After months of trying, I finally broke through the 20.30 minute mark for 5kms at the Jardin Public in Bordeaux. And that was after being ‘assaulted’ by a dog at 1.34kms.
I know this because my heart rate data shows a sudden dip at the point where I had to slow down to avoid crashing into the stray mutt.
I’ve noticed over the years that people hate saying bad things about dogs during conversation. Whenever I’ve said something vaguely derisory about the species – like why do they smell so bad – most people look at the floor and pretend I’m not there. It’s true.
I say all of this because the street I live on has become a SHIT FEST. I apologise for the rather crude terminology, but I feel the need to hammer the point home. To help you visualise Rue Malbec after half the street’s dogs have emptied their bowels all over it for everyone to step in. Or worse still, wheel their £700 Bugaboo Cameleon pushchairs through it, as I saw happen last week.
I feel sick even thinking about it. The poor woman. Getting home after a hard day, wheeling her pushchair through the door and into the house, only to notice after unloading her child that she’s streaked brown stripes all over her carpet as though marking out lines on a basketball court.
Of course, it isn’t the dog’s fault. Dogs can’t read the ‘No Fouling on the Pavement’ signs. And even if they could, they’d still do it. Dogs need to crap, I get that bit.
So in this conversation I’m having about dogs, I’d probably at this point exacerbate the situation by saying something like: ‘Isn’t it a bit cruel to keep dogs in the city?’
To which I’d be shouted down by someone who has the face of a basset hound: ‘Not everybody can afford to live in the countryside! And anyway. That’s why we take dogs for walks, you idiot!’
At this point to avoid further conflict, I’d offer an apology, adding that keeping dogs in the city is no crueller than eating chicken from caged hens as I do.
It’s all settled then in this mini-drama I’m constructing. They have their dogs. I have my chicken. And when the dog needs a crap, the owner takes it for a walk, the dog craps, the owner picks it up, puts it in the bin and everybody is happy. A perfect world where dog lovers and dog bystanders can live in harmony.
Only that doesn’t happen does it? Not round here anyway. Not on Rue ‘Shit Fest’ Malbec. It just gets left for me to step in, or parents to wheel their pushchairs through. I get annoyed. But I can handle it. I haven’t got kids. I’ve got the time to clean it off or burn my shoes.
If I was that parent however, scraping shit off my child’s pushchair, I’d be absolutely livid. I’d be banging on doors, hunting down the owner, finding out where they lived, letting myself in and then without compunction, emptying my bowels all over their lounge floor with a flag poking out of the top reading, ‘This is for the pushchair mother fucker!’
And then quietly leave.