Saturday, July 30, 2005

Weirdo The Dog Murderer

Shelley's 3.7mi

Jan and I went out to meet some friends at a party in the neighborhood last night and I ended up drinking a little more than my share. We were drinking Hefeweizen from a keg and I think it was a little more powerful than your average keg of Budweiser. I had enough that at some point a guy that I had been talking to outside excused himself and went inside ostensibly to get another drink. While he was inside he told the present company, Jan included, that he had been talking to some “weirdo” outside who wouldn’t shut up. Jan and our other friends looked outside to see only me standing there. They thought this was the most hilarious thing they had seen all night.
I had a ten o’clock meeting in north Tampa the next morning, and I had been going on and on about how I was going to run there in the morning. After a protracted battle with the alarm clock, I got up about 9:30 and just barely managed to make it there on time by car. Running, for the time being, was completely out of the question.
In the afternoon I started to feel a little better just as the thunderclouds started rolling in to view. It only rained for a few minutes, but the sky was black and there was lightning and thunder all around. I watched on the satellite as the system moved to the north, and as soon as it seemed to have passed I headed out.
I followed the river to the north over a new route that I discovered while out driving around the other day. There is a sidewalk and an alley that connects Hollywood on the east of I-275 to Hanlon on the west. The path goes under I-275 and along the river. I had been exploring the neighborhood off of Hanlon between Florida and the interstate. This area consists of a couple blocks of riverfront property that have been kind of forgotten due to their isolation and their former proximity to a large and severely neglected public housing project. This housing project has since been demolished and rebuilt as a much more attractive apartment complex, and I have a feeling that this area will not be forgotten for long.
The thunderheads were still visible to the north and there was an almost constant undertone of thunder, but the lightning was infrequent and obviously far away. I crossed Nebraska Ave. at the foot of the bridge and watched intently for the roofs of cars cresting its rise. I ran down Hanlon to the east and into what turned out to be a dead end, so I backtracked out and headed south. I ran down Patterson past one of my favorite houses on the river. This three-story house was apparently designed by an architect as his personal residence and has since been subdivided into three units. I remember when we were looking for houses in 1997; this house was on the market for $175,000 which seemed like an astronomical amount of money to me when I was making $11 an hour. This house could probably sell for a half million dollars now. If only I’d had 175 grand when I was twenty-three.
This was about the point when the dogs started chasing me. It started with the chow. Avery rough, obviously street hardened chow came running from a driveway on my right and fell in behind me. What scared me was that the dog never made a sound. When a dog runs after you and barks ferociously, it’s obvious that he’s trying to drive you away. When a dog silently sneaks up behind you, my guess is that he’s going to bite your ass. I know that dogs can smell fear and my only hope is that this scent is overpowered by the strength of my body odor. I smell like a wino in a sauna.
Whenever I’m in one of these predicaments, my mind starts running through all sorts of wild scenarios. What do I do when (not if) this dog bites me? Should I punch it in the head? I don’t think I’ll be able to kick it because it will probably be latched onto my leg. I start thinking that I should be running with a stick for protection. Somehow though, this seems like an invitation to aggressive behavior for both dogs and humans. Then I actually consider carrying a gun. I know that you need all sorts of special permits to carry a concealed weapon, but what if I just run around with it in my hand? Would that be legal? Finally, I decide that if anything happens I’ll just rip its throat out. I’ll grab its trachea between my thumb and forefinger and pull. This seems like it will work just fine. Maybe I’m not getting enough oxygen to my brain. I slow my pace a little and the dog falls away at the next block.
About a mile later, I get chased by a large and very unhappy looking Rottweiler. Jeff Galloway says that one of the tricks to motivate yourself on a long run is to recite a mantra. I return to my mantra for the day. “Go for the throat, go for the throat”. Not that I need the motivation. Another great motivator is being chased by a bloodthirsty animal. Ahead I see another dog barking furiously behind a chain-link fence and instinctively I run towards it. The Rottweiler forgets all about me, and starts trying to get through the fence to murder the other dog. It was so easy, like getting rid of a weirdo at a party.


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