The Casual Reporter: Cody Steps in Human Poo

Monday, August 11, 2008

Cody Steps in Human Poo

For those among you who imagine France as a beacon of sophistication, I relate to you a story that should temper such idealistic sentiments. My sons Cody and Zach embarked on a 3-minute walk to deposit our glass bottles in the local bottle depository down the street (such recycling policies are what contribute to the myth of Europe as the mecca of forward thought and sophistication).

Ours is a lovely residential street much desired among locals, in a safe, quaint, friendly community about 40 minutes from the heart of Paris - middle class suburbia in the form of a roman-age French village.

Not far from the house, Cody stepped in a pile of crap. Not dog, or cat, as one might not be surprised to accidentally step in, but human excrement. Our street features a number of off-road parking areas and not far from the incident a bank with a wooded area where one who might be so desperate could choose to squat in emergency, but whomever did this thoughtlessly and carelessly deposited their load in the middle of the sidewalk.

Happily, this isn't a regular occurrence and as a rarity surely not particular to France, but it does reflect a tendency among the French, from my experience, of being severely self-absorbed. Despite having spent nearly 13 years here, I'm still disappointed to be constantly reminded by such crass examples that I live among people who can be so incredibly mindless to stop and take a crap right in the middle of the sidewalk.

I don't recall ever hearing this happen to anybody in any decent residential neighborhood anywhere in the USA.

So fair warning, or gentle reminder: despite the oft-deserved accolades of sophistication among the French, self-absorbed idiots are at least as much a part of the fabric of French culture as anywhere else in the world. Watch your step.

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