalk and the walls and pillars of the building.
“You get one pissing and you’ll get every damn dog in the city pissing on your walls!”
That’s what he told me.
He had a nose for dog urine. He knew before he even opened the front door. Out he stepped with his bleach and his face would scrunch up and his nostrils would do a survey until viola! There it is! A fresh urine mark on the white pillar. He’d attack with the bleach. The sidewalk? The driveway? All of it would get bleached. I’d watch and he’d hold up the bleach to me like a man with his bottle of whiskey. Then he’d scrub and hose everything down and if need be he’d do a second run to annihilate any remains of urine.
“If one cocks its legs, another will!”
I nodded in agreement. He must know. He’s in the business. But, I thought, wouldn’t something greener work just as well as bleach? Think of the rivers. Think of the water table and the environment. What about white vinegar? And pepper? Use something greener, save the planet, cut down on chemicals and find something natural to keep the dogs from squirting your walls.
“No, son. Bleach is the way. You’ve got to stop them. If one does it, a hundred will follow.”
I hadn’t thought about the bleach and dog urine for a while. It’s true that walls can reek in my new neighborhood of Colegiales. They can anywhere that owners let their dogs go willy nilly marking their territory. But it wasn’t ever on my house.
Not until today.
Then I spotted the mark running down my green garage door. It stank strong and heavy. Crap, I thought. Then before I knew it there was another mark, and another. It was a heyday. “Come on guys,” the dogs were barking down the street. “We’ve got a new spot. Step right up and cock your legs and let it spray!”
The filthy bastards, the filthy owners.
I thought of the doorman. So without contemplating a more environmentally friendly alternative I went straight for the bleach. I poured an unhealthy portion into a bucket of water and poured it down the garage door. Be gone stench, be gone mark. Let no dog wee here ever again. Or next time it will be 100 gallons of hydrochloric acid to dissolve any trace of urine and any trace of the damn garage door and any four-legged vermin caught doing his thing. They’ll be dissolved without a trace.