My New Hobby

Last year, somehow I stumbled upon a website called ScoopThePoop.net and contacted the owner about perhaps creating some French pooh flags. Which he did. But between my trip to L.A., making a short film, and moving around way too much, I forgot about printing them up and flagging pooh.

Until now.

Knowing the end of my time in Paris is near (at least for now. I just don’t know what my plan is and will spend time sorting that out in L.A.) I had to do something. I couldn’t leave without taking action against a few of the things Parisians need to work on, because I want to make the world a better place. So I am letting certain irresponsible dog-owners know that we DO notice the crap they leave behind, and we are not OK with it.

And this is how.

Pooh to you!
Pooh to you!

Paris is well-known for the crap on the sidewalks and if I could just get the ball rolling on this public shaming, perhaps others will want to join me and continue the mission once I’m gone. But to do that, they will need the flags! So you will find the downloadable and printable PDFs in French and in English at the end of this post.

This new hobby has really changed my mood while out walking and stumbling upon (or narrowly avoiding) dog poop. As I walk my own dog, or as I’m walking to the store, or to class, or wherever I’m going…. instead of seeing a pile of stinking poop and silently going “AAAAAGGGGGH!” I reach into my pocket and pull out a flag, taking a bit of delight in the thought that this doggy’s owner most likely will pass by again and see what those of us who buy (biodegradable) doggy bags think. If you can’t read it, it says “Mon maître est un gros dégueulasse” which loosely translated means “My master is an inconsiderate jerk.” Or at least that’s what the English version says. I did ask one friend if it made sense to him, and he said yes, sooooo…. there you go.

I’ve already flagged almost a dozen poop piles, it’s about time to print out some more flags. I have only taken photos of two, because really, it just feels weird to photograph poop.

If you’re interested in shaming irresponsible dog owners in your English or French speaking city, please feel free to download these printable flags! Also feel free to print them on colourful paper. :-)

English Pooh Flags

French Pooh Flags

And…. that’s not the only disgusting habit I’m going to try to get people to quit.

If you’ve spent any length of time in Paris, you’ve probably seen some grown man pissing in public, right? When there are cafés and bars and even free public toilets practically everywhere you look, there he stands in broad daylight, peeing on a wall.

Well. That drives me nuts, and I wish it hadn’t taken me until a trip to Barcelona to find a way to show them that it’s not appreciated.

Kiss Kiss Squirt Squirt
Kiss Kiss Squirt Squirt

Sold in packs of 6 for about 5€, I found pocket-sized water guns. Parfait. If you’re going to behave like a dog, I’ll treat you like a dog.

I haven’t had a chance to use it yet. The only two opportunities I’ve had recently were 1. when I forgot to pack my gun and 2. when there were three drunk teenagers in a park and I was walking to the metro in heels and a corset (what, I was at the Paris Burlesque Festival). Not the best time to exact punishment. I hope I get to do it at least once before I leave, but if not… I will definitely be packing them in my suitcase on my way back. And girls, I have 5 extra if you’d like to join my gang.

4 comments

  1. Marion

    As a citizen of France and a lifelong Parisian who has worked my way up from shit jobs and barely getting by to finally having a stable career and supporting a family…I would just like to say that you do not deserve the right to come here and simply exist. That is all you have done since your arrival and the fact that the government keeps renewing your right to leech off of our society is simply baffling.
    Every single one of your blog posts seem to blame or criticize the French system, places and people you interact with, and even the few friends you have here. It’s funny that you feel entitled to do so when you “couch-surf” off of people who DO have the means to pay rent, have had long periods of time where your only income was based off of 5 cent-per-view Adsense offers, and overall have never exerted any effort to find a real fucking job. Do you know how many silly jobs for beginner French speakers are offered in this city? Even your lack of experience in virtually everything could qualify you to be a nanny, a waitress, or even a metro conductor. The fact that you feel sooo above picking up a newspaper or googling “available jobs in Paris, France” is hysterical and it’s no wonder why none of your friends–who have to go to their job in the morning while you debate what your next talent search is going to be–want you on their couch. Your sense of entitlement is something akin to what a silly 15-year-old feels while living with mommy and daddy, but you are a grown woman.
    On behalf of the city of Paris and I’m sure the entire country of France, we are ecstatic to see you leave and we hope you get your “big break” in LA (where, by the way, thousands of people pick up and move every year thinking they are the next big star) and never return to our country. I cannot say we will miss you, but your blog will always provide a nice laugh when I get home from a bad day…AT WORK.

