And then there are the dog people.
East Nashville is all about the dog people. We have more pup-centric businesses per square mile than any other town in America. That is afact. (A fact that I just made up and is probably not true, but I'm painting a picture here, people. Go with me.) Dogs are being rescued left and right in East Nashville, and if you don't watch out, Larry and I always joke, your dog, who is probably a rescue, will be rescued right out from under you.
East Nashville believes in dogs. East Nashville also believes in bikes. We love bikes! I don't even love bikes and I love bikes, because I live in East Nashville.
And because East Nashville believes in dogs and bikes, you will sometimes see dog owners walking their dogs while riding bikes. Sometimes it's one dog. Sometimes it's as many as three dogs being walked, on leashes, while their owner rides a bicycle.
And it drives. me. NUTS. (NUTS NUTS NUTS NUTS NUTS!) There are 500 squirrels scrambling around in my brain shrieking "JACKPOT!" That's how nuts-in-the-head it makes me. Every time I'm out driving and I see one of these people, I have the urge to climb out of my Ford Crown Victoria, stomp my beige orthopedic shoes and shout, "SONNY! DO YOU WANT TO END UP PARALYZED?" Kids these days. I swan.
But I never have.
I've never said a word, because I don't want to be that person. A nosy, meddling, know-it-all. Also, I don't think they'd listen. They're probably thinking my dog is so obedient and well trained, he could ride the bike with me on the leash if I wanted him to.
And that may be true. But still. Dogs are animals. And animals get startled. Bikes are machines and potholes are potholes. And gravity is gravity.
And just walk, please! Please?
For the next ten days, we are dog sitting for my aunt Elizabeth's dog Woody while my aunt is in Ireland, and last night I took Woody and Sean for a walk together. It was dark, and the two little guys were bobbing and weaving and totally not on the same page about which direction they wanted to go in and what items needed to be sniffed. I used up my entire IQ trying to maneuver their leashes and poop bags and keep the three of us tangle free. And I was on FEET. Throw a bicycle into the mix, and I'm confident Larry would be guest posting today in my absence.
How do these dog walkcyclers even do it?
They don't, always.
Last week I went to visit with one of my favorite clients, and he mentioned that his partner's father-in-law had recently been in a terrible bike accident.
"Motorcycle?" I asked.
"Bicycle," he said. "I guess he was walking the dog and riding his bicycle. Something happened, he hit the pavement, and now he's paralyzed from the chest down."
The doctors say this man will never walk again. A healthy, active husband, father, grandfather, dog lover, wheelchair bound for the rest of his life.
I don't know all the details. Maybe the dog had nothing to do with the fall. But still I want to tell every person I see walking their dog from the seat of a bicycle to stop. PLEASE. STOP IT.
I want to tell them what happened to this man, because maybe it would save their lives.
But I have a feeling I won't say a word.