Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Deputize me!

Yesterday the sun was shining in Paris. It had been a long time and it inspired me to bring my camera along for our afternoon walk so I could document the city's beauty. However, after exiting our apartment and walking just a few paces, I got another idea. Why not document the dog shit on the streets of Paris instead? At the end of the day, I could bundle them all together in a lovely diaporama and email them to Monsieur Bertrand Delanoƫ, our city's mayor.

We had only walked 300 yards and already we had been forced to stop 3 times so I could take my photos - roughly 1 photo every 300 feet. I quickly became bored of my "assignment" after realizing just how much work it was going to be. Honestly, people: if you can bend over to feed your dog, and you're obviously feeding it, you can bend over to pick up after it!

Later that night, by chance, I read an article that reported "65% of Parisians are very or rather satisfied with the cleanliness of their quarter"

Really? I must have been in the garden hosing off of my shoe when the pollster came knocking.

In reality, I'm extremely impressed with the maintenance crews in Paris, as is Willie Brown for what it's worth. They're out in force each day cleaning up after lazy Parsians (and their dogs)! In addition to the aforementioned dog droppings, people litter shamelessly here. It's astounding how often I see people drop trash on the sidewalk or dig into their pockets to discover an old candy wrapper which is then unceremoniously tossed to the ground. Fred recently asked a businessman why he intentionally threw his dirty Kleenex on the pavement when a trashcan was LITERALLY within an arms reach and he had to stand on the corner and WAIT for the light to change before he could cross the street anyway. He responded with a hurl of insults. And I once saw a mother grab and scold her toddler for bad behavior while she reached in her coat pocket with her free hand and unloaded a wad of paper into the air.

The fine for littering or not cleaning up after your dog here is 183 euros. Of course, I've never actually seen anyone receive a ticket. Perhaps the mayor could reassign half of the city's cleaning crew to issue tickets. The prevention-based model seems to work well for their healthcare system.

I will say this for Paris: when you see shit on the ground you know it's from a dog. After my last trip through the Tenderloin, I can’t confidently say that about San Francisco. While, in general, it is looked down upon to openly litter in the US, I was utterly digusted (gag reflex disgusted) by the filth in parts of the city. I spent 10 years there so you'd think I'd be used to it. So, either it has gotten worse, or my standards have gotten higher from living in Paris - which isn't saying much given my tirade above.


The Late Bloomer said...

Hey, nice to see you blogging here again Amy! Of course, I should talk -- I pretty much have an abandoned blog right now! But this was a good post, and one well worth writing about -- I totally agree with you on this! I'm always disgusted by it, too, and I swear that if I EVER see someone in action allowing their dog to poop on the sidewalk, I will say something -- of course, it hasn't happened yet, but it makes me wonder when these people do it -- at the crack of dawn when no one's around yet?! In any case, it's not just in Paris, but all over the country, unfortunately. And interestingly, the culprits are very often the older generation, who figure "someone is paid to clean up the streets anyway, so why should they bother to clean up after their dog?!" Ha, typical! They're just too good for that kind of thing. It's like it's below them or something!

Jan said...

Nice to have you back. It's common courtesy to pick up after the poo!


jonnifer said...

I don't mind the poo but I guess that's from recalibrated expectations. When I lived in SF I never thought about there being a lot of homeless people until visitors pointed it out to me. "Oh yeah, I guess there are kind of a lot..."

Anonymous said...

Yay, you're back! I hope you'll be back to blogging regularly again...your blog is definitely one of the funniest and most well-written I've come across, thus far! It's great to see you back!

avec amy said...

Thank you for the very nice compliments! I really appreciate them and it definitely makes me want to write more knowing people actually read it ;)

Leah said...

Don't know if I've commented here before or not, but I agree with the others that I hope you're back blogging! As for the poo, there is tons here in Rennes and I even recently discovered what I'd call a "poo patch" where dog owners open a gate and take their dogs into a small area to do the deed. Yes, it's better than letting the dogs go anywhere and everywhere, but is it really that difficult to pick up your dog's crottes?

Paula M. Lawhon said...

Hilarious! Keep writing~ missed your funny tirades! :-)

pangolina said...

Very funny! It's great to see that Parisian huffiness being punctured, particularly the intolerance for accented francais... :)