Today’s weather was absolutely gorgeous–sunny, but a bit cool. Perfect for walking! I was planning on walking a middlin’ walk (5-6 miles), but because it was so nice, I just kept going and going. I ended up going for a nice 7.23 mile walk today. I felt pretty good, too. I think I could have easily kept going. My hip was bothering me a little, and my feet were a little sore, but I felt energetic! I felt like I could keep going all day!
This has been the best I’ve felt in probably a month. Last month, I put my back out, and it has taken weeks for it to get better. The new shoes have been working out okay so far. My goal for today’s walk was to walk to Cobbler Bill’s store on 82nd near Woodstock and have them take a look at my shoe and see if they could help me squish back the pointy part that keeps rubbing the achilles. A woman there did that for me, and it felt much better after that. No more rubbing. I wore moleskin on my heel again, so I got away with no blisters at all. Nice.
I wish I had remembered to bring my camera with me today, because some of the things I saw today were truly picture worthy. I saw the cutest little puppy playing with this older boy and little girl in their yard. The puppy came over to me and we played a little bit and he nibbled on my hand in his most ferocious puppy way. Too cute!
A few miles later, I watched a little girl, approximately five years old, walk outside and bring out her pet rat to play with. Apparently the rat was a house pet only and the idea of being unleashed on the world outside was terrifying, because the first thing the fat little black and white cutie did was climb straight up the little girl’s leggings and under her skirt! She shrieked with laughter, because of that rat under her skirt. I’m assuming it tickled. (And yes, I think rodents can be very cute. I like them. Except when they are invading my house. Then I don’t. Oh, and while I think squirrels are very cute, they are extremely clever and evil little boogers. So I don’t like them at all.)
However, less than two blocks later and just over the crest of a hill from the little girl and her rat, I came face to face with a very mean-looking brown dog. I’m guessing he weighed about 50-60 pounds and he was in the middle of the road. There was black dog in the yard near him who barked a few times, but from where I stood, it looked like the gate was shut. I wasn’t worried about him, but I wasn’t sure what to do about the dog in the street. Because I was wearing my new wool jacket, I had forgotten to grab the pepper spray out of my other jacket. I usually take it everywhere. And here I was, defenseless.
While I could have ran anywhere, it wouldn’t have mattered, because there is no way that I, as a lardbutt two-legged human critter, can outrun a lean, mean four- legged canine critter. And running would have likely set Mean Dog off anyway. I tried to skirt the edge of the road farther away from him and continue on. But since I was still coming his general direction–albeit a few feet further east–that was his cue to turn into Cujo.
He barked like a dog possessed and charged toward me; I felt my adrenaline spike and my heart-rate hit the roof! It’s amazing how many thoughts you can think in the split seconds before you’re sure you’re going to die.
This is it. I’m going to get mauled to death by a rabid dog in my own hometown before I ever start walking across America. The irony.
The dog was closing in and I didn’t like it one bit. So I decided the only way I could possibly avoid my imminent death was to show the dog that I’m the bigger bad-ass. I tried to make myself look bigger (which is isn’t easy–I’m 5’2″!). I was wearing a backpack and I figured that plus my my own hefty bulk combined with my arms akimbo would hopefully be big enough. I charged toward Mean Dog. I screwed up my face in the most angry, vicious look and snarled in a deep scary voice that I didn’t even know I had.
Mean Dog stopped in his tracks. He stopped barking and looked at me with this confused look of, “what the hell just happened?”
Mean Dog’s hackles were still raised, though, so I upped the ante.
“GO HOME!” I thundered, stepped even closer, and pointed away from me in a very commanding gesture.
He turned around and slinked over to the yard that had the other dog. Mean Dog’s body language screamed his uncertainty. I think he was scared of me!
He slipped through the open gate into the yard. (And here I thought that gate was shut! The black dog could have at any time joined in with Mean Dog and dined on my flesh! Ack!) The moment Mean Dog got with his buddy, apparently he felt safer. He started barking maniacally again. I could almost imagine him saying, “Yeah! Keep walking!” It was very much like I was back in high school, watching a fight that could have happened and didn’t happen. With those, the instigator of the almost-fight backs down, but yet always has to have the last word (especially once he’s in the safety of the vicinity of his friends) to show he’s still tough. Hah! That was Mean Dog to a T. I glared at him and walked as big and as in charge as I could past the house, all the while giving him the evil eye.
After I got out of eyesight of that house, I had to stop for a moment and gather up my wits. I think I left them back on the scene of the canine encounter. Holy cow! Thank goodness my bark was scarier than his.