Whenever I feel frustrated by something here in France (usually an administrative process or a surly shopgirl) I try to remind myself that it’s neither better nor worse than the American system, simply different. It really irks me when foreigners in France go on and on about how things are so much better where they’re from. If it’s really so much better there, go home!
Americans are particularly bad about this, and I refuse to have anything other than the color of my passport in common with my countrymen who go to Paris seemingly just to complain at the top of their lungs—with one exception.
There is one little thing that makes Americans hands down, no competition, culturally superior to the French: dog poo. We pick up after our pups.
The way I see it, one picks up after one’s dog for two reasons:
1. Poop is disgusting so our streets should not be full of it.
2. Poop is disgusting so our streets should not be full of it because then we accidentally step in it. Shit!
Walking around Angers, I see at least one pile o’ poo every two blocks. More often than not, they’re smushed with a human’s shoeprint, the following meter of sidewalk smeared with the attempts to remove it from said shoe. (I haven’t stepped in any yet myself, but the way my life my life is going lately, I’m expecting it to happen the first day I wear sandals this spring.)
Now, I’m sure there are French people who do clean up after their canine companions, just as there are disgusting selfish Americans who don’t. But having observed the general attitude around here, I can draw no conclusion other than that Angevines fancy themselves too good to pick up <i>merde</i>.
Really, this is something I have in common with them. It doesn’t bother me to change the diapers of human children, but there’s something so very undignified about bending over to clean up after a lesser species’ bowel movements as to be insulting. I plan to adopt a greyhound someday, though, and because I am a member of a civilized society, I realize that a big part of what I’m signing up for is poo pickup. (Or maybe having human children to make them pick it up.)
I’d like to gather the local dog owners and ask them: doesn’t it bother you that the sidewalks here are smeared with poo? Don’t you realize that you could stop being part of the problem and be part of the solution?
Or, I could just go back to America, where there are fines for that shit.