I know I'm a terrible neighbor. I neglect my house (the way I neglect my body) with shingles flaking off my roof, siding that needs a good power washing, a paint-chipped garage that has more skin flaws than my face.
I haven't done the "pruning" of the giant weeds in my front yard that will keep things from looking like a lazy recluse lives in my house (oh. wait.).
When I see my neighbors, any neighbors, I do wave and smile and ask how they are and mean the question and tell them their dogs are pretty or their babies look happy or the grandchildren have great charm.
Sometimes, though, I try to dash into my house without speaking, laptop bag swinging from my shoulder, my kitty waiting for me at the door, head butting my hand as soon as I walk in.
Friendliness doesn't make up for the state of my two structures, house and body.
And yet it's a discouraging old world.
This is a very small thing.
My neighbors, I'm not sure which ones (well, I'm pretty sure), let their dogs poop in my yard near my garage, next to the alley where I take my trash Monday nights before garbage pick up.
I haven't had a dog since sweet Bridget the smelly and senile Schnauzer died in 2004, and she didn't live long enough to see this house. She died right around the time I closed on this and the house I sold. So. No dogs for a decade.
When I had a dog, I didn't mind scooping up the poop in the backyard, and when I took Bridget for walks, I always carried bags with me for those times when she decided to poop in public (in her case, usually on the public sidewalk because that's the way my sweet, black girl rolled).
Recently, I bought a not-cheap spray from the pet store, a "deterrent" for pets and wild life, have been coating the grass with it. I think it's been working, but this summer is all about the rain. Wash away, wash away.
I am grateful that today the neighbor waited until after my yard guys mowed to let his/her dog defecate in my yard. At least the poop wasn't smashed into the grass this time, so when I donned my yard gloves and shoveled it into the plastic bag the dog owner should have been carrying, I didn't have to work too hard scooping it up.
Of course it rained after the mowing, so the poop was wet and particularly ripe.
I talked to myself as I tied off the bag and set it on the bricks behind my garage, under the lip of the roof where the rain we'll be getting later won't reach it.
"I'm just so discouraged," I muttered (even though another neighbor had people in her driveway doing things. She doesn't have a dog). "I know I'm a crappy neighbor, but you people disappoint me."
Although this dog poop business is a small thing, it adds a layer to my current desolation, a sense that people who pretend to be friendly disrespect me so much they allow their giant dog and their tiny dog to poop in my yard and leave it there for me to clean up.
I'll keep spraying the deterrent after every rain and hope that the day I finally paint the garage, wash the house, fix the roof, prettify the yard, the stranger pooping stops.
If it doesn't?
Well, shit happens.