Thursday, April 21, 2005

Things that annoy me, exhibit A

You, with the dog on that little stringy roller leash, the one that extends the full length of my bike trail but that won't retract for the life of me. You know that you are on a path shared by other dog walkers, joggers, rollerbladers and cyclists, yet you still allow your perfectly groomed purebred to wander across the path whenever it damn pleases. (For the record, I am a dog lover, and my own dog is a purebred - but he understands the need for a leash of normal length.)

I realize it may not occur to you, but you might want to reconsider that leash when I am coming up from a long distance away, traveling at a fast clip on a bike that is incapable of stopping on a dime. Last time I almost clotheslined my bike on your dog's leash when it decided to bolt away from you in pursuit of an interesting squirrel. Trust me: my bike might get a few dings and I might lose a few teeth if we collide, but your arm will be much worse for the wear. I'm sorry that I lack the psychic powers required to predict when Fido might swerve unexpectedly, although I don't think a collision would change that. Still, if given the choice between flying off the path down a hill and running into you/your leash/etc, I would choose the latter.

Don't make me start carrying scissors so I can snip wildly at every leash that crosses my route. I know I might seem a little crazy when I roll past you screeching "On your left!" and giving you the evil eye, but try to put yourself in my (clipless pedal) shoes. If you were bolted down to your bike and some person let their dog pull its leash into your front tire, wouldn't you also have to suppress slightly homicidal tendencies?

What's the point of those leashes anyway? The dog is still on a leash - it's not like you can actually play fetch with him. Instead, it lets the dog get just far enough out of reach to be in real danger if it dawdles when you cross the street. Because of the somewhat faulty retract button, it also lets the dogs pull you almost anywhere - the one time I used those leashes, a pair of exuberant goldens almost dragged me into a pond. Those leashes are clearly health hazards, contributing to strained forearms, sore shoulders and back pain: really, the FDA ought to ban them for the public good.

If we live in a cosmically just universe, the person who invented those retractable leashes will suffer some sort of untimely demise involving his own creation. Until then, I'll just keep swerving and longing for the good old days, when all you had to worry about were off-leash psycho dogs tearing off your back tire.