Thursday, October 17, 2013

In the Grocery Store Parking Lot


With my groceries stowed in the trunk of my car and the cart returned, I climbed into the driver's seat, bum first, scrunched up and sliding in to avoid the brunt of the enthusiastic greeting I knew was coming from my dog.  A black haired, German Shepherd crossed, with of all things, an English Springer Spaniel, most people think she's a Lab.  

It's the same routine every time I get in the car with her.  I could be gone 5 minutes to check our post office box and she always behaves as though I've been gone for days.  With her back feet planted on the rear seat for balance and her front feet resting on the centre console, she lets me know how happy she is to see me by wiping her wet nose on my cheek and licking my ear, simultaneously.  All the while, her rear end is swinging in wide arcs with each wag of her tail. It's an assault on my personal space and it's hard not to laugh.

Once I'd settled in my seat, I reached up with my right hand to press her face against mine, enjoying the silkiness of her fur beneath my fingers, and turned my head to the left to avoid having my glasses knocked off my face and smeared with nose goo.  My gaze fell naturally on a pretty young woman two stalls over and one up from mine, also seated in her car and facing me. Her manicured left hand dangled out her open window, dropping ripped paper on the ground. As I watched the white confetti tumble and scatter in the wind, our eyes locked and I wondered if she realized how ugly she appeared to me in that moment.

I felt myself go still inside while I continued to stroke my dog's fur, her big head next to mine and her breath coming in hot puffs on my cheek.  It felt uncomfortable to simply sit and stare, rude even, yet I couldn't seem to stop.  I wanted her to feel uncomfortable, too.  I wanted her to know that I'd seen what she'd done and that it wasn't okay.

I know that, on the scale of human suffering, littering ranks pretty low, but it's a 'thing' with me.  Always has been.

She laughed a small laugh, and lowering her eyes, she rolled up her window.  Addressing her friend in the passenger's seat, I could make out the words on her lips, "That woman's watching me."   

I turned away with a sigh and did my best to just shake it off, but like dog shit scrapped off the bottom of my shoe, the stink still lingered.


********

I've enrolled in a writing e-course offered by Laurie Wagner called Telling True Stories.  Over the next several weeks, I'll be sharing the product of my work here that results from the writing prompts she gives us.

11 comments:

Christina said...

I could not agree more Caro. I despise this kind of behavior. I walk in the park sometimes and the trash thrown into the pond and on the trails sickens me. There are trash bins all over the place too. It reflects very much on character to me.

Catherine said...

People who litter - oh this is a pet peeve of mine as well. It is so irritating!!
Excellent writing my friend!
xo Catherine

Jen @ Muddy Boot Dreams said...

You illustrated perfectly our ability to believe that we can act, or do anything we want in public, and have no shame in doing it.

You carried us from the joyous, and beautiful moment of Willow's welcome, to the disgust at what that woman did in her car as if we were the ones sitting there in the passenger seat with you.

Your writing is always a treat. I've been wondering when you would share it again...that story of the hitman is still in my head.

Jen

Caroline said...

I hate littering. It shows disrespect and pure laziness. It tells you a lot about a person...and not in a good way.

Grace said...

This is good - I enjoyed it...

Carolynn Anctil said...

Thanks for your comments everyone. I was a little hesitant to post this one and I'm heartened to discover that I'm not alone in my position regarding litter and those that do it.

C-ingspots said...

This is beautiful Carolynn. And the dog part had me laughing out loud because you've just described exactly, what I experience every single time I come back to my car. Ruby is the molester here; Annie is way too dignified to behave in such a manner. :) And I adore it - mostly!! The rest of the story...I too hope she squirmed under your scrutiny. I late littering too!

Annette Mickelson said...

Well written - you painted the picture and you conveyed the emotion. I love the contrast between your grounded interaction with your dog and her manicured disconnect from this beautiful planet of ours.

S. Etole said...

I'm thoroughly enjoying your writing as well as your photos. I live in a rural area and it's common to see litter along the roads. It's not a pretty sight.

Nancy said...

You certainly made an A on this test....Your writing is wonderful and I was drawn right into the story...I'd love to be able to express myself this well.....

I am always surprised when I see someone litter. It's as if you know you aren't suppose to do that.....so why are you?

Sharon said...

Well said! Yesterday, after I'd read your post, I was in traffic next to a woman who dropped something out the window of her truck. I couldn't believe it. She and the other three in the truck were laughing and having a good time. I couldn't catch her attention so she didn't see me staring at her.

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