Happy Friday everyone. I hope you're ready for some prime, dry-aged, coffee-rubbed, pan seared complaining about the public at large this morning. One thing I didn't expect about taking a dogwalking job was the sheer exposure to the mass of humanity and its discontents that I'd experience every single day whilst out and about. To be fair, I'm not talking about the interactions that I have with living, breathing people. Those are typically fine, except for the man that screamed obscenities at me for coasting my bike up the apron onto the sidewalk within 15 feet of him, but he probably just confused me for his mother or something. In fact, and I'm sure that I'm preaching to the dog choir (patent pending) here, but walking with a pooch definitely gives you some kind of charisma advantage over the dogless. People willingly come up to you smiling and happy, and while they often talk directly to the dog and not to you, it is nice to feel like that much vaunted MEMBER OF THE COMMUNITY trope that every politican talks about but never really shows any example of (Did y'all know that Chicago Alderman make 6 figures a year in a position that was initially intended to be a side job? That doesn't sound like the Windy City Politics I know!) Conversely, having a pup tethered to you obviates the need for mindless BS small talk about the weather or sports, which pleases me greatly as a prominent critic of that national pasttime.
What really messes with my sunny demeanor are the artifacts that these nameless souls leave behind. I've always found litter disgusting, but now that I see it everywhere every day I have become some kind of ecologically minded Rush Limbaugh—but you know, cursing and frothing at the mouth in my head instead of on the airwaves. Here's a neatly formatted bulleted list of the top discarded items that cause me apoplectic full body shivers and shakes while I'm out walking the dogs of Chicago:
- Broken glass. Honestly, the animals that break glass all over the sidewalk and adjacent grass need to stop yesterday. I understand that it's likely the people doing this are not in their right mind, but it's just so god damn dangerous for doggo feet. What must happen is that people on their morning commutes find a big pile of broken glass outside their apartments and then they dutifully footsweep it all onto the small rectangle of grass allotted to them for recreation by God Emperor Rahm Emanuel. They smile to themselves at a job well done and zoom off to their finance job. Then I come along a couple of hours later to walk through the veritable minefield left behind by some late night boozehounds and some early morning misguided good Samaritans. It doesn't help that many bottles are as green as the god damn grass they now rest on, shattered and sharp. I always see these borosilicate caltrops before treading upon them and have successfully avoided all incidents thus far and will continue to do so.
- Dog waste. I always knew that there were scummy folks that didn't pick up after their dogs but I am absolutely floored at the sheer number of dogpies that I see every day. It's not like you're walking your dog miles and miles from your home in the land of your sworn enemies...you're messing up your own god damn neighborhood. YOU'RE LITERALLY SHITTING WHERE YOU EAT. It also takes like 5 seconds to completely solve this problem, even less with the vessels from our friends at Poop Bags! Not to mention dog waste feeds rats, which I think everyone agrees are probably the most repulsive creatures on this plane of existence (which is a shame, since they're super impressive and hearty and essentially just night squirrels without fuzzy tails—dibs on calling rats "night squirrels" BTW). Oh and not to mention, dog waste can ALSO FEED YOUR WEIRDO DOGGO IF YOU'RE NOT CAREFUL. AND YOU LET THAT DOG LICK YOUR FACE. Pick up after your pets people.
- Dog waste, already in a bag. Seriously people? This is like getting to mile 26 of a marathon and then wandering off into the woods to die. You're so damn close to something great, and then you just have to ruin everything. This is arguably worse than not picking up after your dog at all because it belies an awareness of the problem and then just a complete lack of responsibility. If you just leave the #2 au naturale there's a small chance you didn't notice what your dog was up to (although they LITERALLY make eye contact and make an expression like they're in a school play and just forgot all their lines so I don't buy that shit). But if you bag it up and then just leave it like a teeny tiny garbage bag for the sanitation professionals you're just a dumb jerk and you can lose my number.
- Chicken bones. I've been over this one before, but if you've ever walked a pupper by a Jewel Osco you've had your shoulder wrenched out of socket by a possessed canine in search of deep fried wing marrow. Many people figure that since dogs have loved ones since time immemorial, this is a fine lil treat. I ASSURE YOU IT IS NOT. Deep frying the wing causes the bone to shatter when chewed and if your dog's tummy gets a hold of one you will be in a whole mess of trouble. So if you're someone who likes to enjoy a mass market grocery story chicken wing, please dispose of your leftover bones in the trash. Actually, just place the entire meal in the trash before eating it. There's better chicken in Chicago at commensurate prices—don't you like yourself?!
- Deceased birds and rodentia. This one is a bit morbid, but absolutely occurs in any city center. Also, this one isn't really anyone's fault per se, but it still is a bit shivery to come across. If you've spent any real time walking the neighborhoods of Chicago, you've seen your share of birds that are no more, run over night squirrels, fallen day squirrels, and the like. While confronting death like this often gives humans pause and forces them to reflect on the precarious tightrope we all walk betwixt this world and the spirit realm, dogs think, in all caps, "WHAT IS THAT CAN I EAT THAT I'M GOING TO TRY TO EAT THAT". Bless their hearts. And then gently pull them away from their supposed bounty, because you don't know what kind of exotic flu or novel viral infection might reside in that mess.
These are the heavy hitters of left behind items on the streets of Chicago that mess with my typically rosy days spent dogwalking. There are probably more, but these are the ones that spring to mind. I hope everyone has a great weekend, full of high rate Chicago chicken and bereft of night squirrels.