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9:19 am | 09 October 2003 | "you pee across the street!"

This morning, while walking the dog, the elderly, crotchety man on the block hollered at me for letting her pee on the two-foot-swath of grass between the sidewalk and street in front of his apartment building. "Hey!" he shouted thuggishly while hobbling my way. "[Something uncomplimentary-sounding in Polish!] No more!" I immediately quailed all whimper whimper-style (damn that "respect your elders/speak-when-spoken-to" upbringing): "Um, sorry. I didn't know. She only peed. Sorry." Then we hauled off across the street. He continued gesticulating, this man with a head like a cinderblock. "You go over there!" he yelled, jabbing one stubby finger towards the grass-strip on the other side of the street, in front of another apartment building.

What kills me are several things. First off, this guy has a dog, too--a full-sized German shepherd that is a total asshole. He lets it hang out on his little miniature balcony-thing, which is about four-and-a-half feet off the ground with a little iron railing, so the dog's head is just above yours, and then when you walk by it lets forth a volley of hellish like some kind of rabid Baskervillean monster. Frequently it hides its head behind this little pot of geraniums, concealing itself stealthily, until the exact moment you pass, at which point it Cujos forth (seriously, this is the kind of dog Nazis dream about). I've come close to pants-crappage a half-dozen times at this spectacle (and it should be noted that I am not generally too jumpy, nor afraid of dogs in the least). So, I'm sorry, dude, but is your miserly grass-strip for your dog's urine only? Because it's NOT yours. It goes with the building, and it's not as though it's a garden, or even particularly well cared-for. The guy across the street mows it once every month or so, and it's kinda hardscrabble-lookin' already. So give it up.

Another thing: It would be one thing if my dog laid a massive crap and then we skipped away merrily. But she didn't. I am super-conscientious about picking up the poo. I know it sucks to see that stuff, and I don't add to the problem. There was a guy on another block last week who came out and said "the neighbours thank you!" as I stooped rustily to scoop the doo, and that was cool. But this was only pee. And Mr. "No More!": If you think your grass isn't de facto full of animal products already, think again. Worms, birds, the innumerable freaky squirrels of the 'hood: All must pee, and pee they shall. So, in conclusion, the defense would like to say "Chew me," to that needlessly mean dude. And your dog sucks.

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