If you’re a parent of a child of any age, especially a child who believes they are socially aware and socially responsible, you need to tell them that it is important to pick their battles well.
By that I mean that they are not to fly off the handle and get hysterical at everything they see, because it might not be what they think it is.
A few weeks ago I took my 86 pound German Shepard to the self dog wash. A self dog wash is a place with lots of waist level tubs with lovely ramps so that the dogs can comfortable walk into the tub. Then you can wash your dog without destroying your drains and bathroom at home. The dog wash supplies shampoo, conditioner, brushes, warm water, and towels. There are always a lot of dogs there of every size and shape. It is a regular dog party.
The last time I took my dog in we had a unsavory moment in the parking lot. We couldn’t park in front of the dog wash so we had to park a few feet over in the Trader Joe’s parking lot. As I walked my dog Alice across the parking lot she stopped. I assumed she’d stopped to sniff something, but much to my dismay she was in that uncomfortable squatting position trying to poop.
I pulled her over to a planter where she did her business, then turned to go back to my car to get a bag to clean it up. In the meantime a women (in her 20’s) who saw it all started to go hysterical.
She screamed, and I mean she screamed, “OH MY GOD. OH MY GOD. THAT IS DISGUSTING. PICK IT UP. PICK IT UP. OH MY GOD. PICK IT UP.”
I yelled back that I was on my way back to my car to get a bag. The woman rolled up her window and continues to shriek at me.
By the time I got the bag, picked up the poop, and took it to the garbage can the woman was out of her car and I assume in Trader Joe’s or one of the other stores near there.
So I left a note on her back window explaining that I was on my way to get a bag to pick up the poop. I also used some not so nice descriptive words so she’d know I was talking to her and not somebody else.
I wish I’d also added, “you’re not so fucking woke as you think you are.” But I didn’t. Maybe next time. Besides, I’d already used the F word on the note.
As a parent I know I should not have left the note. I do not recommend my children or their friends leave such notes, but my kids and their friends are better people than I will ever be.
Later I told my extremely socially aware 19-year-old daughter about the incident. She was shocked. Not because my dog pooped in public, or that I left a nasty note on the car of a shrieking banshee.
With the all of her wisdom, for my daughter is one of the wisest people I know, my child said, “If you’re going to get hysterical save it for something that is really important, not dog poop in a planter.”
Yes, I know there are those of you who ask what if ALL of the dogs crapped in the planter?
All of the dogs don’t crap in the planters. The woman acted as if I’d crapped in the planter. She acted if I’d killed my dog in the planter. She acted as if I’d slashed her tires and smeared dog poop all over her car. She acted as if I’d caused Global Warming. She acted as if her entire world had ended.
What she should have done is offered me a bag. Or she could have just minded her own business about my dog’s business. Or she could have told me there were bags inside of Trader Joe’s. Instead she acted like a hysterical fool.
It is ok to react to things you do not like, but before you start going nuts and making assumptions you need to STOP and THINK first.
I swear to God I feel sorry for anyone who dates that woman.
It is also not a good idea to yell at someone with a large dog, especially dogs of certain breeds, because you never know if it is trained to protect it’s owner. My dog is a mild mannered love muffin, but if the woman had been out of her car there would have been growls. If it had been a different dog there could have been more than growls.
Kids have to learn to stop and think. That goes for adults too. That doesn’t just apply to crap in a parking lot. It applies to everything.
If you don’t know what I’m talking about you can ask me, or read many of the dozens of popular advice columns out there (Dear Prudence on slate.com is my favorite.)
My poor dog doesn’t do bad things intentionally. Most dogs don’t. Also, remember that busy people sometimes forget to put poop bags in their purse or pocket. Remember that parent’s leave the house and forget snacks and kids get whiney. Remember that old people are sometimes really slow and that they were once young and slow. Remember that it isn’t worth driving around all day with a nasty note attached to the back of your car because you pissed off a Vampire mom with a large dog.
That’s all. I’m done. Now I’ll get off of my soap box and take my dog for another car ride. With any luck she’ll go before we go.
~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman