Shit that is not yours.

by Nic Olson

On any walk in St-Henri you will walk past piles of shit. Half of the time you won’t be able to tell if it is human faeces or just large, horse-sized dogs. Some of the time you will watch the excrement dropped from the dog’s body. And the rest of the time it will be a small black plastic bag tied neatly and then promptly stomped on like it was on fire, squirting dog shit in every direction that the bag tore. The process of picking your dog’s crap up with a plastic bag, tying the bag neatly with a bow and then proceeding to two-foot stomp it is new to me, but it is a wide spread phenomenon in St-Henri. I could see it catching on.

My new home has thin walls and thin floors. I was watching hockey while sitting on the floor one day, trying to slide more blanket under my ass because my tailbone was starting to get sore from sitting on the floor for more than half of the day. I heard a guy in the apartment under mine, voice clear as if he was in my room, ‘Ahhh, no. Ohh, man. There is dog shit everywhere. Shit! There’s dog shit all over the bed. Fuck. Nooo!’ Birthing children and raising dogs is a thankless job. Probably because no one wants to thank you for filling the streets and landfills with more shit and shit related merchandise.

My room smelled like a litterbox when I moved in and I’ve been burning incense religiously since. I have a small shrine on my inoperative built-in heater with a family photo, my grandmother’s painting and a stack of books. It smells great, but is colder than the coldest parts of hell. After a few days of renewed cold and incense free room, subtle scents of the ingrained smell of cat excrement returns. It is saturating my pores.

Shit is a delicate subject, and a delicate word. I couldn’t say this word in front of my mother as many times as I’ve typed it here, but psychologically the best way to get someone accustomed to a new song or new word they don’t like is to repeat it over and over. And I couldn’t possibly write an entire article about ‘poop’ and I quickly ran out of politically correct synonyms for ‘stools’.

But the doggy bag stomping still reeks in my mind. How close can we get to completing a positive task before we decide to do exactly the opposite of what we are in the process of doing?
It is like washing your car and then somehow deciding that if you used your own urine it would work better.
Or like cooking a healthy meal of vegetables and rice and proceeding to cover it in ranch dressing or melted butter.
Or like holding the door open for an elderly lady and then deciding to kick out her knees when she walks past.
Or like painting a picture to fundraise for the Defunding of the Arts.
Or like volunteering in a developing country and half way through deciding it would be a great place to open a large bank chain.

The incomprehensibility of human nature is as simple as shit in plastic bags.