Sunday, April 29

Honking Desperately

The Scofflaw Looked Much Like this Springer Spaniel of George Bush
From Wikipedia. It was Having NEARLY as Much Fun!
I've heard it expressed that motorists honk out of irritation or aggression. I can assure y'all that they honk for other reasons as well. What's more, Friday's episode illustrates a reason for cyclists to favor less trafficked routes in order to connect better with our motoring friends.

On Friday, I was riding to work. Lately, I have been taking my "fog route," which is AT LEAST a full minute slower than my usual route. Or it would be if there weren't construction slowing down my usual route in order to build more freeway lanes so my motorists can drive on them. While I'm not wild about my share of taxes to pay for such special-purpose facilities, there are lots of motorist taxpayers and it might lighten up traffic a little along my routes - AFTER they get past the building of this giant project and all its inconveniences.

Anyway, riding along the fog route, off to my left, I heard a loud HONK! It was a lady in a pickup. Moments later, ahead and off to my left, I noticed a playful-looking springer spaniel. It was running. Then I heard it again - HONK! Then I noticed that the dog took a brief glance over its shoulder and picked up the pace as it ran through yards. Suddenly, the honking acquired perspective. The lady in the pickup, unable to get the dog to come or otherwise stop its fun, tried honking as a last, desperate resort.

Having had some experience with dogs, I continued along for a bit, until I decided, "I CAN help here!" First, I did a little swerve to reduce the distance between me and the spaniel. Next, in my loud voice, I shouted "BAD dog!" It proved unnecessary to add "Off the couch!" The dog's attention had been gained. This seems to be something most dogs understand, especially when it comes from strangers. To further entice it, I stopped and held out a clenched fist in invitation for a little sniffing acquaintance. THAT was irresistible. I'd made a friend.

Next thing you know, the lady had abandoned the pickup and had the friendly scofflaw by the collar. Case closed. And an entirely different plane of cyclist/motorist cooperation than you'd EVER see on an arterial. And, my friend was gone - spirited back to its rightful home. Perhaps we'll meet once again. It really puts honking in a more favorable light, though I'm not sure how honking would convince any self-respecting dog to come back.

That Dog Was Caught Right About Here
Had the Dog Dumped Anything, His Owner Might Have Heard from the EPA



Pondero said...

Refreshing happy story from the road. Bravo!

RANTWICK said...

No wonder by dogs keep running away... I honked and honked, but they never came back.

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