I remember as a kid that street sellers would amble by in my Los Angeles suburb peddling this, that and the other. I don’t really remember the items, expect one. It was a liquid that could remove any stain imaginable. Paint? “No problemo,” the peddler said. Oil? “Want to see?” We did! And so he picked an oil stain on our driveway and got down to work as my friends and I watched. He squirted the liquid on the stain and started rubbing with a cloth, squirted a bit more and rubbed again. And, yes, my friends, the stain vanished. Voila! The man stood up with sweat beading on his forehead and a triumphant look on his face. “See!” We did see.
We didn’t buy any in the end, and he said, “Maybe next time,” before heading off down the street for his next exhibition. We thought of trailing after him for another show of his magic potion. Oh the stains we could remove around our streets! The blood from split knees, oil and the skid marks left by our bikes. But our enthusiasm waned as he walked away. Why would you want to clean an oil stain off the pavement anyway? Or anything for that matter?
I now know why.
In our new neighborhood in Buenos Aires, a homely district called Colegiales where we moved a few months ago from a ritzier end of town, every dog has come to pay the new family a visit to and to leave a present. They are fertilizing our sidewalk, to put it politely. But I’m not always too polite, so put roughly: every motherfucking dog has come to shit in front of my house. And we’re wondering what to do with the poop pileup.
A proposal is to pick it up and wash away the scent with a shit-load of vinegar so the critters won’t continue to use our sidewalk as their toilet. That’d sure be a healthy option for the environment. But if that doesn’t work, option two is to hunt down that peddler of the no-problemo stain remover and haul his ass down here to dump a truckload on our sidewalk even if it burns a hole to China. I’ll kick the mutts in and hope they can bark in Mandarin if they try to dump their loads again on my pavement.
Of course, I could just tell the owners to pick up after their dogs like I do.
Politely, of course.
Or impolitely. But then things could get messy. And it’s always best to tread lightly because you never know what you’re going to get yourself into. Unless, of course, you’re walking in front of my house.