I visited a small town the other day, which is quite boring in and of itself, until you hear the rest of the story.
As I was walking between buildings down the main road, I heard someone above me yell, “Gardyloo!”
I looked up just in time to see a large glob of liquid mess heading my way, tossed out a window from a wooden bucket held by a woman who either didn’t see me and was slinging slop accidentally toward me, or did recognize me, and was aiming for me with the day’s juicy rejects on purpose. I find that I generally don’t know whether someone is out to get me or not.
Of course, being the vocal wonder that I am, I opened my mouth to yell something back to her, such as, “Gardyloo, yourself” or some such witty retort, and then realized that a mouthful of the goop was not what I wanted at the moment. So I quickly—with the reflexes of a cat, I might add—clamped my teeth and lips together and ran, escaping with just a few mushy drops on my boots.
A few onlookers looked on without helping me in my moment of dire need. (OK, I admit it now, it wasn’t quite that serious, but I didn’t know it at the time.) When I asked someone why someone was aiming wet discards at someone like me, the kind elder said that the woman from above was just throwing away refuse from her house, as was the practice in their town. He added that at least she warned me that it was coming—not everyone does that.
It was then that I learned that “Gardyloo” is a warning to those passing beneath open windows from whence slop would be flung that slop would be flung, and the passersby better move from whence they were. Some villages are not quite as civilized as I am, if that makes any sense, and their waste goes out their windows and onto the dirt roads, or wherever they decide to put it. I decided to put a stop to that, if I could, being the good citizen that I am. And also not wanting any more ooze on my shoes.
I spoke to a town elder and convinced him, in the convincing manner that I have, that it would make more sense to put that “stuff” into a pit or deep hole of some kind, so as not to untidy up the walkways, and instead, to keep everything all neat-and-tidy-like. It was as if they had never thought of that, which apparently they had not. I supervised a group of village-folk in their digging of an appropriate place outside the town limits to hold the squishy ickness and afterward was presented an armful of fresh baked goods for my contribution to their general wellness, with a promise of more whenever I paid them future visits.
That’s my Gardyloo tale—for some reason, someone came up with an expression to warn others about waste in the air instead of finding a way to keep that aforementioned waste actually out of the air.
I wonder what other great ideas I can bestow upon neighboring hamlets and towns.