Former 2:24 marathoner, now pushing 50 and reduced to a pitiable spastic shuffle • Magazine writer, book editor and author, and commentator on distance running since 1999; mostly a crank since approximately 2016 and possibly long before • Coach and adviser of less pessimistic perambulators • Dobie-mix owner Sentence-fragment impresario

Friday, January 4, 2019

Locals who should be put to the the sword: Part 1 of a limited series

I run with my dog, every day. (Lately my knee's been acting up more than it has in a while, so both of us may be out of the formal running picture soon.) I usually take her to off-road locations on public land, such as the South Boulder Creek Trail, the East Boulder Rec Center, C.U. South Campus, Teller Farm, the Cottonwood Trail, Twin Lakes, Davidson that I'm considering the range of our travels, it is apparent we enjoy more variety than I realized. I am usually too busy castigating my own lameness to appreciate this.

I've noticed that there is virtually nowhere in the area that is safe from the phenomenon of idiots allowing behaviorally challenged dogs to roam free, often in spite of immediate evidence that this is not just rude but unsafe. I know this is not unique to Boulder, but it may be more pervasive here because people labor under the delusion that their dogs and their children are inherently more valuable and less prone to disrupting other people than "normal" pets and kids (and to me these are more or less the same thing). Rosie is always, always on a leash when I run with her. Part of this is because I don't trust her not to behave aggressively toward other dogs. I've never seen her attack one, but I've known her to lunge at dogs now and then. Maybe only once in every 10 or even 20 encounters, but to me, if there is any chance that she might hurt another dog, there is zero chance I will create conditions that would facilitate such an event.

I am in the overwhelming minority on this issue. Wherever I go, people are taking advantage of the fact that dogs do not have to be on their leashes. This is fine to the extent that your dog is docile or at least remains 100 percent under your voice command at all times. It is plain, however, that some people understand full well that their dogs might be anywhere from over-exuberant to actively violent, and choose to simply roll the dice and let these animals roam free anyway. This most often happens in places where people don't expect to encounter other people walking or running, e.g., when it's really cold or along a rarely used rec path. These people are stupid for thinking this -- we're in Boulder, Colorado, where even the kinds of people who will be dead of natural causes within a year are out roaming the landscape for exercise. But more than that, they are assholes.

This morning, Rosie and I ran a few loops on a path that circles a field owned by the University of Colorado. The chancellor's house is in the interior of this field, as is a fenced-off obstacle course that includes a rappelling tower and other stuff I've never seen anyone use. One circuit of this path is about 0.8 miles. The western portion allows access to Bear Creek, which is not especially important unless you happen to have a dog that likes to cool off during a warm-weather run, often repeatedly.

We were barely 30 seconds into this when a pit bull that looked to be about 90 pounds and roaming free about 20 feet from its putative caretakers came barreling after Rosie, who weighs half that, and bunted her a few feet to one side amid much barking (Rosie was prepared to stand up for herself, however badly that might have gone). The two upright shitheads in charge of the bit bull -- as well as another unleashed dog hovering nearby -- hollered at the animal to back off, which it kind of did. As I often do when fearing for Rosie's safety, I became somewhat defensive and yelled over my shoulder, "Do you know how that fucking leash rolled up in your hand works?" (Online I tend to take pains to avoid undue profanity, but in meatspace I can be something of a trench mouth.) I was upset about the basic threat posed by the pit bull, but I was also irritated that I had felt my right knee offer its own opinion when I'd dodged to one side to avoid being hit by the charging pit bull myself.

I wanted to get in about three miles total, which meant either exiting the loop or running it a few more times, and I wasn't going to let these pissbags deter me. The next time I came around, the two shitheads were still ambling along in the same direction I was running, and their dogs were still off their leashes. At this point I actually imagined myself in a medieval-era Tarantino film, running with a giant broadsword and removing the heads of both of these idiots with one mighty swoop of my weapon, perhaps pausing to kick their remains into Bear Creek so as to forestall negative legal consequences to myself for at least the remainder of the way. This time, the guy of the pair grabbed the pit-bull's collar after I made a good deal of noise from 40 or 50 yards back to alert them to the fact that I was still on the same shared land they were. I made one more pass and they were still ambling along, looking hipsterish and douchey and in need of violent retribution, but this time their dogs had no interest in us. Still, the fact that these fuckoes opted to let a 90-pound dog remain off its leash after it purposefully barreled with malice aforethought into my own (leashed) dog signifies that had I produced a firearm at that moment and strafed the pair with five straight minutes' worth of deafening automatic gunfire, I would not have even gotten a ticket for a noise violation. What cocks.

It would be unwieldy to run with a machete mattock, lance, sword or other such lengthy, heavy implement, but there's nothing stopping me from running with a .38 special or maybe a light saber, the latter being very compact when not activated. I might not actually terminate anyone for these kinds of offenses, but I can't rule it out. People are dickheads, and it's probably high time to initiate absolutely ruthless form of retribution toward the kind of people I have described here.

I see lots of locals extending this "It's public land, so I'll treat it as my own 'cause I'm special" mentality to their own neighborhoods, where a certain protectiveness is actually warranted. In some areas, people are determined to not only discourage people from speeding through the city streets running through their neighborhoods, but keep anyone who doesn't live there from even using these streets. It seems fitting, then, that on the street where this happened last May, the number of "DRIVE LIKE YOUR KIDS LIVE HERE" signs and its derivatives has grown to the point at which these are literally an eyesore in the colloquial sense. There must be over two dozen of these signs lining the 0.3-mile-long, very wide strip of street in question. I run through here a fair amount and drive on the same strip about twice a week en route to whatever shit I need to get to northeast of here, often a place called Ozo. There's your goddamn clue. So now, my mind being the highly decorated landfill it's become over the years, now reads "SCREW LIKE MY MOM LIVES HERE" in response to this barrage of plaintive nonsense. No one capable of obeying street signs could speed on that road without doing serious damage to the undercarriage because the road includes several speed humps, bumps and lumps. The wheelbase of my own little MINI shitwagon is about two inches, but don't expect this to keep me from staging my best Dukes of Hazzard impression over the humps in this neighborhood before long, maybe hanging a long sharp blade out the window at 60 MPH to increase the chances of incurring a significant number of citizen casualties.

1 comment:

  1. That Damn Art Of Entitlement - Bothers Me A Lot - I had a large dog and so often pet owners would let their free running dumbA$$ invade our space - I chalk it up to burning their Karma Koupons - Another Perfect Example, Came around a bend in the trail and a snowshoer was flipping his dogs pile over the snowbank with his walking pole - I Appreciate Your Dukes of Hazzard Humor

    Stay Strong, Be You, & All The Best in 2019