[Editorial Aside: today, my lunch was on High Stink Alert. An onion, and bacon sandwich, served in a diaper.]
Went on a bike ride over the weekend, across the treacherous Williamsburg Bridge, over Devil's Neck, around Machete With Tetanus Corner, through Lake Face Exploder, beneath Non-Consensual Intercourse Hollow, and up the west side of Manhattan. It was invigorating, except for the part where I got my head cut off.
I'm still very much a beginner cyclist, and I continue to make a lot of wobbly mistakes and dangerously short stops each time I take out my bike, as if I have some need to underscore my undeveloped set of bike skills. Considering some of the more deadly pedestrian and automobile traffic hazards offered by this city, the trip was mostly without incident. I'm pretty certain, to the observer, I did not look like I was having much fun as I tend to ride with a great grimace of dread jack-o-lantern-carved into my sweaty face, but anyone who knows me well would agree I wear that expression pretty much 24-7.
At one point, cruising south – yes, cruising – through Hudson River Park, my attention was temporarily distracted by something amazing: a dog. I really have a difficult time walking past any dog without making certain everyone around me has been made completely aware of the fact that we're in the presence of something hilarious and furry. (They have fur nearly everywhere, all the way up to their noses. It is ridiculous.) As much as I enjoy the company of my cats, dogs are much more readily capable of making me laugh. My joy, which has no polite boundaries, is inspired by dogs falling into one of the following categories (in descending order):
- very small and costumed
- very small and fat
- very small and bug-eyed
- large and fat with breathing difficulties
- large and fat and quiet
- sleeping and wearing a faded bandana (Dogs like these are greeted with a quick nod of the head, and a low-spoken, "hey, what's up?" because I think that's how dogs like this would prefer to be addressed.)
- any sized, with tongue hanging out
- unthinkably large and worthy of a saddle
- three-legged and happy
Basically, I don't like medium-sized dogs. They just don't make me laugh, though even this rule is more of a guideline because a medium-sized dog wearing a plastic leprechaun's hat and drinking beer is pretty funny. Also, any kind of animal in a monocle has my complete support. And a turtle with a crucifix strapped to its back is also pretty good. BUT THAT'S IT!*
So...dog. I was lagging behind when, suddenly, to my left, I saw a very classy French bulldog. French bulldog's are in my top three of dog breeds, and never fail to entertain me. This particular French bulldog was doing what it does best – waddling on short, muscular arms. It became very important that I let my girlfriend/cycling companion know about this bulldog, but she was pretty far ahead of me. So, instead of calling her name and thoughtfully describing what I'd seen, I simply shouted, "FRENCH BOODAWG! FRENCH BOODAWG!!" at screaming volume, like I was doing a cold reading for a stage production of Flowers for Algernon. And, just as the words "French Boodawg," escaped my giant, dumb mouth, I nearly collided with another cyclist.
I was absolutely not paying attention, and if he'd bothered to warn me with a requisite, "on your right!" the warning would like have been drowned out by my insane screaming. So there, in an instant, our front tires darted toward each other, breaking their parallel stride for just a single perilous moment, and were it not for his deft handling, we would have probably suffered a very serious collision.
Even in that quick flash of events, though, I had enough time to register that he, and not I, would help us safely avoid trouble. This was a conclusion I drew based solely on the fact that he was wearing lots of very tight-fitting cycling apparel, as well as those fancy bike shoes that latch into the pedals and make a terrific clackety-clack sound on the pavement. This man had clearly invested thousands of dollars in cycling, whereas my used, entry-level mountain bike has a horn shaped like a hippo's face, which squeaks when activated.
After regaining my balance, I thought a lot about how "French Boodawg," could have been the last words I'd ever spoken, or the last words this other cyclist ever heard, and I was a little disappointed that we both didn't die right there – just for the story.
*Also, I hate Corgies. They are an act of abomination against nature. End of discussion.