People who know me well know I’m a stickler for the rules. No, not THOSE rules, but rather the rules, written and unwritten, that make our society run as a well-oiled, polite machine. It’s why I’ve never had a speeding ticket, and why I get so annoyed at people that sit behind in me in the theatre and insist on talking through a whole movie, and also why, ever since it became illegal to talk on a cellphone in the car without using a hands-free device and I discovered I don’t have a hands-free device, I tend to shriek into the phone “TALK FAST I’M AT A STOPLIGHT YOU HAVE 10 SECONDS WHAT DO YOU WANT?” and then after 10 seconds of confused silence I yell, “TIME’S UP LIGHT’S GREEN THANKS FOR CALLING!” and hurl the phone down onto the passenger seat.
Yesterday, while walking the dog, she did something that I think most dogs tend to do on a walk, something that she insists on doing even if she spent 30 minutes in the backyard before we left the house, and something that we shall call, for the purposes of maintaining a certain level of decency on this blog, “leaving a present behind”. She usually leaves her present on someone’s lawn, and I begrudgingly scoop it up into one of the plastic bags in the holder that conveniently attaches to her leash, and we carry on our merry way. Yesterday, however, the unthinkable happened. I discovered the little holder was completely out of little bags, which would have been problem enough on its own, except she left her present smack dab in the middle of the sidewalk, about 10 minutes before the two local schools let out and the sidewalks would be flooded with kids and parents who would have to walk AROUND the present or, worse still, STEP IN the present, and then think very uncharitable thoughts about the sort of person that does not, as the bylaw signs instruct, stoop and scoop.
OH MY GOSH, the JUDGING, real or imagined, that I assumed would be happening, so much judging that I just couldn’t handle, and it inspired in me a very serious panic that caused me to search my pockets (which contained only a receipt and a thing of lip gloss, both of which were of little use to me in this particular emergency) and then scan the houses around me for a wayward bag (of which, of course, there were none) and then finally take off with the dog at a very fast pace in the direction of our house.
About half a block from The Scene of the Crime, I passed a woman with a stroller and considered for a moment warning her about the present (“So, um, my dog left a present on the sidewalk about half a block away in the direction you’re heading, watch out, but don’t worry, I’M COMING BACK TO CLEAN IT UP I JUST FORGOT A BAG HA HA HA WHY ARE YOU LOOKING AT ME LIKE THAT?”) and ultimately decided not to, but then spent the rest of the 10 minute walk home wishing I HAD, what if she stepped in it? What if she knew it was me? OF COURSE she’d know it was me, Daisy was the only dog around for miles, oh this is just AWFUL.
In the end, we raced home at a speed I can usually only reproduce when we finally find a rest stop after being stuck in the car with several bottles of water for 5 hours, I threw the dog in the house, grabbed a bag, hopped in the car, drove around the block, parked the car, and wandered up and down the street until I found what I was looking for, picked up the present, hopped back in the car, drove home, and spent more than a few minutes wondering whether it’s worse to be That Person Who Doesn’t Pick Up After Her Dog, I Mean Seriously, Who DOES That? or, you know, That Person Who Went A Little Crazy And Actually Returned In Her Car To The Scene Of The Crime For The Sole Purpose Of Picking Up After Her Dog. I think probably, as with most things, there’s a happy medium in there somewhere but, like most happy mediums, it will probably continue to elude me.