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April 10, 2007

There is a weird smell in the back yard

Francisco has disappeared.

He hasn't come by to blow the leaves around in circles or kill any shrubbery in over a month. Things are actually beginning to grow. It's weird and frankly scary. There is an actual FRUIT tree in my backyard, folks! I did not know this because Francisco cut it last year right around this time when it began to flower, and so it sat there bare and sad all summer.

This year it has little blossoms and baby fruit of some sort. I am surprised Francisco cannot hear its siren song of lushness and be drawn to shear it dead.

So, with the missing Francisco and all the (new! lush!) growing greenery and over-long grass, I have spent a little more time in the back-backyard making sure weeds don't eclipse my okra. And when I was back there last week I noticed a smell. Not a sweet orange blossom smell.

A bad smell.
A poo smell.

This is the conversation I had with myself:

"Gosh that stinks, who farted!!" Then I laughed. At myself. "The yard farted! HAH HAH I AM SEVEN!"

"Really though," I said back to myself, more grownupedly. "That is some stinky smelling air."

"Maybe it's pollution," I countered.

"Well," I replied, "if that's the case then it's just a toxic cloud over the back backyard. The front yard is fine. WEIRD!"

"Fart!" I said outloud. Because as we have all seen, time and time again, I am very mature.

So at first I thought perhaps one of the neighbors had fertilized, sometimes people dump compost on their lawns and it smells poo-ish. (Yard fart!) But usually it goes away, and the poo smell has been wafting around for a good long while. I took a walk on Friday evening after work, checking out the neighbors' yards on the next street over, especially the house that backs directly up to my own backyard, occupied by The Yelling Family. Nothing.

On Saturday I was in the back-back-yard watering my okra and marigolds when the wind changed and the very very pervasive poo odor returned. Now, there are no major animals hiding around in my backyard pooping in hidden areas of the yard. I know this because my backyard shares a fence with the yelling neighbors, and they have two giant pit bulls that will eat anything, including the Department Of Water And Power guys who were trying to repair a line one day and threatened to call animal control on the neighbors. DWP used my yard instead.

So the barking dogs drive away most of the wildlife and all people.

And the question remained. WHERE IS THE MYSTERY POO SMELL COMING FROM???

It was a mystery until Easter Sunday when a freak gust of wind blew down the barely-standing bamboo screen that had been precariously attached to my side of the chainlink fence I share with Yelling Neighbors.

Turns out that Yelling Neighbors have not exactly been cleaning up after their dogs properly. Instead of picking up the poo and throwing it away, they appear to be throwing it into the small concrete area between their garage and the chainlink back fence. Which is... RIGHT UP AGAINST MY YARD.

There is a mountain of poop back there. HOW DO PEOPLE LIVE LIKE THAT?

I saw the mountain and sighed the long, sad sigh of a person who has discovered rather late in life that she is not a people pleaser after all. She actually kind of hates people. As far as I can tell, the main drawback about living in a city and in a neighborhood that contains humans is... the humans. Sometimes people are gross. Sometimes people forget that they are not the only ones inhabiting planet earth and the rest of us have to live here also. Sometimes people do things like let their dogs roam off-leash or they play techno music all night long or yell at their kids for four hours or are so damn lazy they can't throw the poop in a bin, instead they throw it up against the fence by the neighbor's yard.

I NOW UNDERSTAND WHY PEOPLE MOVE OUT TO THE COUNTRY. It is because there are no pesky "humans" nearby to ruin your good-smelling pollution.

And ya'll, I don't know what to do. I would politely knock on the door and ask if they would please stop building a mountain out of a poophill ... except. They seem kind of awful. And they are so lazy they cannot be bothered to dispose of their voluminous dog crap. They yell. What if they start a neighbor war? You know how people can be. And my gut instinct is that these folks are Neighbor War types. They'd start tossing the poo into my yard just for kicks and giggles. And then probably holler about it.

It would be one thing if I didn't have to live there and deal with them daily. But these folks are yellers, and if they scream at their own kids in such a vile and hateful manner, I cannot imagine what they would start doing to me if I stopped by to visit. I thought about leaving an anonymous note on the door, but if they are the sort of folks who will live in a pile of dog crap, will a little polite note make any difference at all?

So I'm thinking that if the Governator found it super important to pass legislation regarding my cats and their scoopable cat litter, perhaps someone in the state of California, city of Los Angeles, county of same, can help the neighbors see the vital importance of not stockpiling dog poop for the apocalypse.



I love this city, I do, but I don't always like the people. Didn't their mamas raise them better? Don't they themselves get tired of the smell? Isn't it kind of cruel to make your dogs stay in a yard near that? And isn't it a giant health hazard? And WHO ON EARTH THINKS THIS IS THE SOLUTION TO PICKING UP AFTER THEIR DOGS?

I wonder if this has anything to do with the disappearance of Francisco. Maybe the toxic fumes got to him. It's been good for the fruit tree, but not so good for general outdoor breathing.

If you happen to know offhand who I should call at the city, let me know, will you?

The mountain isn't getting any smaller.

* * *

another pic that makes no sense with this column
These cats do not smell bad.
But they are indeed spoiled rotten.

Posted by laurie at April 10, 2007 9:17 AM