    • thedreamer

      It’s really great to hear that you’re able to have a career and a family, it’s what a lot of people aspire to. :-)

      I’ve chosen a different route in life, however, and although some days I may bitch about the difficulties of this path I don’t regret having taken it. :-) I have friends with “normal” jobs and families back home (and here), and I don’t envy them at all. I’ve chosen a life of uncertainty instead of a life of security (though nobody’s life is really secure), because the world is too big and life is too short to do anything else (for me, anyway). I couldn’t live a life where I’d never left my home town, where I’d spent all my life working and then dedicated to children. Many people can, but because I chose not to, I’ve seen and done things that many people would only dream of. And my heart aches for them when they express the desire to have what I have, because I wish I could give it to them.

      I tend to be a bit idealistic, yes, but what would the world be like without those who want to make it better? Just because you count more years on earth or more wrinkles on your face, does it mean you have to give up on the world? Does it mean you have to give up on dreaming, on thinking there must be other ways of living – and actually going out to find it? I think you should check out The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom. He talks about all the “agreements” we are entered into by society and by our parents. I’m sure there are other books out there about similar things. But I think we all fall into this trap and believe we should be and do what others think we should be and do. I’m happy to be different, even if it means I don’t “fit in.” I’ve always known that there wasn’t just one path that everyone should follow, and I’ve always fought to take the road less traveled.

      I’m sad that you are OK with people treating your city the way they do, though. I should think perhaps you would have more pride in your city and your country. No matter where I live I wouldn’t tolerate people and their pets defecating on my streets. Wherever I live, I’m proud of it and protective of it and want to make it better. The world is my home, and all the people in it are my neighbours. I’ve saved others from being pickpocketed, I’ve made sure my friends are not living on the streets, I’ve done my part to keep cities clean, even if it means picking up after somebody else. But I’m aware not everyone feels the same responsibility to our world…. (which is why I end up picking up after them…)

      I also feel as though you think you know more about me than you really do, so I’ll give you a little backstory. :-)

      When I left home in Pennsylvania at 18 for Los Angeles, all I had was about $300 (from working at the Renaissance Faire), a credit card, and a car that was older than I was, which I had purchased for $150. It took 3 days to get there and I spent that $300 on gas and then had to buy a new radiator when mine overheated. I didn’t have any support from my parents (I still do not receive any money from them, except about $50 on birthdays), and once I got to L.A. I worked 5 days a week to make less than $1200 a month. I brought home food from work, and recall a lot of cheap Chinese take-out in my sketchy part of the Valley. I worked my way up from there to make more money and take time off to have time for acting classes and doing short films. I had been diagnosed with social anxiety and went through several medications to try to help me out, but none worked, and I actually passed out from stress at one point while job hunting. I was worn out on background work though, so I had to get creative and do odd jobs like selling things on ebay (which is practically a full time job – I knew everyone at the post office, I was there so often) and painting houses. Things that wouldn’t give me anxiety. I didn’t have health insurance, and was climbing up on 30 foot scaffolding to paint some millionaire’s wall. That was a different kind of anxiety, but one I could handle. lol.

      It was around that time that my fiancé’s daughter passed away (see her story at http://www.ozville.org, the website I started in her honour) and my life fell apart. It’s been just scraping it back together since then, reevaluating priorities and beliefs, challenging myself and facing fears. Because after that, what’s the worst that can happen now?

      Anyway, at some point that year I started investigating how to make money online, and through the help of a friend managed to make an income with it. I took a trip to Paris as an escape, and then again the next year after my break-up. It just became a safe place for me. Far away from the memories. I’m still afraid of the memories that lay everywhere in L.A…. the midnight dash to the hospital up the 10 Freeway, the spot I last hugged her goodbye. There’s no chance of crossing those paths while in France. But they have to be faced at some point.

      So I decided to try living here for several reasons, that being one. And because I think Paris is a beautiful city and the people I’ve met have been great, I want to defend it from those who aren’t treating it with the respect it deserves, and also protest against injustice in whatever form I see it. Practically every day Parisiens (or those sans papiers) are protesting in the streets, so why can’t I protest something as well?

