We have a book coming out in a few months about all the things that can annoy people. Noises, smells, and other sensory things are pretty universal. Whether you’re in Ohio or Moscow, nails on a chalkboard is annoying. What’s weird is when you look at deeper things — how things annoying you because of your sense of morality or world view.
Sometimes I walk my dog down to an apartment complex parking lot about two blocks away. It contains the closest patch of grass, and while my pup will do his business in the middle of the sidewalk, he gets really excited about grass.
This morning was no exception and he wagged his little tail and looked up at me when we walked past the block I would normally turn if we weren’t going to the parking lot. He sped as we got closer and rushed up to the grassy area in between cars where he stopped to carefully sniff whatever it is that dogs sniff in grass.
A woman leaving the lot in her car asked me if I lived there. I told her I lived down the street, to which she replied that this was a private lot. So I pulled my puppy away from the precious grass to walk yet another block away from my apartment to the public park.
I know that in any legal sense she’s right. It’s a private parking lot, but that privacy technically extends to people cutting through to shorten their walk home and dogs sniffing the grass. And I guess she’s annoyed by other people’s dogs, or just by people taking advantage of her grass when there’s a park a block away. Fine.
But I’m also annoyed. Because I’m not a public menace, I clean up after my dog. I don’t hurt anyone and there’s not a gate or a door blocking people from walking through the lot.
Mostly I annoyed because if I were in her position, even if I were annoyed by some dog sniffing a parking lot inlet of grass, I wouldn’t say anything. Because in a city with limited grass and lots of “NO DOGS ALLOWED ON GRASS” signs on most green spots, it’s mean to kick a dog out of one of the non-discriminatory patches.
Or maybe I’m just annoyed because I know I was wrong.