Sunday, July 26, 2009

Random Acts of Rudeness

So, I'm walking my dog this morning, in my neighborhood, where I always do. I have my plastic bag in hand. I'm one of the good ones, who cleans up after my dog.

O'Neill does his business in the yard next door. I'm standing there, bag in hand, waiting for him to finish, when some man I've never seen before comes out on the porch and yells, "You better pick that up!" I'm thinking the next door neighbor got a boyfriend and he's a rude old fart, but I'm nice, I wave my bag and say, "I always do."

Now, what I also always do is bag up the poop, then leave it curbside and pick it up on my way home. I don't see the sense in carrying the stinky bag with me for the rest of the walk. The guy comes running out again and yells, "And take the bag with you!" I felt ridiculous having a yelling conversation across a yard, but I didn't want him yelling up the street after me, so I yelled back, "I'll pick it up on the way home." I ended up having to scream it three times because he must also be deaf. Then he finally waved me off and I finished walking my dog.

So, after I got back home, I couldn't quite just let it go. So, I left O'Neill at home and walked over and rang the doorbell. Turns out the guy is house-sitting and that my neighbor had been upset at some point because someone left a bag of poop in her yard and didn't pick it up. I wish I had been able to keep my cool more and get through. I did tell him that his behavior was rude and unnecessary and clarify that I always clean up after my dog. He didn't quite apologize, other than being worried that I would tell the house-owner that he had offended me. What I couldn't get across, though, was that yelling at random strangers in the street is no way to deal with a problem.

I'm wondering what makes a person think that storming out on your porch and yelling at people is the solution to anything. I wasn't even guilty of what I was accused of and my dander was up enough to want to enact violence on his person (I said "want to"--I've never actually enacted violence on anyone). He was behaving like that stereotypical grumpy old man yelling at kids to get off his lawn. He didn't know me. It wasn't even his lawn. It was just a knee-jerk, rude reaction that will not solve the problem.

Maybe it's just me, but I thought you were supposed to *talk* to people when you have issues: directly and calmly. I thought we were grownups.

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