Pet Peeve


Mark and Alan are two burly men who cohabitate. On the roof deck of their apartment building, they created an illegal garden. (Alan is Italian and likes to cook with fresh vegetables.) They have a Bull Terrier, Cali, named after Maria Callas, the opera singer. She likes to roam around on the roof when her daddies are hard at work, tending to their garden.


Enter Simon, an Englishman living in Manhattan, who works at a high end department store. Simon enjoys smoking cigarettes on the roof at night when no one is around. Since he wears shoes all day long, he prefers to walk about barefoot. One particular evening, Simon stepped in some of Cali’s poop. Understandably he was upset. So after he washed off his foot, he went downstairs and knocked on Mark and Alan’s apartment door.

englishman in suit

“Excuse me,” he said. “Sorry to bother you, but I was on the roof, and I accidentally stepped in your dog’s poop. Might I suggest that you mind your dog more closely. She’s a lovely creature, but there seems to be quite a bit of her excrement up there on the roof. You might want to clean it up before someone complains to the super.”

“Thank you,” said Mark and Alan, standing in the doorway with their arms folded. “We’ll get right on it.” Simon thanked them both and walked away thinking he had done the neighborly thing by addressing this issue head on.

The next day, Simon awoke and began his daily ritual. He showered. Then he laid out his clothes on the bed: A pink Henri Bendel shirt, his gray bespoke suit, custom made by Paul Smith in London, and a pair of brown Ferragamo loafers. After he dressed, he stared at his reflection in the mirror. Despite his slight frame and short stature, Simon felt confident, fresh and ready to take on the world.

Opening the front door, he bent down to grab his copy of the New York Times and noticed it wasn’t there. As he stood up he was overcome with the most foul smelling odor. Behind him, smeared all over his door was what looked like feces. Horrified he nearly fell back and had to grab the doorway to prevent himself from hitting the floor. Of course his fingers found their way to an area that was slathered in dog doo. Without thinking Simon wiped his hand on his suit. When he realized what he’d done, he cried out in anger, but it was too late. There was poo on his shoes, his trousers and even his jacket. Before he knew it he was so consumed with the pungent smell of dog shit, that he had to run back into his apartment if fear that he might regurgitate.


Later, Simon did not complain to the superintendent. In fact, he was so horrified by this act of revenge that he was too frightened to leave his apartment for the rest of that day. Of course, he did wash his door using a sponge soaked in a bucket of bleach and hot water while wearing a pair of yellow Playtex gloves. Later he wrapped his clothes in a plastic bag and disposed of them down the trash compacter shoot never to be seen again. Mark and Alan, incidentally, were made to dismantle their illegitimate garden by the superintendent of the building. When Simon heard this, he moved out of the building in fear that they would blame him for notifying the super.

When I heard this story my Simon himself, I was outraged. What would drive a person to take such cruel action?

Then that night, I returned home from work one rainy evening. The apartment right off the elevator displayed the remnants of a person who had recently come in from the rain: a pair of plaid rubber boots and an umbrella were propped up by their door. I personally don’t feel that personal items should be kept by one’s front door. I take my umbrella inside and leave it in the sink to dry. I put my shoes in the bathtub or wipe them down before returning them back to the closet. Apparently, 7A has their own rule.

plaid rubber boots

The next morning on my way to work I noticed the boots were still there. The umbrella had been brought in but not those ugly plaid boots. Later that evening, when I returned home, the same boots were there waiting by the door. Like lonely abandoned children waiting for their mother to pick them up after school, this pair of twins had been forgotten. I stopped in my tracks to recall the weather that day. No, I remind myself, it didn’t rain today. So then why hasn’t this person taken their boots back inside?

“What’s the rule about leaving stuff outside your door?” I asked Chad.

He was reading Time Out magazine in bed, a bowl of nuts on his lap. “You’re not supposed to leave anything outside your door,” he said. That was all I needed to hear. Before retiring for the evening I gave 7A one last chance and peaked my head out the door. Still those boots had not been brought back inside, as the apartment rules state, according to Chad.

The next morning the same thing – boots by the door. That night, when I saw those boots standing there, dry and rigid without a speck of water on them, I decided to take action. Looking around to make sure the coast was clear, I picked up one of the boots and chucked it down the hall. Then I ran into my apartment. I immediately confessed to Chad what I had done. He laughed but then when he realized I was serious, he tried to fuck with me. “You know there are cameras in the hall,” he said.


After dinner, I took out the trash. That lone boot was still where it landed when I threw it earlier that day. Fearful that I might have been caught on video, I decided to casually pick it up and return it to its proper location. If I got caught in the act, I was simply going to lie and say that I found it and was merely doing the neighborly thing by returning it to its rightful owner.

When I awoke to go to work the next morning, I had no intention of looking at the rain boots by 7A’s door. If they were there, I was going to ignore them completely. This was not my problem. Standing there, waiting for the elevator, I couldn’t help myself and so I looked. Sure enough there they were, exactly as I had seen them for the past seven days. Then I wondered, I have hot sauce in my apartment that we bought in Mexico. What if I poured some inside those boots. Would that give the owner a hot foot when she puts them on?


Then I remembered poor Simon. Was it too much for him to ask that he be allowed to walk around barefoot without the threat of stepping in dog poop? Likewise were Alan and Mark wrong for blaming Simon when they had to destroy that little garden they had worked so hard to create?

Pouring hot sauce in those boots would have been as mean as shitting inside them myself. What have I become? I thought to myself. What do I care about a pair of boots anyway. Who made me hall monitor?

That very evening, the boots were miraculously gone. Perhaps 7A thought they were dry enough to finally be brought back inside….or maybe, just maybe, they sensed my growing anger over the presence of those boots in the hallway. Either way I was prepared if it happened again. I keep that bottle of hot sauce in my brief case now at all times.

Moral of the story: don’t let your dog shit where you eat and if you leave your boots outside your door be prepared to get a hot foot next time you wear them.


One Comment

  1. Posted June 8, 2009 at 1:22 am | Permalink

    Brandon 24 from miami, nice blog, Oh god what a good story, i live in a house down here with my famliy, we are very clean, clean neighborhood, untile the lady next door die and her son put the place up for section 8, the people that moved in are so bad, they put trash in the ally for no reason, in miami, the city give us cans, but no, the assholes still do it,and they fight each other, and they only come out at night, we hate them!!!!

%d bloggers like this: