Journal Entry - 08/07/11 10:38 pm est
I look down and see a rotting pile of dog poop sitting in the grass next to the lamppost that I always stay beneath to sit and read and think and be with myself. It’s opposite the little river that runs along the entire pathway. A modest stream rather, populated with ducks and swans and other water fawn (of which the sign at the entrance to the path has instructed us not to feed). I stand gazing, perturbed by the fact that surely the man that brought his dog along this river must have passed, at some point in time, the little trash can specially designed for dog poop, one way or another. I further inspect and see an assortment of ants and a peculiar lone butterfly who seems to be rather enjoying the disgusting gift that man and dog have left us. And to think all this time we stood passively as kids when butterflies befriended our noses, taking it as some romantic gesture from a loving animal. When in all reality, the beastly creature was just doing his best to distribute the fecal matter he’d collected to as many people as possible. Confident in his thinking that you would enjoy it as much as he did. My mind returns to the poop that shamelessly sits alongside my lamppost. I ask myself the statistical probability that of all the lampposts strung along this little river that man and dog would choose this one to leave a parting gift. Question unanswered, for I’ve never been good at mental math, I make my way along to the next lamppost in line, some dozens of steps off.
Upon my arrival, I see a single cigarette butt sitting calmly in the spot that I planned to occupy and silently wonder if every lamppost along this river has been reserved for some returning fellow in the same manner that movie-goers often reserve their seats with their purses and jackets when they go to collect popcorn or empty their bowels. I’m rather offended. I wonder if the same man and dog that graced us with their poop found it fit to leave this cigarette butt as well. Perhaps they were marking the path with personal treats, the way Hanzel and Gretel did. A trail that leads all the way back to the $35-a-night motel that they’re surely staying at. Then I remind myself that it’s not personal. It’s only a careless smoker who tossed a cigarette aside as he passed along the path. But I’m even more offended now. For in a single act of inconsideration, he gave a giant finger to the entire world. He’s pissed at all of existence, even though I’m the only one to bear witness to it. Newly offended on the behalf of all of humanity, I kick the cigarette butt aside and sit down.
I spent the majority of my summer living and working in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. This is a journal entry from my time there.