A few weeks back I found myself faced with a revolting question of modern etiquette. I was staying as a guest in somebody else’s house, at a time when my hosts happened to be looking after a third party’s dog. My hosts were out, leaving me in sole charge of the dog. The dog seized the opportunity to defecate, horrifyingly, on the key stretch of floor between the couch and the big-screen TV. The mess looked like something Jackson Pollock might have produced if he’d ever elected to work in the medium of putrid gravy. It was so extensive, and so centrally located, that there was no way I could plausibly pretend not to have seen it. So I had two options. I could clean it up; or I could exercise my right, as a non-dog person of over thirty years’ standing, to wait for an avowed dog-lover to get back home and put his passion into practice.
I cleaned it up.
Let’s say I’d decided not to. Let’s say I’d just left it there, and tried to get on with my doomed ambition to live a life dedicated to a non-involvement with dogshit ... [read more]