Living Among the Great Unwashed

Listening to David Sedaris’ description of his life in Tokyo, (   I came to the conclusion that I could fit in seamlessly into Tokyoian society, at least on a very superficial level.

The living habits of that city are not all that dissimilar from those of my Dutch ancestors in the Mid-west. For instance, we were taught to remove our shoes outside the door. We didn’t have the sanitary, little slippers in a basket, in various sizes for guests as they do in Japan; socks were considered sufficient. In my thrifty family, those socks might be darned toe and heel, but they were always clean.

When I moved to California, I found that people looked at me oddly when I removed my shoes before entering. And eventually, someone explained that the oils from one’s foot dirtied a carpet worse than a street-soiled shoe. In southern California, people commonly wear sandals without socks. I don’t know whether shoes or feet contribute more to to dirty carpets but when in Rome… I still remove my shoes in my own home which results in socks covered in pet hair.

One of the habits of my fellow Californians that puzzles me is (well okay, I’ll be honest, ANNOYS me), is how they feel entitled, when in a public place, to leave a mess for someone else to clean up. I’ve seen adults make a huge, wet mess of a lavatory faucet and mirror and walk away. Do they assume the restroom attendant will pop in behind them to spare the next person having to wallow in their swamp? Hello, it’s Costco, dimwit, not the Ritz-Carlton.

Another thing we were taught as children is that our freedom ends where our neighbors’ sensibilities begin. In other words, don’t speak loudly in public where you may annoy someone else; don’t drive your car in a way that shows disregard for another’s safety; don’t allow your dogs to bark incessantly; keep the exterior of your house tidy; spay and neuter your pets; and generally be considerate of others, even those you don’t really understand.

So, I go through life wiping down faucets, picking up trash, adopting discarded animals, and generally trying to be the change I wish to see in my fellow man, all the while shaking my head and grumbling under my breath, “What slobs!”

7 thoughts on “Living Among the Great Unwashed

  1. To remove its shoes before entering the house ? I confess humbly it is not me , Judy . Probably because the yard is covered by a pavement always clean.However I remove my boots when i come from the muddy garden!
    Everyone has his habits ; this is the pleasure of the diversity.
    Love ❤


  2. OMG Judy, I love, love, love David Sedaris. Isn’t he the best? I don’t take my shoes off in the house, my fallen feet need the support of my shoe + orthotics or they end up in great pain. I, too, am annoyed by inconsiderate people. LOL at this one: “Do they assume the restroom attendant will pop in behind them to spare the next person having to wallow in their swamp? Hello, it’s Costco, dimwit, not the Ritz-Carlton.” Good to know there are at least two of us out there wiping down faucets, picking up trash, adopting discarded animals, etc. The power of good examples, like the wheels of justice, move very slowly but it’s better than not at all. 🙂


    1. Sometimes just knowing I’m not a freak, that there are others out there who were taught consideration of others, makes everything okay. When you come to visit, feel free to leave your shoes on; just know, they will be caked with hair when you leave.
      Yes, and I LOVE to listen to David Sedaris narrate his own books! His voice is perfect.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m with you 110%. I get so annoyed by the inconsiderate walking among us. When shopping there are some women who knock clothing off the hangers and just walk away! I’m forever hanging it back up… someone has to do it!


    1. And don’t you just hate it when you finds some off-the-shoulder type sweater on the floor that keeps falling back off the hanger when you try to hang it up? You don’t dare to give up for fear someone will see you walk away and think you’re one of THOSE women.


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