Friday, January 24, 2014

Poo In Paradiseland

Unwrapped urban gifts.

I think I've learned it by now, but who can be sure, really, when sidewalk-level poop is involved?

Learned what?

Well, for example, to watch where I put my feet.

Sounds simple, right? It is, really, it really is. But remembering to watch is harder. The remembering-to-watch part tends to escape and run off into fields of frequent daydreams. Or, in case you want to remain alive, it yields a close eye to traffic.

Poop disgusts but traffic kills. So maybe from time to time you end up with poo on your shoe, but you get home alive, which counts for something. Counts for a lot in my book.

And, truth be told, it isn't sidewalk-level poop that I'm usually watching for anyway — it's structural hazards. I don't know how to say it better, so, for example, what I mean is broken pavement, cracks, lumps, unexpected dropoffs, surprise up-steps — all that.

Watching for stumble bummers keeps a person alert. Alert enough to avoid incidental low-level embarrassments like poo. I've stepped off too many sudden drops to let my guard down now. Poo sightings have become ordinary, unsurprising, and expected, and they happen all day. Background noise. Because I've gotten enough hard knocks from local pavements not to trust them any farther than I can kick them.

Pigeons are probably the worst.

Where there is a shop, the owner usually cleans the store floor daily, sweeping small tidal waves of water out onto the walk, and then scrubbing that, and then sweeping the excess away. Where there isn't a working shop the walkway may be cleaned only by rainfall and shuffling pedestrian feet. Seldom to never in any real sense, which is where pigeon poo finds its longest-term residence.

Dog (and human) droppings come and go daily. A lot gets swept into the street. Some gets mooshed flat and smeared, and eventually all of it dries and powders and becomes invisible.

Yes, human droppings. It's all poop in the end. Poop you probably don't want to become intimate with.

The main point is that poo is ever-present and omni-present, even if powdered and invisible. Which is why I don't wear shoes inside — street shoes come off and stay in the demilitarized zone of my entryway. Inside, closer to me, in my actual residence, the floor is swept, scrubbed, and clean.

Which is better, by my lights, than taking street poo to bed on the soles of my feet. Don't you think?


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