Thursday, February 26, 2009
For those of you who have never been to Berlin, one thing you are not missing out on is Hundescheisse. Dog turds, all over the sidewalk all year long. Berliners are far more advanced than American at recycling and not wasting energy, and are amazingly obedient when it comes to following rules. Practically no one will ever cross the street on a red light, even if there isn't a car in sight. Once, after returning from a three week visit to the Bay Area, I was hanging out in Kreuzberg 36 where I saw two punks waiting at the traffic light. Rainbow colored mohawks, chains all over their ripped clothing, and yet they were waiting at the crosswalk like good citizens even though the coast was obviously clear. Only in Berlin, I thought as I crossed the street in front of them.
Technically it is against the law not to pick up your dog's doo doo (there's even a fine), but this is one law Berliners almost universally break. On my ten minute walk to my daughter's pre-school each morning I pass by at least thirty turds of various degrees of freshness, shape and color. What are these people feeding their dogs, I think when I pass by a log that is ochre or a clay like red. Some of the turds look shockingly human, though there is a Psych Ward nearby with a lot of out patients, so maybe....no, let's not go there. Now that my daughter is walking more I have to steer her not only clear of cars and kamikaze bicyclists, but Fido's piles of crap as well.
This morning I saw a woman with one of those poofy little white dogs whose breed always has a long, vaguely Asian sounding name. He did his business on the sidewalk about a block from my house and, once he was finished, low and behold, she pulled out a plastic bag and scooped the little turd up. As I walked by, pushing my double buggy, I briefly had the urge to hug her.