While in the midst of a lengthy walk on a beautiful autumn morning yesterday, I spied an individual just ahead of me with two dogs. The canines were on separate leashes. Not the ubiquitous flexi-leads that so many people employ nowadays, but the old-fashioned nylon kind—both six feet in length. On both sides of the concrete walkway that all of us traversed were crab grass and dusty dirt patches—doggie heavens for sure—and I immediately sensed a potential problem.
In the hilly terrain of the Bronx’s Riverdale neighborhood, leashed dogs ambling to and fro at will on a public sidewalk give me pause. You see, the "pet parent" of the two very contented pooches was lost in conversation on his cell phone, completely oblivious as to what his four-legged friends were up to. As I neared the threesome, the two canines were sniffing away with unrestrained glee. They were, however, on one side of the walkway, giving me at least some room—albeit with no margin of error—to get by.
Bad karma, I believe, just wouldn’t permit me a smooth passage to other side. One of the great conversationalist’s dogs opted to bolt to the opposite side when I was a mere couple of steps away from them all, leaving—in effect—a public sidewalk cordoned off. Yellow crime scene tape blocking my way would have been a better alternative. At least it wouldn't have moved on a whim. Fortunately, I didn't trip and fall on my face. I tend to be on high alert for these situations. I have to be because they happen all the time in contemporary society, particularly in a big city like New York. Walking on the sidewalk can be hazardous to your health around here, just as crossing at the green can be.
An important footnote to this tale of one city is that the Man of the Hour—with the two dogs—profusely apologized, telling me in fact that his behavior was “inexcusable.” I didn’t ask for an apology or even lodge a complaint. Now that kind of absolute ownership of one’s inappropriate actions is quite rare in this me-me society of ours. I guess there really are happy endings every now and then.