Much like Pavlov ringing a bell, I am preconditioned to lick my fingers whenever my dog poops. An odd association, I know, but the sides of plastic bags stick one to another, making it impossible to open efficiently with one hand. I lick to create adhesion. Wet fingers create friction between my skin and the bag. This friction is higher than the friction between the opposing sides of the bags, and liberates them one from the other. Thus scooping offending matter expelled from my canine has become a simple one handed affair (the other hand holds the leash).
Let there be no mistake. The licking process happens long before the scooping process. This is natural, as the reverses would be neither efficacious nor sanitary. But, alas, it feels ethically wrong to have any relationship whatsoever between my mouth and my “best friend’s” bowels.
The main issue is that I don’t notice I’m licking my fingers. That is, I don’t notice until I do it. At that point I wish I had not, because it seems uncivilized, but it’s too late. I’m stuck with pre-licked fingers and an unopened doggy bag. Likely the finger-licking motion started in a grocery store, or when turning pages of a novel, but was unwittingly transferred to opening refuse bags. Now the habit hijacks my actions without any input from the conscious part of my head.
It’s just as well, I suppose, I have more important things for that part of my brain.
I walk on soft green grass, enjoying a red sun blazing on the horizon, feeling the cool evening air on my face. I drop a warm bag in the designated receptacle, puzzling psychological mysteries as my dog trots along beside me.