Monday, March 21, 2011

police on my back

In 2004, after many visits to Walt Disney World in Florida, my family and I headed west to Walt's original theme park — Disneyland.

In the late afternoon, we found ourselves on Harbor Boulevard in Anaheim via Las Vegas after a four-hour drive through the Mojave Desert. Our hotel, a Holiday Inn on Harbor at the corner of Ball Road, overlooked the back of It's a Small World. Peeking out from just beyond the tops of some shielding trees was the ominous white spire of Space Mountain.

Since it was so late in the day, we decided to experience Disneyland beginning bright and early the next morning. We set out to briefly explore the neighborhood and to look for a store to purchase some snacks and drinks to sneak into the park the next day. We climbed into our rental car and drove north on Harbor Boulevard toward a huge knot of strip malls, open-air shopping centers and fast-food restaurants.

A huge red and white Target sign beckoned to us like a familiar friend. We knew Target and we love Target. They're sure to have everything we needed. My wife navigated the car through the crowded parking lot towards the entrance which faced away from the busy street. We scouted the area for an open parking space when we spotted a rather large section noticeably absent of cars. As we drew closer, we saw seven or eight Anaheim police vehicles parked in a semi-circle in the open area. We pulled around the last cruiser and were greeted by the sight of a dozen or so uniformed officers, some with their guns drawn. Sitting on the ground, cross-legged, was a young man. His arms were up and bent at the elbows. His hands were resting on the crown of his head, the fingers laced. He looked up at the policemen, some of whom had a revolver pointed at him. He looked worried.

We quickly found a parking space at the other end of the lot. As we entered the store, my son noted that just a few blocks from the dire scene playing out before our eyes was The Happiest Place on Earth. We laughed.

I'm sure that young man did not.

you ain't nothing but a hound dog

What is it with you dog owners? I understand that you love your dog. You feed it and walk it and play with it and allow it to live in your house. That does not mean that everyone loves your dog. Believe it or not, there are some people in this world that do not like dogs, not just your dog, but all dogs. Not everyone wants those big paws all over them. Not everyone enjoys a huge, slobbery canine tongue all over their face. Not everyone wants a wet-nosed snout burrowing into their crotch when they come for a visit. Why do dog owners get so offended if you do not express the same enthusiastic love for their dog that they do? Why must everyone love their dog?

Yesterday afternoon, my wife and I were headed out. We exited our front door and walked out on the porch. On the sidewalk, a woman in sunglasses and spandex was walking her giant, salivating pooch. As my wife approached her car in the driveway, I stood motionless and waited patiently until the woman and the mutt were a safe distance from my property. When the human/animal pair were directly in front of my house, the dog stopped and looked right at me. I was a good ten feet away — at the other end of the cement walkway that connects my porch to the public sidewalk  — and that dog fixed his eyes dead on me. I stood still. I could have stood there all day. The woman gave a few gentle tugs on the animal's leash but it did no good. She looked up and saw me not moving.

"He's friendly.", she offered. I really didn't care to be friends with her dog nor was I interested in what sort of a friend her dog could be. Then, she asked, "Don't you like dogs?" as though it was the most nonsensical question anyone could ever ask.

I answered, "No." plainly, unwavering and with no inflection whatsoever.

She replied, "That's a shame." Then added, "For you." It was as if I just told her I did not like America, freedom, The Constitution, motherhood, Jesus, The Fourth of July and human rights and topped it off by giving her "the finger". She stormed off, obviously insulted.

I thought about following her to see where she lived. Then, parading past her house later with a Nazi and questioning her likes and dislikes.

Dog owners. Jeez.

(This is another take on a previous post. - JPiC)