Step AWAY from the bin
You know you’re turning into a curmudgeon when you can’t decide whether to write about dog poop or leaf blowers.
The anti-leaf blower lobby is already gaining traction in the Letters section of the Light. Personally, I’m fine with whatever construction noise, leaf blowing and tree trimmer chain sawing goes on during the week, but on the weekends, I’d love to give all of those guys mandatory time off. Fire up that leaf blower on a Sunday morning while people are outside reading the paper and the Noise Police would come and stuff you into a metal trash can which the neighbors could pound on with aluminum rakes until you promised never to do it again.
Ah, I feel better already.
OK, now that we’ve covered that, let’s whine about dog poop. Now, we don’t technically own a dog, although we seem to be habitually harboring our grand dog, Winston the Wonder Dog. We genuinely love dogs, and in particular, the perpetually-recalcitrant Winston.
But if you opened our trash can on any given day, you’d think we were running a kennel for digestively-distressed canines. This is because our city-mandated-and-dispensed black trash receptacle lives at the far end of our driveway nestled next to our house, its unfortunate accessibility making it the neighborhood poop dump of choice. In the pre-city-dispensed receptacle days, our trash cans lived safely inside our back gate away from excretory-abandoning miscreants. But the required new bins are too big for that space.
I do not exaggerate when I say that opening the lid of a trash bin with a week’s worth of neighborhood pooch poop is a veritable biohazard, a fetid feculence, a mephitic miasma, a noisome nose full. It could drop a goat from 10 yards.
Our neighborhood is truly Dog Central. You can’t go five minutes without seeing someone walking a dog. I can understand that dog owners don’t want to walk for a half hour clutching a bag of steamy effluvium. But so plentiful is the canine population in our area that there are a number of strategically-located dog poop bag dispensing stations which include a convenient bin to deposit their odiferously-amplified contents. I often see two guys driving up in their city truck to empty these bins and replenish the bag supply. I’m not sure what they pay them. But given our own experience, I’m guessing it’s not enough.
Despite the city’s uncharacteristic prescience in providing these bins, we would hear the lid of our trash can opening and closing all day long and the gentle thud of bags of leaden dog leavings hitting the bottom. So we decide to importune the offenders with a polite entreaty on the top: “Please — No dog poop in the trash bin!”
Like that worked.
I was telling my friend Lorraine about this and she said, “Well, geesh, Inga. You totally DARED the dog people with that sign. I’m surprised they haven’t tweeted your address!” I probably agree that people who leave jars of water on their grass (which are supposed to, but don’t actually, keep animal ordure off your lawn) or who post curt “Curb your dog!” signs positively beg dog owners to do the opposite. After their dog dumps on your sidewalk, a photo of the offending egesta is probably posted on their Facebook page within minutes.
But as I explained to Lorraine, in our case, the sign (written on about half of an 8x11 piece of paper) is discreetly taped to the top of the can. You have to actually walk up to the trash bin at the end of our driveway to see it and then you can’t miss it. I agree that if it were on the side of the bin and visible from the street, I would be declaring open season on myself. (“Let’s fill @trashcan with #dogpoop LOL!”)
Interestingly, a neighborhood friend said that when the sanitation truck missed her trash one week and the receptacle sat on the street for four days, it acquired at least two dozen bags of puppy putrescence. Puzzling, she said, since there was a city doo-disposal bin exactly 16 feet away.
Despite the sign, I still hear the lid of my trash can being raised during the day, but more quietly now, and I will have to say, much less often than before. I confess that I sometimes entertain delicious fantasies of rigging it in some excretorially vengeful way. But forget to disarm it even once and the garbage men would never pick up our trash again.
No, I think the real solution lies in wheeling our bin to the middle of our front yard and letting the ever-unpredictable Winston chase the baggers around the front yard doing his crazed pit bull imitation. On one of those laps, they’d see that the sign on the top now read “Make My Day.”
* Look for La Jolla resident Inga’s lighthearted looks at life in The La Jolla Light. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org