Since I moved and lost my yard, I’ve had to take my dog to the dog park every day; a tired dog is the only way I will get any sleep.
Dog parks are public places. Anyone can enter. This means that you will see an entire cross-section of society, much like jury duty service, except that felons are allowed in the dog park and the people who go there typically own dogs.
You have to be a bit crazy to own a dog. They cost a lot. They require a lot of attention. It’s like having a toddler who never grows up that you can stow in a cage when you leave the house.
You can’t typically store children in cages when you leave the house. It’s frowned upon. At least, it used to be, but who knows what parenting techniques are en vogue these days. Perhaps children in cages is encouraged. It doesn’t seem that outrageous when you consider that some parents seem to think that vaccines to prevent life-threatening illness are a bad idea. What do I know.
Anyway, dogs are a lot of work, and a constant source of frustration and empty bank accounts. You have to be at least slightly not right in the head to allow a could-be wild animal to live in your home and eat all your food while you collect its poop. That not right in the headness goes for cats, too. I should know since I have one of each. My life is full of poop.
The crazy catness, however, mostly remains out of the public eye since they don’t have cat parks. Actually, the concept of a cat park is hilarious to me. You’d take your cat to an open area with lots of other cats and watch them all hiss and scratch at each other whilst clambering up the nearest tree.
Today, I thought I’d share with you some of the cast of characters at the dog park. These are the people who come regularly enough to have been given nicknames, although there are plenty of other interesting characters who’ve made cameos.
Chair lady is so named because she donated a few lawn chairs to the dog park. It was a nice gesture since there are never really enough places to sit. The problem with lawn chairs is that male dogs pee on them. They get gross. Sometimes, the park itself gets gross with mud and dreck. The dogs, being dogs, love wallowing in this mud and dreck. In fact, some of them eat it and have gotten ill.
Sometimes, in an effort to keep the dogs away from the mud, people will take a lawn chair and put it over a mud hole. The chair gets muddy in the process. One day, we came to the dog park and someone had written on the bottom of a white chair that was lying on its side in the mud in what looked like blue nail polish. The message read [sic]: “Quite muding up the chairs!! These was doanated!” Ever since, she has been donned chair lady.
The other day, one of the regulars didn’t see his dog take a poo. It happens sometimes. You can’t keep your eyes on them all the time, and sometimes, your dog will go behind your back and poop. When this happens and someone else sees it, they might come over and let you know. None of the regulars are ever offended by this. Whenever someone lets me know about a surreptitious dog poop, I always say thank you and go remove it. Generally, I remove the poop in the surrounding area, too, as do most of the regulars.
One day, as chair lady was leaving, she said to one of the regulars, “If your dog ever takes a crap again, I’m going to put it on your shoe.” This came out of nowhere. If she had walked up to the regular when his dog had done his business, he would gladly have cleaned it up. She did not. She chose to wait until she was leaving and give a veiled threat instead. He replied, “Ever? Lady, he’s got to crap sometime.”
Ugh. Guitar guy. This man is certifiably crazy and annoying. He never stops talking, not even if no one is around. He never, ever stops talking. Worse, he is a horndog. If there is a female on her own in the dog park, he will hone in on her and pester her until she makes up an excuse to go somewhere else. He carries a guitar on his back and will serenade the ladies. It’s awful.
Guitar guy once told me that he wants his eight year old dog to be in Disney movies. He’s been training her on random commands. I feel sorry for his dog, who is a sweetheart, but she doesn’t seem to mind that her owner in a whack-job and she appears to be well looked after. At least, she has better hygiene than her owner.
I’ve mentioned Clint before. He’s called Clint Eastwood because he has Clint’s squinty stare. He is also sometimes called penis whistle because I once misheard “Clint is here” as “penis whistle.” Don’t ask.
Clint is the type of guy to one up you. He has experience in every subject imaginable and he’s better at it than you, no matter what it is.
I mention him again, because the other day, he came over and told us an anecdote. Clint is from Germany. Every German I’ve ever known is pretty sensitive about the whole Hitler thing. They don’t want to be perceived as racist and would rather that whole sad chapter in German history never happened.
Out of the blue and completely off topic, Clint told us about running into some racist skinheads when he was still living in Germany. He said he told them that they should be ashamed of themselves. Alright, so far, so good, Clint, but where is this going?
He continued to say that they should be ashamed of themselves because they weren’t proper skinheads. “Hitler would be disappointed in you. If you want to be proper skinheads, do your homework.”
Every jaw around dropped. Clint said this to a Jew, a Colombian, two Mexicans and me. His moniker was changed from Clint Eastwood to Clint Racistwood.
The Body Builder
One day, someone asked me, “Is that a woman or a man?” I looked over at the noun in question and said, “You know, that’s a valid query for which I don’t have an answer.” What I saw was someone who looked a lot like this, but wearing a sweatshirt…
… and hot pink short shorts.
I’m as open-minded as the next guy, maybe even more so. Honestly, I don’t care what you do as long as it doesn’t hurt anyone in a non-consenting way. It didn’t really matter to me one way or another whether it was a man or a woman, but the hot pink short shorts did take me by surprise.
There are a couple of reasons for this. First, it was cold outside. It was not at all shorts weather, let alone the kind of shorts where butt cheeks hang out. Second, I don’t have any desire to unwillingly see someone’s butt cheeks. Butt cheeks are the kind of thing best viewed between two consenting adults in private. I was not consenting.
On my way out of the park, The Body Builder decided to do some leg stretches on the picnic table by the entrance. Unfortunately, on my way by, I had no choice but to attest to the fact that the Body Builder was indeed a man since half of his dangly bits were trying desperately to escape his hot pink short shorts.
You cannot ever unsee that.
Like Guitar guy, The Magi zeroes in on the ladies, and once he has a foothold, he will not stop talking. The first thing he will do, if you’re a lady, is ask your sign. Do not answer him. Otherwise, you will be stuck there, listening to him prattle on about astrological signs and what they mean. This unwelcome babbling lunacy would be bad enough, but the Magi has a temper.
One day, in front of everyone, he had a shouting phone conversation with his apparently adult daughter who was doing something he did not approve of. He basically told her and everyone else within earshot that he was going to beat her when he got home. Lovely.
His dog is also persistent. He will come up to you with a ball, shove it at you and wait for you to throw it. If you do, the dog will keep coming back to you forever to throw the ball while the Magi, oblivious to his own canine, is busy hounding some unfortunate female. They say that dogs resemble their owners. In this case, it’s very true.
Too much information guy is so named because he wears clothing that shows far too much of his ample physique. TMI guy isn’t built like an athlete. He’s built more like the 50-something out of shape man that he is, yet, he insists on wearing clothing that is too tight, too short and made of revealing fabrics.
Yesterday, he was dressed in yoga pants that were at least four inches too short to reach his ankle and about two sizes too small. On top, he was wearing a tight T-shirt that exposed a few inches of his hairy beer gut. Why?
He was also carrying something in a Target bag. I wondered aloud what was in the bag. Is it a pink feather boa? Because that would really make that outfit. After laughing, the regulars began a guessing game as to what could be in the bag. Among the items were a cowboy hat, a thong and leather chaps. Some day, I’m going to buy a mirror for TMI guy and give it to him.