Sunday, 30 November 2014

Dances That Dog Owners Do Do

Continuing with my doggy theme, one of my regular cycle routes brings me into contact with dozens of dog owners. The route takes me along a path that runs to the side of a public field. I know... I know... It's impressive stuff and the reason why I also run a highly successful cycling blog called 'Cycling Routes Beside Public Fields'. You might also have seen my TV series on Sky Living, where I cycle along some of the UK's most picturesque public fields in the company of the more serious Chuckle Brother (Barry).

Despite my glamorous lifestyle, I don't want you to go thinking that our field is one of those new-fangled parks you sometimes hear about with bowling green, children's swings, and council sanctioned flashers (usually called Neville). Nor is it scrubland. It doesn't have fly tipping, industrial waste or a traveller camp. It is just one of those patches of land with a good covering of grass that would lead you to think: ah, look! A field.

Having a local field is, of course, somewhat novel given that the government is selling off every patch of land to property developers. However, it provides a space where kids can go and kick a  football. Of course, it's rare that I ever see the little buggers use the field, since doing physical activity is no longer a youthful endeavour unless it involves a high chance of losing teeth on a BMX's handlebars. It means, therefore, that the field has become a place where dog owners go and walk their dogs.

Now, I admit, I have a less than passive relationship with dog owners. They usually enjoy getting in my way and mutter curses even as they smile and drag their mutts out of the way of my front wheel. I smile back as I cycle past, usually muttering something that rhymes perfectly with 'arsehole' as I go. It does mean, however, that I get to notice dog owners in their natural environment. I know dog walkers quite well. I know how they move. I know how they think. I even know their dirty little secrets.

And that brings me to my subject of today's ramble.

Have you ever noticed how it's absolutely impossible to carry something weighty at the bottom of a plastic bag without enjoying the sensation of swinging that weight around? You cannot do it. Put a potato in the bottom of a plastic bag and tell me you're not tempted to give it a good swing. And when you're dealing with potatoes and plastic bags, that's usually not a problem. It's not going to be a problem unless you replace the potato with a snooker ball, the bag with a sock and your nickname involves the word 'Ripper'.

Well, dog walkers are usually no trouble. The better sorts carry plastic bags in their pockets and these they use to scoop what is euphemistically called the 'poop'. Once they've scooped the poop, the owner usually puts a knot in the top of the bag and then they face three choices. They can take the bag home with them. They can put the bag in the provided litter bin (usually overflowing) or they can hang it from some convenient branch. The last is a very popular option and many of the trees in our town have bags of dog shit hanging from them but that, I'm afraid is the topic for another day.

It's the people who take the poop home with them that have caught my eye recently because I've noticed that they simply cannot resist the temptation of swinging their bags. They are, in fact, dancing with dogshit. And if that's not the title to BBC1's newest reality TV show, I don't know what is. Ladies and gentleman, Miss Claude Wankleman and Scoop, the Great Dane, dance the brown shoe shuffle...

I see at least one dance each week. There'll be a dog owner, thinking they're alone as they're enjoying a brisk walk and they'll be swinging their bags of dog shit as they stride. If you've never watched a dog owner swing shit, you're missing out on a fun modern pastime. Today, for example, a woman with two Labradors and a small mop shaped thing was carrying two small white plastic bag, semi-transparent, at the bottom of which I could see some healthy lumps of the offending matter. Now, if it were me, I'd probably have another bag to carry the poop bags so people wouldn't know what I'm carrying. However, I'm not a dog owner and I don't have natural rhythm. This woman definitely had natural rhythm. She was treating her bags like they were a cheerleader's pompoms. Around and around, looping them in her fingers and then with a flick they went over her elbow and then back again. She didn't know I was watching until I applied my brakes a little too hard and then she looked almost embarrassed to see her little routine with the two bags of dog shit hanging from her wrists.

So there's my tip for Sunday. Keep an eye out for dog owners do-do doing 'the dance'. Film footage would be gratefully received.

Is it disgusting? Perhaps.

Is it fun to watch? Definitely.

Would it make for a great TV show? Maybe not prime time, I would say, but definitely better than anything that's currently on ITV.

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