Outside my home, I have posted a note on a tree on the nature strip.
For a number of weeks now, this strip of council-owned land has been littered with dog poo. An inconsiderate, lazy dog owner—or walker—has been allowing the dog to take a dump right near my front gate. Presumably, the human (I’m having trouble assigning that noun to this type, however) has stood and watched the dog drop its turd, or stared off into the distance until the business is done. Then he or she walks away, with the dog feeling lighter, with the satisfied panting that can only come from an emptied bowel.
At first, I felt disgusted. Not because of the poo, although that in itself is abject. My disgust was more directed towards the owner, bubbles of anger like a near-boiling kettle rose as I hosed the poo into the gutter, ready for the weekly street cleaner to sweep up. After about the fourth load of shit, my disgust turned to outrage. How amazingly singular of this person! How could he or she not be aware of the homes, the lack of off-street parking. I have three children who get in and out of our cars and walk to our front gate. I am constantly on the look out, reminding them to ‘watch for the poo!’ or ‘careful where you step!’ Or perhaps the person was aware of the homes with no driveways and garages and JUST. DIDN’T. CARE.
We came home from a family outing on the weekend. I opened the passenger door to find a fresh dump, right there on the apex of the nature strip and footpath. I lost it. Those bubbles of anger boiled over, like a kettle that’s too full. Steam shot out of my ears and filth spewed from my mouth. I’d had enough.
I stormed inside, grabbed a leaflet of paper. For only a second I thought about what to write. Would I go postal, or keep calm? You might be pleased to see I chose the latter. No point being inflammatory (trying to keep words and actions matching, at least for the sake of my children). My sign is the image for this post, it reads, ‘Please clean up after YOUR DOG!! This footpath is NOT a toilet. Thank you!’
We live in a society. A community. When we start to not give a shit about our communities, by leaving shit, quite literally, in a path most frequently trod, it’s all downhill. To behave continually in this manner shows an alarming lack of respect for others, a common feature in the world today that makes me sad.
In spite of this, I still choose inclusivity, friendliness, kindness and respect. And to end on a positive, since I posted the sign, there have been no fresh loads.
Image: author’s own