      I’m not quite sure how I’m leeching off your society, as I have been to the doctor’s exactly 3 times (and only at the insistence of a French person) and I refuse to collect unemployment even if I could. I pay taxes with everything I buy, and I’m sure I support your economy in other ways. I used to volunteer at a mission lunch at the church to help feed your poor, and I do whatever else I can for those in need. Though I know I could do more. I’m frustrated that my French has been moving along so slowly, because I would love to do some volunteering with the homeless or elderly, but I’m lacking in confidence… :-/

      I also may have a different opinion than most about where people should have the right to live. You, obviously, have never gone through the process of trying to live somewhere where a government wants to restrict your right to do so. Personally, I don’t believe in citizenship, or “belonging” to a country. I think people should be free to move and live wherever they want, without the governments getting in the way. I don’t think God ever intended for one man to tell another where he could or could not build a home.

      France is not exactly a welcoming place, either, if you’re not aware…. I have never been able to get approved for a decent apartment because I am a freelancer and do not have any French relatives with money to back me up should I decide not to pay rent. I even offered to pay a whole year in advance, and they wouldn’t bite. In the US, you’re responsible for your rent. Not your parents. You are on your own when you sign a lease.

      As for couch surfing, I’ve been host to several couch surfers, here and in the US. One is perpetually homeless by choice, and if he were in need again I would host again, as I know he would be there for me (though right now he’s there for me in Vienna or something). As a citizen of a country where people think that it’s the right thing to do to pay into a system that supports people who are poor or don’t have jobs, it seems odd to me that you would criticize the practice of someone who has a home sharing it with someone who needs a place to stay. If I have a sleeping surface, and I know someone who needs it, I feel almost obligated to offer it.

      As for my Adsense income, I’ve been living off of it for several years and it even gave me the means to put money in savings, and a downpayment on a house several years ago (which I am in the process of selling now). It was unfortunate that it took a turn for the worse while I was in France and trying to work on some projects, and it was because of this turn that I had decided to return to the US to work for a while. Things again did not go as planned this summer, and I’m getting back several months after I estimated I would need to, financially. Because I had only planned on being back in Paris for a short time this summer, I didn’t think it worth the time and effort to find a job, only to have to quit. And I also didn’t see it as being very fair to the potential employers as well. But don’t assume I wasn’t looking online and in papers like FUSAC for potential part-time jobs or gigs. Just because I don’t mention something here doesn’t mean it didn’t happen. There are plenty of things I don’t talk about on my blog. In fact, I spent almost every hour of every day in July learning skills for a new (online) job (which I am keeping mum about until I make more progress. I don’t exactly believe in “jinxing” something, but I’m not ready to blog about it yet) and throughout the year I have also been building up another stream of Adsense revenue, which in case you may not realize, takes some time and effort. Just because I don’t have an office to report to doesn’t mean I’m not working.

      In closing… many people are sad to see me go, and telling me they hope I come back soon. Which I will, after focusing my effort on writing screenplays with a writer in L.A., and working on my music, free of the stress of where I or my pets will live. I still have plans to create a webseries here, and I have others who want me back to work on their own projects when they’re ready. The main issue here has been housing, and now that I know that, I can plan accordingly for my return.

      But no matter where I am, I will not stop fighting for people to be treated justly, and for teaching people to respect the environment and have consideration for their neighbours. I will walk the streets of Los Angeles with pooh flags in my pocket just as I do here.

      And I will continue to believe that success does not hinge on how much money you make, how many children you have, or how other people see you, unless your goal is simply to make a lot of money, to have a lot of children, or to have others see you a certain way. Life is to be lived, and success is not to be defined by others. Working your youth away, spending your time – the most valuable resource we have – doing things you don’t want to do…. why? Yes, I’ve had jobs I didn’t enjoy, but I’ve had plenty more that I did. I learned young that the last thing I wanted to do was to wake up dreading my day and rejoicing when it’s over. I believe in following your passion, your curiosity. In taking risk, in being spontaneous, in falling down, in getting up, in learning new things and shedding old things. I’m not done becoming the person I want to be. I’m only 31, and if you’re done at 31 well then either you haven’t gone deep enough or you’ve reached Nirvana, so good for you. :-)

      So, for whatever reason you enjoy reading my blog, whether it’s for a laugh, or for inspiration, or just to learn what another soul’s human experience is like…. thanks for stopping by and I hope you continue to get what you want out of it. :-)

      • Marion

        Your’e only 31..I will admit that from pictures I thought you were much older. So perhaps your situation isn’t as bleak as I thought just yet.

