Mark Twain famously described golf as a good walk spoiled.
No argument here. I’ve tried golf on a number of occasions, and I can safely say that it is not only a good walk spoiled, but also a good day spoiled.
If I can steal from Twain, another way to spoil a good walk it to take it in Edmonton.
This morning, my wife and I took our two dogs for their morning walk. I started in a good mood, and ended in a bad mood. Which, to be honest, is my default mood.
What turned my mood from good to bad, aside from a sixth straight day of no sun? As usual, it was the actions of my fellow citizens.
I live within a few blocks of a 7-Eleven. No corporation in the world is more responsible for our morbidly obese children and befouled city landscape than 7-Eleven. I rue the day the 7-Eleven turned a perfectly respectable empty lot into one of their cookie-cutter, junk food dispensing, garbage-producing stores.
In the five-block walk from house to the 7-Eleven, I picked up a grocery bag full of 7-Eleven based detritus. Pizza slice boxes, hot dog boxes, and Slurpee cups… lots and lots of Slurpee cups. In a moment of generosity, and in a bid to addict even more people to Slurpees, 7-Eleven gave away free Slurpees on Monday. The result? Cities across North American littered with mini-Slurpee cups. I picked up at least a half-dozen on my brief walk, so if you extrapolate that number with the thousands of 7-Elevens in North America, and you come up with a number between five and 17 million. Approximately.
Now, to be fair to 7-Eleven, the fact that idiots drop their 7-Eleven garbage wherever they want is not the company’s fault. It’s the fault of poorly raised children and irresponsible adults who don’t give a flying Wallenda about their fellow citizens and what their city looks like.
While picking up garbage, I came face to face with another walk ruiner — dog crap.
I have a couple of dogs, and they crap. A lot. It’s what dogs do. But, when we walk our dogs, we pick up their crap. It’s somewhat demeaning, but it’s a deal you make with society when you get a dog. If it dumps on public property, you pick it up. Unfortunately, there are plenty of dog owners who do not abide by the social contract.
Worse yet, a lot of the dog shit I saw on my walk was on private property. It takes a certain kind of indifference to your fellow citizens to let your Shetland pony sized dog to crap on a neighbor’s lawn, and just walk away.
And finally, to add the trifecta of annoyance, some self-centered entrepreneur affixed a sign, advertising furnaces of all things, to a stop sign. Aside from being an eyesore, this is illegal. But it doesn’t matter to the guy who put up the sign. It’s probably not even in his neighbourhood. He only cares about making some money by using cheap, illegal and ugly advertising. Screw the public, right?
Sigh. Garbage, dog shit and cheap signs. Thank you, fellow citizens, for spoiling a good walk. And a good city.