The other day, I was walking out of our building at 7:30 a.m., and what to my wondering eyes did appear, neatly bagged in blue plastic, and neatly placed at the foot of our stairs, but a pile o’ dog excrement.
Since no one in our building has a dog, it wasn’t anyone here who carefully placed the bag where they couldn’t miss it, as a reminder to dump the dump when they left for work.
No, it had to be someone who was out walking their pooch, someone who just couldn’t make it the final few steps to the trash receptacle on the corner – which takes all of, say, 10 seconds to accomplish. But someone who is also conscious enough about picking up after their dog that they know that you don’t just leave a mess out there in the middle of the sidewalk.
This was not the case when I first moved to The Hill nearly four decades ago.
Back in those days, the saying was “your feet better have eyes.”
There was no such thing as taking a walk without keeping your eyes on perpetual alert, sweeping the bricks a couple of yards ahead to identify any hazards.
There were even a couple of times when a mess I came across was so spectacularly ill-placed, and so spectacularly messy, that I went ahead and cleaned it up.
But things have improved, and it’s fairly rare to find a “gift” – even when walking across the grassy knoll on The Boston Common.
People aren’t 100% wonderful when it comes to pooper scooping.
Sometimes there’s a big old plot out there just waiting to be squished by someone so absorbed in their iPhone that they aren’t paying attention to where they place their foot.
I have, on occasion, seen a bag of goodness nestled in among the trash bags awaiting pickup. And sometimes the G-Men don’t see those bag-eens, so I end up bagging it in my trash bag.
And once in a while I see evidence that someone has let their pooch poop around a tree.
But mostly people are pretty good about it. So much so that it’s almost up there with the societal transition away from smoking over that same four decade time period.
But then there was the little blue bag on my doorstep…
What, pray tell, is going through someone’s mind when they leave this calling card?
Someone will pick this up and make the supreme effort – an effort just beyond me at this time – to take the 10 seconds to walk to the trash barrel and dispose of it.
Someone will realize that my time is precious, and I just couldn’t afford to expand a nano-second getting rid of this myself.
Someone will recognize my inherent goodness – after all, I did bag the crap – and understand that goodness is sometimes not its own reward. Sometimes goodness needs someone else to walk those last 40 steps to the trash barrel.
Someone will be a dog lover who’ll be happy to participate in the charms of urban dog ownership with me.
Someone won’t mind.
Sorry, bub, but I do mind.
To say that, these days, I’m not in the mood to pick up after you and your dog is the understatement of the century.
Remember Peanuts’ Linus Van Pelt?
Well, Linus had it right!