Yet again I find myself asking the universe what it did with the greater part of my day. Each day seems to fall into the next at the moment – a bit like the man that nearly fell into the road right in front of me this evening. I should perhaps re-wind before getting to his near death experience though.
I left work a little early today – with pre-arranged plans to meet my oldest daughter in a coffee shop in town. She was visiting a friend of a friend, who works as a therapist – to hopefully help with the creeping return of her anxiety. It seems anxiety works much like a whack-a-mole game, where you think you’re getting on top of it, and then it re-appears quite randomly to wreck a hitherto unchecked part of your life.
I’m not going to delve too deeply into my daughter’s adventures with anxiety – suffice to say it’s her story to tell, and it all seems terrifically unfair.
Of course the weather couldn’t cooperate with our plans at all – it’s been raining non-stop all day. ALL DAY. By the time I squelched into the coffee shop after work, I probably looked like I had been sleeping rough in a waterlogged ditch somewhere. While the pretty girl that served me a cup of cappuccino took no notice, the slightly rotund man trying to look busy at the other end of the counter seemed quite annoyed. Maybe he wasn’t annoyed with me – maybe it was more about life, the universe, and everything – maybe particularly that guy “Gary” that he went to college with that already retired after shorting the housing market, while he’s trying to teach college-leaver baristas how to make a cup of coffee that won’t kill somebody.
Miss 18 arrived a few minutes after my arrival, and discovered me tinkering with the bullet journal – writing out the pages for August, and doing a pretty good impersonation of a hipster. A hipster that just climbed out of a water-logged ditch, but a hipster no less.
After buying her a coffee, and watching in wonder as she pretty-much downed it on the spot, we set off across town in search of the place the therapist works. Here’s the thing about being a Dad – you march all over town delivering your children to places – even when they are 18 years old – and you always end up standing in the street, wondering what you’re going to do with yourself for the next hour (or however long) until you need to pick them up again.
I went home.
It turns out going home when your other half has been out for much of the day, leaving your 15 year old in charge, is a mistake. I spent my “spare” three quarters of an hour washing up, putting things away, and generally contemplating if burning the house down and re-building it might be quicker than even attempting to establish any kind of order.
And finally we get to the near death experience. I bet you had forgotten all about it, hadn’t you – I had. Imagine if I had finished the post here, and you said “hang on a minute – you said there was going to be some story about somebody nearly getting killed”. I better get on with telling you then, hadn’t I.
While cycling back across town, I was busy daydreaming – as you do – and was about to pass a quite jovial man talking to a friend while walking his dog. He was perhaps in his mid 40s, a little overweight, and dressed really quite smartly. I imagine they might have been going to the pub for a drink together – you know, to sit in the garden with the dog in the rain. The dog was a medium sized dog. I wish I had paid a little more attention to it – but all I really remember was it’s pathological hate of bicycles (or maybe it was me – I’m really not sure, and it all happened so quickly).
As I approached the dog and it’s owner, the dog suddenly clocked me, and turned from a happy-go-lucky waggy dog, into a rabid “I’ll fuck you up” lunatic. I’m no dog psychiatrist, but I tend to think all small dogs have this fault in their programming – they all have something that turns them into a nasty, shitty, snarling, snapping, spitting, rabid hooligan.
Here’s where it got good.
The dog LAUNCHED itself at me, catching it’s owner COMPLETELY off guard. He made a desperate grab for it’s lead, which unfortunately passed behind his legs – pulling them out from under him, and landing him in the grass verge next to the road – rapidly skidding towards the road (and heavy traffic). He continued to cling to the dog’s lead, his hand now pinned underneath his own backside, as the dog wrestled to take a chunk out of me – dragging the hapless owner through the mud on his arse – all the while cursing in quite the most eye-bulging, horror stricken way.
I considered stopping for a few moments, but glancing down at wild eyes and gnashing teeth of the dog, thought better of it – so stood up on the pedals, and exited stage left. A few hundred yards further on I looked back, and saw the dog happily trotting next to it’s rather dishevelled owner, as if nothing had happened. I can only guess the owner turned the dog off and on again.
I bet the dog has NEVER done anything like that before. Dog owners always say things like that when their dog has either just sunk their teeth into somebody’s arse, peed up somebody’s leg, or chewed up a family member’s Star Wars toy on Christmas Day. I would love to meet the postman that delivers mail to their house though – my opening remark might well be “show me your fingers”.