Just around the time I moved to Lebanon, the Lebanese government actually did something, which was quite a feat in its own right. The decision to ban smoking in all public places, including bars and argileh cafes, was somewhat controversial. People complained about the negative effect on the economy, the disconnect from the culture, and the sheer randomness of this legislation being passed while so many other seemingly more important issues received little or no attention.

Since the smoking-ban has practically been all but forgotten—aside from the occasional pub that proudly upholds it, which is admirable—I’m suggesting we bring up another issue, and it's one that affects us all.

Dog shit.



(Image via CNN)

Yes, I said dog shit. Although I absolutely adore the new trend of everyone in Beirut having a dog, some fines need to be handed out for neglecting to pick up your dog’s feces. I don’t care how small or cute the breed is. Shit isn’t cute. Ever.

If legislation can’t be pushed forward, can we at least have a massive PSA campaign informing people about the hazards of leaving dog shit everywhere?

I've previously prided myself on the ability to navigate the minefield of shit that Hamra has become. Even while texting and scrolling Instagram, I stealthily manage to keep one eye ahead on the sidewalk to avoid any unpleasant mishaps. That is, until last week.

It was getting dark and I was rushing home, and I was feeling excited about restarting an exercise routine. Neglecting to keep my eyes on the ground for a few precious seconds, I suddenly felt a stickiness on the bottom of my converse kicks. Looking down, I was confused. What had I stepped in? Why was my shoe sticking to the sidewalk at each stride?

Not noticing anything in the vicinity, I strolled onward, assuming it was any number of the various garbage that pollutes Beirut. By the time I got home, the stickiness seemed to be gone and I assumed whatever it was had removed itself from my shoe. I was wrong.

Removing my shoes in my bedroom, the smell was overpowering. Flipping my shoe upside down, I cursed audibly and rushed to the bathroom. My mind raced back to my father taking care of my shoes after a similar childhood snafu. He used the garden hose, something I didn't have. I had to settle for the removable showerhead in the bathroom.

I managed to pull myself together from the shock and head back outside a while later to begin my evening run. Passing a dog with its owner trailing behind, I glared, unfairly blaming it for my recent mishap. Not enough people pick up dog shit in Beirut, and I'm not having it.

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