Beware the dog (leash)

So I ran home from work in Central Park one night last week. Everything was going just great until I tripped over a dog.

But before I even get into that, I want to make two things clear: 1. I love dogs; and 2. It was totally not my fault.

Here’s what happened. I was running along, minding my own business, looking fabulous when I noticed this adorable old dog limping along next to its owner, who just so happened to be engrossed in his cell phone. This dog might have been a hair’s breadth away from death, but he still looked just as happy I was to be getting some fresh air. He was awesome.

I know what you’re thinking. How could I trip over a dog that I just admitted to being fully aware of – especially one that is too old to make any sudden movements? Well the answer is very simple: I didn’t trip over that dog. I tripped over a different one. Or more accurately, its leash – one of those extendable ones that was stretched across the entire path while the dog that was attached to it explored some bushes on the lawn and tried to kill people who were exercising.

It was nighttime so you best believe that I ran at full speed into that black cord – which is to say that I actually hit it at a pace of about 9:20/mile, putting neither me nor the dog at any real risk. But that didn’t stop the owner from being very upset. At me. For potentially harming the dog.

“You really need to be more careful!!” he scolded me. “You could have hurt my dog!”

Classic. It’s hard to say if I didn’t yell back because I was so shocked by his reaction, or if it was  because I was just too busy getting up (and petting the dog). For once, I was speechless and by the time I had my act together, the man had already moved on, so I did too. Except that ten minutes later I got furious and I decided that I would gladly suffer through another trip and fall if it meant that I could have a do-over on the aftermath. Only in New York could someone on a cell phone trip a person using only his Puggle and still have the nerve to get haughty about it.

The next day, because I had nothing better to do, I reenacted the whole affair for several of my co-workers. “Those leashes are illegal in the city,” one of them told me.  “You’re not supposed to use them for that very reason.”

So there. It’s possible that I had common sense and the law on my side. In fact, I wish I had this information yesterday when I could have done something good with it. Like shout it.

Later, a friend complimented me on how “classy” I handled the situation. He doesn’t know me very well and I told him as much. In fact, I said that if we were putting together a list of words that did not accurately describe me, “classy” would be at the very top. Followed by “quiet” and “measured.” And perhaps “understated.”

Regardless, I told him not to get used to my stories ending in a classy way because under normal circumstances, I would be much more likely to finish this episode out by slow-motion jogging next to that guy for two blocks while yelling, “Is this careful enough for you?!?!?”

But I’m glad I didn’t do that. Because that sounds like a great way to trip over a third dog. And god knows that’s not classy.


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