Leave a comment


Feb 29, 2004 | The Growing Crisis: Dog Doo on the Streets of Paris

PARIS- It isn’t everyday that you step on brown dog refuse on the streets of New York, London, or Tokyo… but in Paris, that’s certainly an entirely different matter. Those brown (or black) mounds litter the streets in such unpredictable places that one living in Paris inevitably becomes a trapeeze artist of the foot, able to dodge the doo at the slightest notice. Not surprisingly, many people here end up with the “down-lookers” syndrome, where the neck becomes permanently stuck in a position where the head can only look downwards. This is the sad result of the constant look-out for the dog doo, or what is more vulgarly known as the “crotte” in French. Others are miraculously spared from this Parisian disease, but are sadly left cross-eyed from always keeping one eye looking ahead and one eye looking below.

What can be understood from all this is the fact that the Parisians often have little or no regard for their hapless neighbors who end up stepping on the cute poodle’s leftover meal. Ironically, those who actually allow their pet to leave the little mounds right in the middle of the pavement, end up stepping on another pet’s refuse. It is this vicious cycle of ‘survival of the fittest’ that is present everywhere in Parisian life (including the corner bakery, where one stray thought will land you out of the line to the store that you’ve been in for the last hour).

And what about the animals themselves? Are they aware that their thoughtless actions are the source of so much angst and annoyance to the tourists? (I hate to think that if they did know what they were doing, they wouldn’t mind). One can only merely grin to oneself whenever a person is seen inspecting the sole of their shoes at the curbside.

Most Parisians are also fortunately equipped with the smart evolutionary techniques to remove the “crotte” from their shoe: this includes going to the nearby road where water is gushing out of the sewers and to wash it there; another is to constantly drag your shoe in hopes that the doo will come off- this is known as the “lagging-foot” syndrome.

In any case, it is necessary to keep in mind that even after a lifelong residence in Paris, some people still end up cursing in the middle of the street. A crushed mound is always testimony to such an event, and one can’t stop from smiling to oneself that one was spared from having to undergo such an ordeal, unless of course, you step on one.

special reportage by the true diarist

This entry was posted on Sunday, February 29th, 2004 at 6:16 pm, EST under the category of Articles, PerlBlog Days. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.