Objection!

Given the choice, i would not collect turds in a plastic bag.  But i do this twice a day. i own a dog, and live in an area with shared green space.  There is no choice.

It came as quite a shock last week to receive a letter from Ms. Butkus, the managing agent for my condominium association, stating that a written complaint had been received regarding my diligence in turd recovery.  After a brief phone call to Ms. Butkus, i learned that my dog was also accused of shitting in the street.  Furthermore, the letter stated that the offended neighbor collected the street turds on my behalf, and was further offended when i refused to accept them.

Looking back, i had almost predicted this scenario back in 2009 as Mr. Pickles and i got settled into our new home.  Needless to say, i was somewhere between royally pissed off and amused when the shit hit the mailbox last week.  Ms. Butkus recommended that i provide a written rebuttal.  i was delighted to comply.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Dear Ms. Butkus,

On September 18th, I received your letter regarding an alleged violation of the God’s Waiting Room Condominium Association (GWRCA) rules.  In that letter, you stated the following:

It has been reported that you do not always leash your dog and are not picking up after it. Please note the association rules state that dogs must be on a leash and the owner must immediately clean up after it.  Thank you for your attention to this.

During our conversation today, you provided additional detail regarding an alleged incident on August 4, 2013. I am writing to formally refute this allegation.  Not only was my dog not running loose that day, I did not participate in a rude exchange with a neighbor regarding a bag of feces.  I wish to enter the following four items into the official record:

1) My dog, Mr. Pickles, has a mental deficit.  At my previous residence, he learned to tunnel under the fence in the yard.  While in the streets he demonstrated no concern for his own safety.  As this was a significant hazard for an impaired animal without “street smarts”, I have ALWAYS kept him leashed since joining the God’s Waiting Room community in August, 2008.  Whether it is for a longer walk, or a brief ‘mercy break’ late in the evening, I consider it unsafe to allow him outside under any circumstances without a leash.  If accused of allowing my dog to roam unleashed, perhaps the complainant should provide a description of the free-range dog in question.

2) I walk Mr. Pickles twice each day (7:30 am and 4:30 pm).  I immediately collect his feces in plastic bags, as required by the GWRCA regulations.  The bags are knotted, and stowed in a sanitary trash bin in my garage, until Sunday night when the trash bin is emptied, and these bags are placed in the dumpster and taken to the curb.  On Sunday evenings, there are at least 14 such bags in my trash bin.  If there is a need to provide proof that I am diligently cleaning up his feces, I would be delighted to allow any concerned neighbors to view the weekly collection.  It is quite impressive.

3) On our walks, I see dog droppings along the street – Mr. Pickles is rather adept at finding them for me!  He is a Chocolate Lab, weighing approximately 90 pounds.  His feces scale accordingly.  The roadside feces piles we find are quite small.  Although I am not a zoologist, veterinarian or trained professional, I suspect that the dogs that leave these are substantially smaller than my dog.

4) As further indication of Mr. Pickles’ mental deficit, he has the habit of walking in a counter-clockwise spiral as he evacuates his digestive tract.  This results in a unique fecal signature.  Rather than resort to more elaborate means of testing, such as the “DNA PooPrint” recently in the news, it would be quite simple for a concerned neighbor to capture photographic evidence of my alleged disregard for GWRCA regulations.

I enjoy living in God’s Waiting Room, and try to be a good neighbor.  I am insulted and disturbed that another resident has indicted my behavior without due diligence, thus bringing my integrity into question.

In the United States, a citizen is innocent until proven guilty.  This must certainly hold true for the residents of God’s Waiting Room – yet anyone can report a neighbor for the mere suspicion of performing unauthorized landscaping, harboring illegal tenants, running a brothel, or operating a meth lab without documentation?   I respectfully request that if there are additional reports that I have violated GWRCA regulations, the individual reporting said violation should be required to provide some form of proof – as a minimum, a description of my dog.  In the age of ubiquitous cell phone cameras, even a clandestine photo of the alleged violation wouldn’t be unreasonable.

Thank you for allowing the opportunity to refute these accusations.  At no time on August 4, 2013 did my dog run in the street.  At no time on August 4, 2013 did my dog defecate in the street.  At no time on August 4 , 2013 did I refuse to accept a bag of dog feces offered to me by a neighbor.  In closing, I paraphrase the words of the late Johnny Cochran, Esq.  “If the poo doesn’t fit, you must acquit.” 

Respectfully,

Daisyfae Harper

Objection

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$5, 5 Years, and 5,000 Miles

Lavender tassels graced the handlebars of my ancient Trek hybrid bicycle for the last five years.  Studley picked them up on a whim, and presented them to me as part of a birthday present, thinking they would be a fine addition to my goofy-assed ride.

And they were perfect.  A reminder that it is dangerous to take oneself too seriously.  For me, and those i have encountered as i become increasingly visible as a cycling advocate in my little corner of Earth.

Conversation starters at monthly community rides, those cheap plastic streamers were my small means of making bicycling accessible to those who were intimidated by the spandex-clad racing crowd.

My constant cycling companions, the little purple streamers would sometimes wrap around my wrists when we’d encounter a tough headwind.  Caressing me, as if to say “There, there, darlin’… Every little thing, gonna be alright!”

me and my tassels

We had just finished a tasty breakfast at a favorite summer haunt, and were returning to the bike rack when i noticed something wrong.

daisyfae:  What the fuck?  Do you see it?

Studley:  What?

daisyfae:  Do you see it?  My bike?  DO YOU SEE IT?

Studley:  Yeah.  What?  The tassels…. SHIT!

daisyfae:  They’re gone!  Someone took them… SOMEONE STOLE MY TASSELS!

fuck you

Gone.  In the hour that it took for us to grab lunch, someone passing apparently decided that the tassels no longer belonged on my bicycle, and removed them.  Five dollars worth of plastic that simply could not be ignored.  Not the bike computer.  Not my crazy frame-based lighting peripherals. Not the tool kit in the trunk. My god damned tassels.

Over the course of the past five years, and five thousand miles, i have left that bike all over this fair city.  Chained to bike racks, in “bad” neighborhoods.  Attached to the car late at night.  The tassels have been ignored.  Until this day…

Seeing my de-tasseled bicycle, i was over-powered by a disproportionate degree of rage.  Who would do this?  Why would someone do this?  Would the thief love the tassels, or simply play with them for a moment and discard them?

Hitting the trail and heading home, i was overcome by tears and anger.  i gave into the beast and hammered the ride home…

Studley:  I know you’re pissed — go on, i’ll catch up at some point.  Besides, I’ve got the keys to the car!  You’ll have to wait!

daisyfae:  EEEEEEE-AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!

Eventually i succumbed to the heat and exhaustion and slowed down.  Still angry, bewildered, and in no small way heartbroken.  Caught myself looking along the path for a glimpse of my beloved flair – possibly toyed with and discarded.

Allowing myself to be consumed by anger only for the ride home, i had decided that there would be new tassels.  i made plans for a stop at the discount store on my way out for the evening.

Howling with indignation as we completed the ride…

You can steal my tassels, but you shall NOT quench my whimsy, you thieving motherfucker!