Waste of Energy

“Listen lady, I’ve got three bags of dog shit in my stroller and I don’t need to justify myself to you!”

I yelled these words today. In public. At the intersection of two streets lined with well-manicured California craftsmans I can’t afford but covet daily. What would provoke me to shout such a thing to a woman walking her runt-ass, twig-legged dog across the street?

 

Hold that thought. 

 

Before I moved to the land of sand, surf and unbelievable gridlock, I lived in and around New York City. And in NYC, if you don’t curb your dog, people will yell at you. Loudly. They will also follow you home, yelling the whole way. When I lived in Nashville and Atlanta I was—to put it kindly—selective about curbing my dogs. But in Brooklyn I was so scared of being berated I’d pick up other dogs’ poop if I thought I might be wrongly accused.

 

One woman yelled at me as I walked my sick dog Monkey to the vet. I don’t know if you’ve ever tried to scoop liquid dog poop out of eight inches of snow, but that experience will probably not make it onto the Danny Bonvissuto highlight reel.

 

Now that I’ve been scared straight, I can’t go back. Just the other day I had brunch with Jude, my friend Ben and two blue bags full of dog poop. I picked them up from the front walkway, set them in the bottom of my stroller on the way to the restaurant, didn’t pass a public trash can along the way and forgot about them. Once I realized they were in plain view of the other brunch patrons—who would most likely frown on someone carrying dog feces into a restaurant—I did what any self-respecting American citizen would do. I moved a tote on top of the bags, kept on chewing my crab cake sandwich and strolled them all the way back home.

 

New entry for my resumé: dog poop chauffeur.

HOW WE (ST)ROLL The pups in position with Judebug front and center and a trail of freeze-dried pineapple pieces behind us.

 

Back to this morning, and the aforementioned shouting. There I was, doing the same stroll I do every morning: Jude in the stroller, Monkey on my left, Shug on my right, earpiece in and my friend Julie on the line, commiserating with me about any number of things. I’m sure I look like a crazy lady. I’m sure people look out their windows at me and think, that slovenly, unshowered woman and her herky-jerky circus are more entertaining than the Showcase Showdown on The Price Is Right. Wait…is she on the phone? Oh that makes it even better.

 

In any case, I rounded a corner, Monkey peed for the 150th time, and we resumed forward progress. Across the street I saw a lady talking and gesturing towards me. I asked Julie to hold on, took the earpiece out of my ear and said, “Yes?”

 

She says, “Aren’t you going to pick that up?”

 

Before I knew it, these words came flying out of my mouth: “Pick what up? She just peed. Listen lady, I’ve got three bags full of dog shit in my stroller right now and I don’t need to justify myself to you.”

 

She mumbled something and turned away.

 

Thank God almighty Julie was on the line, because there’s no telling what else I would have said if no one I cared about was listening. For the next few hours, I imagined many other things I wish I would/should/could have said, including but not limited to:

 

The Scientific Approach: “Unless you can suggest how I might extricate dog urine from the earth, no, I’m not going to pick that up. How about getting your facts straight before you falsely accuse strangers on the street?”

 

Proof in the Pudding: “Hey buddy, did you see actual shit come out of my dog’s ass? And if so, where is that shit? I’ll tell you what: You come over here and show me where her shit is and I will gladly eat it right here in front of you.”

 

Best of Brooklyn: “Go fuck yourself.”

 

These are the scenarios that run through my head while I’m giving my sweet, innocent son his milk and rocking him on our big blue chair. I think these things, then I pray, please God, please don’t let my son have the same poisoned, cruel, rage-prone mind as his mother. Let him be a sweet soul who always gives people the benefit of the doubt. Someone who conducts himself with grace and forgiveness no matter what the situation. And, God, while you’re at it, could you do something about that woman with the dog from 20 minutes ago? ‘Cause she was a total asshole.

 

Comments

  1. Another reason why you should have stayed in Nashville. We aren’t there yet. We are still to polite to say anything out loud to anybody, we just proceed with quiet indignation, knowing that we are far superior to those non-scoopers!

  2. Katherine says:

    I like “the Brooklyn” best of the three, although I’d probably chicken out with “the Atlanta” IRL: Slow head turn, glazed stare, pretend-hearing problem, keep moving.
    PS, I’m surprised you didn’t get pulled over by the poop police when you lived here. I’ve been chided for having to borrow a second bag from someone. Lay off, people!

  3. Susan Harbin says:

    I just want to go “Earth Mother” on them… Do you not have any respect for nature? This is how my lawn looks so much better than yours- fertilizer! Wait til it rains, and you’ll never know..Recycling is the name of the game..Better than plastic bags and dog poop in the landfills! LOL
    Loved this, and with 2 dogs myself, appreciated it!

  4. I really like your approach, a nice mix of superiority and anger. I’ve had the exact same experience in london a couple of times and i usually respond with a combo, first scientific approach then finish it off with a brooklyn. There is really nothing more satisfying then telling someone to go fuck themselves.

  5. Just laughed out loud and made Jared read it.

  6. I’m so pleased to have made the highlight reel!!

  7. You are batting a 1000 for me, I laughed out loud and loved it!!

  8. God I love this. I bet that lady never dared to question anyone’s dog poop removal again. Crazy bitch.

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