Monday, November 8, 2010

The Barking Dog That Finally Got Out

I have a jogging route that takes me around Arcadia; around the golf course, around the park, and up a dark spooky street that parallels the race track on the east side and winds into a long black stretch that escorts the 210 freeway on the other side of a thin swath of choking forestry for two miles. I have an Ipod that i have in one hand, a cell phone in the other in case i get hit by a car and need the cops to figure out from cell phone data where to take the body. i run with a long strip of cloth around my head that secures the headphones to my ears. I have 19,000 "songs" on the ipod. everything imaginable is on that thing except country western, hawaiian, and klezmer music. There are a lot of music soundtracks from movies. Many of the movies are of the monster, science fiction, thriller, vampire, war gods, die-a-thousand-relentless-grandiose-deaths movies.....i like to run with intense music in my head because it takes my mind off running: which i fucking detest. It is just so goddamn boring. I am an extremely musically-responsive person. I have the soul of a True Choreographer. A true choreographer is one who translates the music the dance is being danced to - he translates the music into a visual apparition of it. The more accurately he does this the better choreographer he is. I am not actually a choreographer. But I should be. i select from a large vat of music anything that will enable me to forget that i am engaged in the dull enervating horror of jogging and which will lull or prod me into the delusion that i am actually doing a dance that involves putting one leg in front of the other 15,000 times. That seems to be the number that the pedometer seems to hover around when i get back from the ordeal. It takes me about an hour and a half to do a 15,000 step dance routine. I only jog at night. preferably after everyone is home from work and settled-in after dinner. This means i leave around 9. The route i take is very dark most of the way. A lot of Arcadia is empty space. Vast pitched-into-pitch parking areas for a horse track that is rarely used anymore, a large golf course unlit at night like a huge garden forest, a park uninhabited by light or sound by night but inhabited by millions of illegal mexicans by day, cause , you know, they DO love parks, having none in that shithole we call Mexico where they crawl here from and then litter America with their soda cups and burger papers that they refuse to discard properly because they prefer to act with contempt for the land they hate, which would be the United States. Have I gone off topic? Oh dear. Those Mexicans. They do distract me SO!! Part of the route is the police station and the government offices, which is another sprawl of dark land. Then there is the Methodist hospital, a huge blob of dark activity at night when those in hospitals choose to die, and one side of which is the parking queue for the endless ambulances which arrive constantly at night in howling clamor from having dragged relentlessly accruing semi-lifeless bodies from the nearby 210 freeway which accumulates a higher body count than the afagistani war, which like the freeway is another government project. For several years the hospital has been building another building which encroaches upon the street and has no sidewalk and no lights and forces you to walk against the flow of traffic, which is three lanes, one way, 45 MPH speed limit which means 60 MPH in real life. The flow in the other direction is a fifth of a mile away across hospital and police and municipal property, and is also three lanes, the other way, at 45MPH. There are no signs warning anyone who enters one side of Huntington or the other from one of the many driveways that these are one way streets, and at ten at night they are lightly trafficted and so it is common to see a stranger to town or a
preoccupied person enter one of these two three-lane-highways THE WRONG DIRECTION. If they do this anywhere near where I am jogging and i think i can get to them in time i run up to them and pound on their car and yell at them "You're gonna die!!!" You might think this is a good way to get yourself an invitation to death. It turns out that if you yell at people from out of the blue they all react as though you have a good reason for doing so. No one ever actually expects to be attacked. So I often have pure, unadulterated, drama on these nightly excursions, saving lives. I am never thanked incidentally. They are too freaked at what could have happened if they had not been stopped. They either extricate themselves from their predicament or if they are too rattled i start ordering them what to do. People follow orders if they are barked with sincerity. They're cattle. This is not a criticism from me at the moment, it is merely a fact that allows me to order strangers in cars around while i myself am on foot. Most of the time they are too far away for me to intercept. When that happens I stop running to wait and see what happens. So far it has only been walls of lights and walls of horns slowing down and getting out of the way of the oncoming fool. Who, fair to say, was given no warning by the Arcadia Roads Department that they were entering one-way speedways. 90% of the route is roadway on one side of me and sheer blackness on the other. And virtually ALL of the danger comes from the roadway. The most annoying is the individual, or groups of individuals, who will pull ahead of you and then park and emerge in order to pretend to ask you something - people love to ask jogging people questions - and then kidnap you and then kill you, finally. And not a moment too soon usually, depending on the torture. I am not at all afraid to hurt peoples' feelings and i always take off - i can actually run very fast for 50 yards - into the darkness when people pause to chat. I have yet to be pursued. I'm a little sorry to say. At some point the road takes off obliquely into a neighborhood after passing a spate of touristy watering holes and a Motel Six that is usually very subdued and a very mysterious cottage complex that I am sure is the headquarters for organized crime in southern california. This is a slow uphill climb at this point and for about 300 yards the sidewalk passes upper-income houses before the freeway is all that adjoins the road. All these houses have walls. block walls.
