The Runyan Debaucle, and the Aftermath

I'm just going to come clean.  I can be a jerk sometimes.  If I'm ever a jerk to you, though, just know that I will beat myself up about it for days, weeks, months, or years, depending on the severity of the jerkiness.

My most recent incident of jerkiness happened a couple weekends ago.  I was setting out on a hike at Runyan Canyon with Rebecca, and while walking up a residential street on the way to the park, a guy up ahead let his dog poop right on the sidewalk and didn't pick it up.  This is a common problem on that street, and you always have to watch where you step, and the street stinks at all times.  Anyway, I saw the dog poop, and I saw the guy not pick it up, and without warning, out of my mouth came, "Nice. Thanks."  It was kind of at a shout, since he was a good 20 feet ahead of us, and it surprised him, Rebecca, and me.  What?!  I don't shout at strangers, unless I'm in the car and they've just committed an extra rude traffic faux-pas.  It just came out of my mouth, and I couldn't believe it.  Anyway, so he turned around and got befuddled, and tried to explain that he didn't have a bag, and then he just stopped and looked at me, waiting for me to answer, but I didn't, because I was just as surprised and befuddled as he was, and we just kept walking toward him, and then he turned around and kept going ahead of us, and we walked in silence for several seconds until I turned to Rebecca and whispered, "This is going to be an awkward hike," at which point my hair began to fall in my eyes, and I was only too happy to have an excuse to stop and fix it while letting the guy get farther up ahead of us. 

So I fixed my hair, slowly, and then we proceeded on our way, and as the shock of my behaviour subsided, in rushed the guilt and remorse at having spoken so harshly to someone who, yes, was doing something annoying, but who may have had a good excuse.  I don't know, maybe he had two bags but the dog pooped three times and he was out of bags.  Or maybe he had just run out of the house with the dog after a bad fight with his girlfriend and had been too upset to remember to bring a bag and hell if he was going back in there now, or maybe she had even locked him out.  The point is, I didn't know, and he seemed like a nice guy, and I could tell he was embarrassed, and I felt like a big, fat jerk.  Combine that with the fact that I was nigh on PMS, and for much of the hike I was trying not to cry because I felt so bad, and I looked and looked for him so I could apologize, but he was nowhere to be found.  I have no idea where he disappeared to, but he was gone.  So, I did the only thing I could do in this situation: I put an add on Craigslist Missed Connections.  Here's what I posted:

I Fussed at you at Runyan today (Sat.) – w4m – 27


I saw your dog poop on the sidewalk, and you didn't pick it up, so I yelled, "Nice. Thanks." You seemed befuddled and tried to explain that you didn't have a bag with you. A few seconds later I felt really bad. I decided I wanted to apologize, but you disappeared. I'm so sorry! That was really rude and unlike me, and you seem like a really nice guy. I hope I didn't completely ruin your hike, or your walk with your dog.

I got 3 replies to the post, but unfortunately not from the guy — although all of them made me feel a little better.  Here they are:

Number One: The inevitable Craigslist pickup attempt, complete with photo of him and his dog:

I'm not the guy….but at Ruyan all the time…..I like that you took the time to apologize!!  If you see me..say "hi!"  I promise, I'll have a bag.

(Don't worry, Jeff, I didn't reply)!

Number Two:

hi, i'm not your missed connection, but i wanted to say that i'm glad you yelled at that guy. don't apologize for that. people like that are always trying to get away with it, and they need to be scolded publicly.

thanks!

fellow dog poop hater
los angeles, ca

And My favorite:

I live in that neighborhood. You had every right to give that guy "shit" pun intended. He knew he didn't have a bag when he took out his dog. But rather than have his dog crap on his carpet, he crapped on my sidewalk.  Don't feel bad about criticizing that guy, I probably stepped in it on Sunday.  When you take your dog on a walk you should have a leash and a plastic bag… no excuse.

So there you have it.  I still think I was a jerk, but if three strangers think otherwise, I guess maybe I'm being a little hard on myself.  Lessons learned: Never speak to strangers while having PMS, Craigslist can be relied upon to ease one's conscience, and Always carry a poop bag for your dog, or face the unleashed wrath of the Minton.

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