My wife is a by-the-book kind of person, straight as an arrow, rule-of-law, etc., etc. I’m more from the school of “rules as guidelines”, pretty much rule and law-abiding so long as the rules make some sense. For example, a speed limit of 100 km/hr on our superhighways makes little sense, and like many, if not most people, I tend to run at what I consider a more “reasonable” 115-120 kph. Of course, I take the risk of getting caught and when I do I also accept the ticket graciously and deservedly; part of the cost of doing business as it were. You may well disagree, and I respect that.

Here’s another example. A couple of years ago, we had reserved a condo on the beach in Bethany, Delaware. The official time to pick up your keys was 2 PM. After a very long drive from Montreal and an overnight stay in a crappy motel (a non-smoking room that reeked of cigarettes so much that my wife slept in the car all night), we got a 5 AM start on the final leg of our trip, arriving in Bethany at 9 AM. My wife suggested we spend the 5 hours till key pick-up time wandering the streets of the town and perhaps taking a nap in the car. I balked at this and suggested instead that we go see if we could pick up the key early. She was incensed. “You always want a special deal, don’t you?”. What makes you think you’re better than everyone else?. Why do you want to disturb the people at the reception when they’re busy trying to get ready for arrivals”. Etc., etc.

We arrived at the Reception. I went in alone as my wife was pouting. I politely explained to the young lady that we had arrived early from our travel and might it be possible to at least put our bags in the room and freshen up. She looked at her roster and said, “Oh, you’re so lucky, by chance yours was the first room we cleaned this morning and you may have it right away, it’s ready to go”. I dangled the keys as I approached the car with my wife in it. She glared at me. “Ask and ye shall receive”, I said to her. She shook her head in a mixture of disbelief and anger. Note: She did however, appreciate the warm shower and chance to take a nap after such a long trip (sarcasm).

There is however, a new kind of scofflaw in town; I call them the Passive-Aggressives. I only became aware of them after I started taking daily walks in the nature preserve five minutes from our home. This is a beautiful park, heavily wooded, with undulating hills and rocky streams fiorded by small wooden bridges. Clearly posted at all the entrances to the park are signs showing that dogs must be on a leash and that poop must be picked up. I’ve heard that Public Security officers occasionally patrol the park and hand out tickets to violators.

So what do I see daily? Shit-laden poop bags hanging off the trees like Christmas ornaments! Dogs running free, trailing the leash attached around their necks behind them! I suppose the latter scofflaw is playing the “Oops officer, the dog is on a leash but he just accidentally broke free for a moment”. Not a bad con actually. But the ornamental poop hangers? These guys I just don’t get. If you’re going to bother to bring the bag with you and pick up the shit, why would you hang it on a tree branch????

I’ve tried to think of possible explanations for the poop decorators. Maybe they don’t want to carry the bag with them and plan to pick it up on the way back, and then forget? Perhaps they resent the fact that there are no garbage cans on the trail other than at the entrances and exits, and are trying to make a “statement” to the powers that be: “I’m willing to pick up the poop, but give me a place to dump it”. Who knows; as my Jewish friends say; “Go figure”.

The Passive-Aggressives make me actually appreciate the aggressive scofflaws. There are many of those too. I see them with dogs loose and no leash in hand, no poop bag; the dog shitting at will on the trail. At least you know where they stand..they don’t give a shit about you or anyone else….well, er, actually…they do give a shit…or two.

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