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3/8/14 @ 04:57 pm   
A quick game of stop-the-dog
 
o, last night I was standing on Mission in South of Market with my phone out, trying to find a nearby hardware store, when off in the distance, maybe a block behind me, I thought I heard a voice yell, "Stop!"

My mind went off into a daydream for a second — what if there's a thief coming my way, and I get to trip him up? But wait — what if the "thief" is actually a victim in danger, being chased by a criminal, and I'd be helping the criminal by stopping him? What should I do? I didn't have time to think more than that, though, because from a half a block away, clearly now, I heard a panicked man's voice: "Stop!"

Now, I had my phone in one hand, which is chained to my belt, and my very heavy briefcase slung over my back, so I wan't ready to do any dextrous moves, but I was in perfect position to stand my ground and use my nowadays considerable weight to block the progress of someone coming towards me. So I turn around, and see a shouting man running at me through traffic. Behind him are two other people chasing, and, too late, I notice in the lead, a tiny little terrier in a little doggy coat, moving at top speed, straight towards me through the traffic.

Too confused to know what to do, I stood low to the ground in my best blocking stance, as if I could stand low and wide enough to intercept a four pound dog. It feinted to the left, diverted to the right and ran right past me, up the sidewalk. I valiantly tried to snatch the terrier as it bolted by. That fucker was fast. So I whirled and joined the procession of people running after it. The dog careened past another set of people, who also failed to catch it and joined in the chase, before it tried to get past a knot of kids further up the sidewalk who quickly appraised the situation and managed to corrall it against a wall and scoop it up before it was able shift course again and get around the obstacle.

At this point the lead guy chasing caught up, and promptly tripped over the curb and fell flat on his face on the sidewalk. Obviously caring more about the dog than his own safety, he immediately got up and got a grip on it before it could wriggle away again. "Oh, thank you, thank you," he said, "It's not even my dog. I just got him for my girlfriend." He took the dog under his arm and sauntered off, panting.

The rest of us stood around for a minute catching our breath before going our separate ways without a word.
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