This morning Mom and I went for a run on My Trail. Since the clocks changed and it’s dark on her bike ride home, she’s become waaaaaay more of a stickler for safety. There are no lights on My Trail, and so she insists on covering us in lights and reflective strips and vests and harnesses and leashes and collars so that we can be seen. Whenever a bike comes by in the other direction, she looks down at me with her headlamp, not only so that her light isn’t in the oncoming cyclist’s eyes, but also to put a spotlight on me so that I can be seen. This is not just because she’s proud of me and wants to show me off (I am a damned good-looking dog after all! Who wouldn’t be jealous?), but also because Mom says that black dogs are invisible in the dark. I think it would be pretty cool to be invisible, but Mom says that when she’s riding home in the dark and she comes up on someone that’s just wearing cotton clothes with no reflective strips and no lights, they’re practically invisible until she’s about to hit them. So I’m not special in being invisible, and if I’m not special, I don’t want to do it. Also, I’ve noticed that when someone comes directly for us with a bright headlight, I can’t see anything but their light until they pass. Who knows what danger might lurk right behind or next to them hidden in the glare! So three cheers for safety. 3M is the new black.
Yup, sharing the dark sure is dangerous and you can never be too visible. Which is why the rest of my story is really messed up. Admittedly, it has nothing to do with running and I wasn’t even there. But it’s still a story worth telling, because in part it has to do with visibility and being aware of your surroundings…
After our run this morning, Mom put on her warm cycling clothes and got back on My Trail, which takes her halfway to work. She had passed the ladies in the crossing guard vests, gone through the “wildlife preserve” where they give trespassing dogs $25,000 fines, and was riding on the frontage road where we once found the abandoned chihuahuas. Usually Mom feels safer once she gets to this point, because now she is on the roads where cars have to follow rules and act predictably. I love my Trail-using constituents, but those knuckleheads are not paying attention to *anything* going on around them, and certainly don’t act predictably! It was daylight now, and she was wearing bright colors. There are no intersections on the Chihuahua Road. She felt safe.
On Mom’s right were a bunch of industrial parks, and there was a car stopped at a parking lot exit. He was stopped, and Mom was visible. She had right of way. No danger here, right? She kept pedaling. Once she started crossing in front of the driveway, the car started to accelerate. Mom screamed and veered left to give the car an extra fraction of a second to react. It was too late for her to hit the brakes, so she tried to speed up to clear the spot before the car got there. The car continued to accelerate. She said she had a fraction of a second to think, “This is happening” before the car hit her hard enough for her to lose control of the bike. She hit a curb hard enough to blow out both tires, then flew over her handlebars and face-first into a tree.
Once the police, fire department and paramedics had come and gone, NotMom (who had left work to pick Mom’s sad butt up) took her home. I was so happy to see them again so soon, but I was afraid they might be mad at me because I had just finished chewing up NotMom’s eye drops so I didn’t jump on them as they came in, and hid behind the coffee table instead. Once I finally got up the nerve to peek, I saw that Mom looked like The Joker from Batman (which I haven’t seen because it’s PG-13 and I’m only 2 1/2). She looked pretty pathetic. That one time I was attacked and had my face bitten and harness ripped off, Mom still made me run a couple miles after that, so I told Mom to harden up already. She hadn’t even had to run her butt home like I had! So Mom quit being a big baby and got in the shower. I was still hoping that this meant that she got to spend the day with me. I sat there and made sure to show her my cutest sad puppy eyes so I would be extra irresistible. I was waiting for her to sit down so that I could kiss her face all better, but nope. She got out of the shower (which is scary enough!), and then didn’t even sit down for long enough for me to lick her face even once. So she must be feeling okay.
But sheesh! I’m going to let Mom wrap me in reflective strips from head to toe from now on, because I can’t be an internet celebrity if my money maker is all messed up like Mom’s!
-Oscar the Pooch