        Your backstory isn’t really necessary, nor does it change anything I thought before. You took a different path, had a tragedy, have “social anxiety”…welcome to life. These all just sound like rambling excuses to sit on the sidelines. If everyone lived your life where would the world be? There surely would not be any free couches for you to surf. And I’m sure your friends appreciate that you “don’t envy them at all” as they work for the very place you expect to stay for free. As far as the French requiring proof of funds to rent an apartment, of course. It is very difficult to evict so they need to know in advance that you have the income to cover expenses. Having lived in the United States myself for two years I know they require this proof as well.

        I do find it cute that you think everyone not taking your path(whatever that even means) must be boring, miserable or has “given up on dreaming”. After working very hard to own my dream company, yes I now have a husband and an adopted child to share life with. At only four years your senior, I have travelled to more countries than you probably know exist and I now have the means to bring a family along on these journeys.

        I greatly enjoy giving chances and income to newcomers of France, even if my industry isn’t their ultimate goal, because I remember someone in Malaysia doing the same for me. But the point is that no matter where most people go, they look for a way to work and contribute. You protesting dog poop is hardly benefiting the city you chose to freelance in or the citizens whose income taxes pay for infrastructure, agriculture, healthcare, social servants, etc. It’s a shame you are too self-centered and justifying to seek opportunities that you think are of no use to you. But if it works for you, maybe we all should become average at a few “talents” and sit back waiting for something great to happen at another’s expense. Good luck, I fear you will need much of it.

  2. Kendal

    That’s funny, because every time someone guesses how old I am, their guesses start in the early-20’s.

    I don’t think I’m sitting on the sidelines, far from it. I’ve had friends tell me that I inspire them and never cease to surprise them with the things I’m doing.

    The people I have stayed with are freelancers, in charge of their own worlds…. they aren’t people who go to offices day in and day out. The last person I stayed with works in film as well, and we were together nearly 24 hours a day. After that, he said his top priority right now is translating a script he has into English so I can more easily understand it and possibly work in it with him. I think he appreciated my stay very much.

    They don’t require what the French require. I’ve lived in apartments, guest rooms, etc… never had a problem and I never had a full-time job. In fact, the first apartment I rented when I was 19, I rented with an unemployed friend (for whom I loaned money for the first and last month). We had no problems getting that apartment, despite the fact that I worked as a background actor and he didn’t have a job. Like I said, I offered a whole year up front in Paris, and they wouldn’t accept.

    So far I believe I’ve been to 13 countries outside of the US. Of course I want to see more, but I prefer long stays to short vacations. And travel like that is not really a priority. I want to have a purpose for being in a place, not just be there and sightsee. I’m not much of a tourist, I need to be involved to enjoy my time in a place. That was the idea behind this website, that I would start planning trips to places where I would 1. create something and 2. volunteer somewhere. Unfortunately the two trips I took this year didn’t turn out like that (scheduling conflicts…).

    And I love to travel by myself or with one other person. I like to walk the streets alone. I do remember a trip my ex and I took to Hawaii with his kids… they had fun, but it’s definitely a different experience. At the end I joked “why don’t you just leave me here?” Next time I’ll probably go alone.

    OK, so a street clear of poop would not help you or anyone else out at all? I beg to differ. Every city could benefit from less crap on the streets.

    And just because I’m lousy at being ruthlessly competitive and using other people to get ahead, doesn’t mean the talents I am marketing are average. Did you miss when I was nominated for Best Actress (and the short I produced was also nominated for Best Film, Best International Film, Best Cinematography, among others) last year? I do have people who want to work with me, but film projects take a while to get off the ground when you’re not Steven Spielburg.

    Anyway, I have confidence that things are going just as they should. I try to live a life of honesty and integrity and although many times that seems to just slow down “progress”, I will still take that route. And if some people don’t see what I offer, it’s OK. Because I know there are others who do, and if I think I can make a positive difference in the world, that’s what I’m going to do.

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