All is always quiet with them. Except for one. On the other side of one wall is a dog that has been barking at me when I go west and then five minutes later barks at me when i turn around and go east. Since I have headphones on I can only hear it for a small part of its bark sequence; when me and the dog are directly opposite each other at the wall. I have been running past this dog for two years. For two years this unseen invisible dog has been barking at me with no provocation, no reason, no justification, no excuse, no cause, no ancestral debt to repay - it barks because it is a fucking idiot dog. For two years I listened to it bark as i passed and repassed and 90% of the time the music was distracting enough to where I never actually expended any brain energy in real awareness of it, but once in a while - running is a very moody thing - it can depress you, or it can strangely elate you: it's a very moody thing.....and so once in a while if I was not really listening to the music or wondering if I could actually complete the evening's circuit - which I always do because that is the rule I have created for myself as part of my OCD Rehabilitation Displacement Program. So i once in a while I actually focus on the fucking dog and think about it; what is it, who owns it, why is the dog so fucking stupid, does the owner ever hear it and wonder why it happens the same time all the time and twice with a five minute interval? I determined the dog, from the tone of its bark, was a medium sized dog, about the dimensions of an irish setter. The barking was not vicious, just astoundingly annoying since I could tell it had no actual emotion behind it other than a stupid need to bark at something that doesn't need barking at; something that always ran by one way and then back the other way, never once attempting to breach the defenses of the property or threaten the life of the stupid dog the property enclosed. This has been going on for two years. The other night I was approaching The House Of The Dog and for some reason all prior to that for some of the run I had been thinking about the coyote influx into that neighborhood, once having actually almost tripped over one that was scampering out of a culdesac with a newly killed cat in its jaws. An interesting experience in itself. And I was thinking about the coyote influx and some reports in the local paper about pets disappearing and on one or two occasions a human having been followed by scrutinizing coyotes, probably trying to decide if it was time to maybe launch an attack or two on a larger life form that seems to tolerate their presence much as the world tolerates the presence of Muslims. I was thinking that night of what i would do if I was actually attacked by a coyote. I decided it would be a very worthwhile experience because it would be so primal: not like being attacked by a dog or a human, which attacks are usually motivated by evil or stupidity. But to be attacked by a coyote would be for the purpose of the coyote EATING me so that it could live another day to eat another meal. I decided this would be Life At It's Fullest: to do battle with no weapons but my hands and my will to live on a feral, undomesticated species living the Call of the Wild in its most meaningful form. I decided a coyote would be the perfect beast to have such a tussle with: good size, no claws, very focused, and hard to bluff. Plus I would really enjoy killing one with my bare hands. Just pure pull, tear, rip, gouge and strangle. Plus there would be nothing personal about it for either of us. I would not blame it for wanting to eat and it could not blame me for not wanting to be eaten. We would understand each other. It would be fair. It would be righteous. It would be wondrous and a celebration of evolution and the invigorating fury of life. I was musing about all of this as i passed the House of the Fucking Asshole Dog the first time and heard it vaguely in a part of my brain that was not thinking about a coyote battle. Once I pass the dog's house it is another hundred yards or so to where the houses stop and the jungle of the freeway begins and stretches down a lightless dark and blackened roadway of highway and walls and gigantic wild trees and vines and nothingness for a mile. There under the glare of a solitary street light i always pause to ascertain if I am still alive and then usually remove the black t shirt I am wearing because I am usually very very hot and the t shirt is soaking wet and is a barrier between my skin and whatever coolness the night air might have. I then start the return jog which goes gradually downhill and past the dog's house. As I was going past the wall and oddly not hearing any barking, the house being on a corner of a culdesac as I approached the street I had been noticing a car on the far side of the road slowing as if to turn. I do not run in front of cars turning into me, I stop and either wait for them to go or if i think I am going to confuse them I turn and run the other direction until they turn and then i turn around and continue. This car was going to turn. I stopped and just waited because he seemed to be going to turn quickly. Cursing him quietly for being the only car all night to impede my flow by needing to turn at the instant i was at an intersection, I turned the other direction to kill some time and was looking down and saw at my heels a shadow from a streetlight of a canine creature on the sidewalk. I said to myself "Holy shit, this is actually happening, a coyote is fixing to attack." Some Viking-like orchestral triumphant Wagnerian who knows what was blasting