Last Saturday, I walked a country road with my dogs. The traffic was a bit heavy for the area as people were driving to a winery for tasting. A car came at me at a high speed, so I motioned it to slow down as cars were coming in the other direction on a tight corner, there just wasn’t enough room for 2 cars and a dog walker. The car stopped and it turned out to be an acquaintance. This is not the first time this person stopped for me as she approached at high speed near me on a curvy single lane road.
She rolled down her window and asked, “ARE YOU OK JULIE?” The tone of her voice was annoyed and angry. She may as well have said, “What is your problem?”
It took me by surprise, and I didn’t understand what she was getting at, so I replied, “I’m fine.” Then she proceeded to explain that she saw my social media posts about my latest issues with Lyme disease, yet she sees me walking my dogs all the time in the mountains. Her tone was accusatory. Ah! She set me up to defend my very invisible illness. So I did the best I could to explain that I often have to choose between walking them or some other activity, like going out to dinner. I could see she was not sold and instead said, I should be taking it easy.
She changed the subject to say that she never walks country roads because cars drive fast, there are no side walks and it’s dangerous. She also claimed to be going the speed limit and that to me it may have seemed faster. This was the third time, on separate occasions, that she said this to me, always stopped on a country road, and by now I have to believe she is implying that I shouldn’t be walking my dogs on a country road at all. I asked her if she walks her dogs, and she replied that she did not walk her dogs much. Again, I felt on the defense, so I suggested that her dogs must be easy going not to need daily walks but that I have a husky who is high energy and needs daily walks.
She ended the conversation (which very much felt like a debate at this point) saying, “Well you raised them that way to need walks every day.” Seriously, Internet, of all the idiotic things to claim about dog training and handling. Like it was my fault for raising dogs to want to walk and exercise daily. Simply moronic.
I was caught so off guard by her hostility and her passive aggressiveness that I didn’t get to respond with the right answers:
- Usually, all I can do each day is a dog walk, the rest of the day, I’m not functional. Lyme doctors encourage daily gentle moving, such as walking, for healthy lymphatic system and joint mobility. Telling her this would fall on deaf ears.
- All pedestrians, horseback riders, cyclists and dog walkers are allowed to walk on public roads. Driving is a privilege, not a right. Driving the speed limit is not the point. Drivers are responsible for operating a vehicle at a safe distance and speed (even if it must be under the limit) for pedestrians, cyclists, animals and other objects when passing them. The fact is, I felt she was driving way too fast for two cars and a dog walker to pass at once, and was worried she didn’t see me or the oncoming traffic on the blind corner. The fact is, 75% of drivers who pass me, slow down way below the speed limit and give me a wide berth. She consistently falls into the 25% who don’t.
- All dogs need exercise. Most dogs enjoy walks and daily exercise. I am not out of the ordinary to give them what they need and deserve as a member of my family. It’s not only the right thing to do, but it is encouraged by most animal behavior experts.
A simple apology for the speed of her car making me feel fearful would have sufficed. Instead she attacked me. The irony of it is she is a lawyer and a strong anti-Trump activist, yet she seems pretty good at Trumpian tactics of never admitting guilt, not apologizing and putting the victim on defense with attack after attack. Another irony is that she consulted me on adopting a husky a few years ago but wouldn’t put up a fence yet wanted a dog who wouldn’t run away. Thank dog I talked her out of it. I feel very sorry for any dog raised in her family.
By the way, the photo is from our Family Day walk in the mountains, on a logging road, this past (cold) Sunday with Mr. Wild Dingo, the cracker and the criminal. MWD took the shot.