Yup, got a little bit of hate stirring in my heart today. I know, I know, hate is such a strong word. I’ve really tried to come up with another way of phrasing it, but hate is going to have to do it, despite the very cute use of “mega-loathe” on Scrubs last night.
The other night I was putting Avery to bed, this ritual is spiritual for me, so sweet is the time and peaceful her room. A serendipitous selection of mossy green wall color seamlessly blurs with the panorama of lush, storybook leaves on the tree outside her windows. Ethereal butterflies on gossamer strands, flutter whimsically over her crib, their gingham and calico wings like quilts from my own childhood dancing on the line. Before I tuck her in, we stand bathed in moonlight by her window, the street dark but for a pool of light from the street lamp, I watch. Standing in her magical room, her body cool and relaxed in my arms I feel at peace. We have given her the best. Unabashed adoration from her parents, a wonderful, if at times challenging, home, an impish sister asleep in the room next door, devoted dog panting contentedly in the hallway and a dreaming tree outside her room.
The other night a figure came into the light on the corner. A woman walking her German shepherd. I smiled. Our neighborhood is filled with strollers, toddlers and dogs. Most afternoons we can entertain ourselves by watching the parade of passers-by, calling out “hello”s and “sweet dog”s. They were moving slowly, a lazy walk on a hot night. I felt so blessed to be living in our house, standing in this window, holding my sweet girl as she drifted off to sleep. Then the woman looked up, I momentarily worried that I might have spoiled her walk, an unwelcome witness to her moonlit stroll. I started to step away, but realized she had not seen me. I watched her take her left hand and place it on her back pocket. What was she doing?
The dog turned, his tail illuminated by the street lamp, bushy and wild, was curled up toward his back. She looked up once more and then down. Her hand moved away from her back pocket. The dog proceeded to drop a German shepherd sized pile of steaming shit in front of our house. The telephone pole that our cat uses to scratch, the patch of grass Briar picks dandelions from, now soiled, smeared as it was with the waste. The woman did not give a second glance as she walked away, an unused grocery bag silently mocking me as she sashayed down the road.
I cannot forgive this act of leaving their mess in a yard she has passed as my children have played. She has greeted us, talked to our dog, smiled at the girls frolicking out front. She knows this yard and its purpose. She took a walk, carrying with her a bag for the express purpose of cleaning up after her dog, and then, when presented with the opportunity to slink into the night without dealing with her dog’s mess she took it. She paused to check if we were about, if one of us might witness this cowardly act of laziness.
I have been consumed by my fury over this woman’s nerve. Each jangle of a chain outside, each bark from our dog sends me dashing out front. Part of me wants a confrontation, wants to tell her she is not welcome. I want to ask her if she thinks my children should have to bear the consequences of her inaction, but it’s never her. She has not been back. I have fantasized about returning the mess, just scooping it up and walking to her house with it.
Knock knock knock.
“Here’s your bag.”
“Well, it’s not actually your bag, the bag is mine.”
“I don’t understand.”
“This bag is for you. The shit inside? All yours, or rather your dog’s.”
“What are you talking about?”
“The other night you walked past my house, I watched from the window.”
“Well, I, I…”
“Your dog defecated in my yard, the yard where my two young children play.”
“Oh, I didn’t have a bag, I was coming back…”
“It was so dark. I was, um, just waiting for- “
“You were nothing, you just didn’t want to deal with the shit.”
It would be awkward. Damaging. Not at all satisfying after the walk back to my house. We seriously live 7 houses away from each other. I deal with shit of the literal and figurative varieties every day. It’s just a little more, right? Apparently not, because I just can’t figure out how to not hate what she did every time I am presented with more shit.