into my head from the Ipod and I was thinking "Here we go, Mother Nature, it's time! Now is the hour when Man and Beast unite in tooth and finger to kill or be killed in the allegedly civlized streets of 21st Cntury suburbia. Let us unite then in life for one or death for both. The hour is now. The Age of Enlightenment is tossed asunder; all that exists is the jungle. Together let us embrace the Pleistocene O Coyote from the American Veldt" and I looked up from the shadow and i see a fucking German shepherd! I instantly realize the driver had opened his gate remotely, the dog came out because it finally had a chance to meet and greet the jogger who had been running by his house for two years, and I saw what it really was and I was instantly completely pissed! Not only was it not a coyote, a noble adversary in a battle of life and was the fucking irritating braindead housedog that had been quietly pissing me off in a peripheral manner for two years. THAT WAS THE CREATURE AT MY HEELS. At this point you have to understand that I am a bit mad. I mean in general. I have a weaponless fighting style that is part australopithecine....and part Ymir. Ymir is the creature from 20 Million Miles To Earth. Ymir's fighting style is to pull his arms back to where his hands are near his mid section and get into a semi crouch and scream at his adversary like a Luciferian creation from another dimension. When I saw that this fucking DOG was the thing at my heels I immediately knew that the driver of the car was the owner and that he had turned into the driveway of the dog's house. This meant, based on what I could see was about to happen in my crystal ball - this meant I would now have to deal with the dog AND his idiot owner. Oh well, the dog was the immediate problem now, and assuming the Ymir crouch and the australopithecine primate hatred, I yelled like a lineman at the dog and ran, lizard-like right at him. With no shirt on mind you, a black baggy bathing suit, and it's about 50 degrees. The dog fucking freaked. It went from a barking annoyance to a terrified stupid animal in an instant and turned tail - literally, I mean I was now looking at its tail and it's head was on the other side and it was running sideways away from me while looking back. Meanwhile I see this Chinese guy on my right coming my way. It's the owner. Things were happening fast and the light was dim due to the city needing to conserve power since we are becoming Mexico, and I have to watch the dog, which sees its owner now and is taking courage....I turn toward the man and start moving in a strafing angle - still crouched like Ymir, the Lizard Biped from Venus and..... i dont wear my glasses when i go out at night. I can see like a fucking bat and screw the details.....and without my glasses I look like a deranged lunatic from an old folks home for Martians. So here's this 67 year old human screaming lizard with obviously a temper and what appears to both of them to be a LOT of agility, keeping one eye on a German shepherd who is now going into "my master is involved now, i must protect him" mode, and this Chinese guy who is clearly trying to move toward the dog to save me from him and himself from a lawsuit but who has suddenly realized that the guy the dog is barking at is obviously someone who has escaped from an Army experiment. This realization does nothing to calm him down or give him good judgement. All the while The Roar of the Valkyries and the Cries of Wotan Against the Bulls of Nargathogogothkar is still playing against the sides of my head courtesy of a two hundred piece orchestra in the Ipod that is clearly on meth and I am becoming more and more personally pissed: not only is this not my battle of Coyote Destiny - its that fucking barking dog and his now-barking-also owner: the two creatures in all of Arcadia I hate the most. Growling now at the TOTALLY befuddled and unnerved Chinaman and then making sudden and very fast charges at the dog, I can see that the Chinaman has only one concern: get the dog and himself the hell into the house. I can see this. I can read expressions and body language like other people can read bathroom signs. Meanwhile I have a lot of residual frustration that this battle I thought was going to be of an "of the gods" variety was now merely a degenerated psycho-brawl between a fucking untrained, undisciplined domestic chewer of rubber duckies and his Chinese owner who probably had a counterfeit drivers license like they all do. I was quickly descending from a lofty place of emotional beauty and primeval scalding, purifying
Life to a fucking houses-made-of-tickytacky neighborhood snottyness between a homeowner, his stupid dog, and an old man running the streets at night like a mental patient. Now I was back down to just JJ The Asshole level and seeing that the fight wasn't really in either one of them I contemptuously ignored the Guardian Animal of the Family and turned toward the Chinaman, and leaning forward into a more severe and deranged crouch and pulling my elbows back behind me as far as I could stretch them and my clawed hands up by my shoulders I bellowed some swamp sort of growl at the man and watched his skin turn even more yellow than what China had painted it. He, wide-eyed at me, made a lunge for the dog and grasped it, staring at me like he had just stumbled into hell for no reason he could think of, and I turned like an escaping gorilla and jogged off down the road and into the lower darknesses. I still run the same route but I never hear that fucking dog barking at me anymore.


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