Monday, December 30, 2013

I am holding a bag of poo

I am holding a bag of poo. I am holding a bag of poo, and it seems I have always been holding this bag of poo. It is a clear plastic bag, one of those ones you get from the supermarket to put your fruit in. It is not holding fruit anymore, nor is it likely to again. Let us pause to examine this bag, containing poo, in a spirit of scientific curiosity and scholarly analysis; let us hold it up twisting and turning in the light so we may learn more about what it contains within. The object it contains within, as we already know, is poo: it is a good example of its kind, rather more green than brown, and more of a sloppy, chaotic sort than a coherent oblong which maintains its shape; parts of the poo have clung to the sides of the bag, and I am naturally careful not to touch those sides of the bag: rather, I grasp it fastidiously around the knot at the top.

I am holding a bag of poo, and I am walking down the hill with this bag. One does not normally find a person wandering through town with a bag of poo: where did I get this bag of poo from?  I got it at the top of the hill, from the Baron. The Baron herself got this bag of poo from Wilbur, the beagle, who had shortly before deposited the poo thoughtfully on a spot of ground, surrounded by leaves and dirt, before perfunctorily kicking a bit of dirt up around it with his legs.

I have often thought that there is a perfect poetry to the way dogs perform this office, and that the human habit of picking up these poos in bags and wandering off into town to dispose of them is an entirely inconvenient and ill-thought through custom. Let us consider the alternative: a dog deposits his or her manure on a piece of soil and wanders off. Soon, the natural forces of the sun and the wind have worked upon this rich excreta and its powerful and pungent aromas have dissipated into the environment: it is now dry and ready to dissolve into the earth. Next, the rain goes to work upon it: soon it is dispersed; in a matter of weeks, we will not even know that the poo has been there at all. In the meantime, the rich nutrients have seeped down into the soil, providing food, nourishment, and life for a future generation of plants. On the whole, it seems far better than wandering about town holding a bag of poo. A bag in which the poo can easily be seen. A bag which is becoming increasingly inconvenient as time progresses.

Poo causes a number of difficulties in ordinary social interactions, I find. That is, if the poo is in a bag and you are holding it, as I am. One cannot simply carry on gregariously interacting with one's neighbours and companions as if it were an ordinary day, for neither they nor you (by which I mean me) will be able to ignore the fact that you (I) are holding a bag of poo. I find that I am walking around behind cars to avoid these moments of social meeting and greeting, I am become one with the shadows; I quickly skit across to the other side of the street when I see another person approaching with a smile on their face. I am afraid I may seem quite rude.

 But then again, perhaps I am taking entirely the wrong approach. Perhaps I ought to display my social virtue (though I find little virtue in it) and ostentatiously wave the bag of poo around as I speak to others. It's all right: the bag is neatly tied up, the poo is naturally inclined to stick to the sides anyway, and nothing will leak out. Probably. We are, after all, obliged to pick up a dog's poo (as much as we may object), and I ought to let other people know that I have indeed obliged. Perhaps I should approach people on the other side of the street, in their yards, young and old, crying "HELLO! I AM HOLDING A BAG OF POO!" Perhaps I should offer to shake their hand, after switching the bag of poo to the other hand. Perhaps I should disarm them by saying: "It's all right. You can shake my hand. You know exactly where it's been".

It causes so many social difficulties, holding a bag of poo. It's hard to know what to do.

Though putting it in a bin at some point usually helps.

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