I dreamt last night that I was waiting at a bus stop, sitting on a long, shaded concrete block with two shopping bags full of a variety of fruits. Bored with the wait I began to build a castle from pieces of fruit, mostly using square pineapple chunks as bricks, setting apples and pears to guard the base, decorating parapets with strawberry, blueberry, and raspberry flourishes, and filling in curved cornices with bananas.

Upward and upward I continued to build, until the castle was taller than I, and upon building it to such a remarkable height, I realized that what I had created was a work of art, demanding of preservation!! No way that I could fit it on the bus, now soon to arrive, so I would need to make some alternative arrangement for transporting it. But it was made of fruit!! If I left and came back, it would be devoured by bugs by the time I returned, and so I frantically ran about searching for a large enough plastic bag to cover the castle, and painter's tape to seal it to the cement below. But to no avail, for even as I sought out the station manager (yes, a station manager at a bus stop) for help, the castle was set upon and brought down by a band of raccoons coming out of the wild. I hurried to defend it, but then I woke up.

Effectively, my weekend has started. My office is closed for the holiday, and I'm taking off tomorrow. It wouldn't be complete without starting it before the sunrise with a long walk through the neighborhood. Early morning is the best time for walking, since I can avoid the dog walkers. Don't get me wrong, I'm not a dog-hater. However, most of the owners are irresponsible with their pets. The dogs have trained me to dread crossing paths with them and their negligent owners.

Some dog walkers stay a step ahead of their untrained pooches, and cross to the other side of the street or walk into the road to put some distance between us. I can tell when this is about to happen from about a block away sometimes. It's always the same routine. First, the dog will get this alerted look on its face as it spots me and stares right at me. Their owner notices their pet paying attention to something down the sidewalk, and realizes what is happening. They loop the end of their leash around their hand to tighten control over their pet, and start speaking commands to their now distracted beast. If I'm lucky, there will be enough time before we meet for them to divert their path. If there isn't, I'm the one who will walk into the street or pick a different route. In the worst cases, my approach sets their dog off into a frenzy of threatening barking as it stands on its hind legs, while their owner tugs with both arms to restrain their companion. Time to get out of there.

These meetings feel like slight put-downs, as if carrying a backpack instead of a leash makes my wandering less legitimate. You hold a nylon strap. I wear straps on my back. My zippered nylon bag never leaves stinky surprises for your feet to find. It will never try to knock you over. It passes silently, and will never threaten you.

Then there are the walkers with retractable leashes who give their dogs the longest length of leash to wander around. This seems like an excuse not to train their dog, and not to pay attention to their surroundings. Even if I'm riding a bike along a foot bridge, dog owners with these mechanical leashes sometimes allow their pets to stay at the furthest extent of the leash, as they threaten to collide with my tires. I pause and let them pass.

Tiny dogs and their owners remind me of the atomic model. Like an electron orbiting the nucleus of an atom, it is impossible to predict where a tiny hyperactive poodle will be at any moment in relationship to their owner. Only probability can describe their general bounds. It's always amusing to watch them react with another free radical!

Let's share the road. I'm glad to see that you like the outdoors too, and like to see you both getting exercise and at least engaging with the community. But please, teach your pet that the guy wearing green headphones doesn't have any turkey for them!

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