That I go
They have too much and then
One night on my way home, I saw an elderly couple walking a cute, furry Chow Chow. Then I noticed that the cute Chow Chow was dropping a deuce right on the sidewalk. Like any good dog owners, the couple waited patiently for Chow Chow to finish his necessary business. Like any bad neighbor taking no personal responsibility for neighborhood upkeep, the woman used a plastic bag to pick up the doo-doo and chucked the bag and all off to the side.
|This is a cute Chow Chow, but not The Cute Chow Chow|
I stopped and deliberated for about two seconds. Is it my place to correct an older couple? I decided, yes it was. Toting around a curious toddler has made me particularly sensitive to seeing people letting their children and dogs use public areas as latrines. Also, people tell me all the time what to do. Don’t give your kid ice cream because it’s bad for her stomach. She needs to wear more clothes or socks. Since your baby goes to bed so early, you should teach English at night and make more money. Shave her head so her hair grows faster. The list seems endless.
Don’t I too have a voice? Don’t I too have the right to tell people what to do? I’ve no qualms about telling people to not smoke in restaurants and to wait in line. Is this situation much different? Isn’t public health at stake here?
My blood boiling, I flipped around and said rather loudly, “Disgusting! You can’t do that!"
The old man cocked his head toward me, a cigarette pinched between two fingers and his scraggly eyebrows furled. He was clearly dumbfounded. Well, of course, more explanation was needed. The idea that tossing dog poop and trash around was wrong probably never occurred to him. Meanwhile his wife and Chow Chow had continued their jaunt down the street, leaving the man alone to deal with the crazy foreigner.
“You can’t leave dog poop there. Children walk around here. They might touch it. That’s disgusting!"
So I continued making my case, “There’s a garbage can right over there.” Literally, about five steps away was a garbage can. “It’s really no added inconvenience to you to throw the dog poop away.” (Just so you know, my Chinese does not sound so well-spoken as this translation into English.)
He looked at the grassy area, mulling over a response. Ah! He had it. He raised his hands as though encompassing the expanse and said, “Oh, but this whole area is a garbage can.”
Oh no he didn’t! This is our neighborhood. This area, even though not beauteous, is where literally thousands of our neighbors--babies and groceries in tow-- pass through every day. Our neighborhood! Isn’t this communist China? Communist as in community? Don’t we--as a community--all share a piece of responsibility for public health? And does this man think we all want to deal with his Chow Chow’s excrement because he is too lazy to take five steps to the nearest garbage can? Does he think we all want to live in a garbage dump?
Exasperated, I heaved, “Do you like your place (as in location)?” I admit, this sentence really showed my lack of Chinese fluency. I wanted to say, “Don’t you care about your neighborhood that you live in?”
Despite my awkward Chinese, the elderly man got the point. He chuckled, “You are right.”
I shifted my weight and crossed my arms. I wasn’t leaving until I witnessed proper poo disposal. The elderly man leaned over into the grassy area, extracted his Chow Chow’s filth, walked five stops to the nearest garbage can and chucked it.
Satisfied with the poo disposal, I emphatically shook my head uttering out loud, “Disgusting!” as I walked away.
So what did I accomplish? At least one additional poop was properly disposed. Perhaps, just perhaps, the elderly couple will think twice before leaving their Chow Chow's doo-doo in public places.
Unfortunately, even if this one couple forever change their ways, their change is like emptying the ocean one bucket of water at a time. There are about 20 million other people that need sanitation reformation. I can't tell you how many times I've watched children and dogs pee and go #2 in the same vicinity as crawling babies and playing children. I haven't mustered up the courage to tell a grandma to have her baby pee in a bush instead of on the floor two feet from where Dumpling is playing.
But I might soon enough.
Chinese Word of the Blog: 恶心了! Ěxīnle (literally, evil heart)
English Translation: Disgusting!
|Where the offense happened. Does this look like a garbage dump?|
|Where the children play and pee.|