The Dog Walker

Vaguely related to the writing process is my morning walk. I tend to get up at 5am to write for a couple of hours, and then, if I don’t need to start my day job early, I go for a refreshing morning walk. I am blessed by my being in close proximity to some lovely countryside paths (see pictures). On these morning walks I often meet dog walkers. Very generally, these tend to fall into two broad categories: a) The bestubbled gents of a certain age, almost always with a decrepit dog that hobbles along on the three legs that are still just about working, and b) the Yummy mummy types, clad in Hunter wellies and with a rosy complexion, often with 3 or more dogs, all healthy and bounding along.

The rule when meeting either of these categories is, in case of a: a nod and “mornin'” to which the bestubbled gentleman will remove his self rolled cigarette and grumble “mornin'” before having a smokers’ coughing fit. In the case of b you have to first ascertain whether they are going to blank you or not, then, if not, a chirpy “good morning” (intonation should be falling, as if declaring it, not rising as if singing it), to which they will reply a snappily pronounced “g’morning” and then call “Geraaald” to one of their canine charges.

But this morning I met a person (can’t bring myself to call him a “gentleman”) who did not fit into either of these two categories. I was first met by his dog. It was a labrador. If the old bestubbled gents of a certain age have a labrador, it tends to be very old and very scruffy; often very fat. It Yummy Mummies have a labrador it tends to be brown. This was neither. It was white, fluffy fur and quite healthy looking. Then the owner appeared. A man, not young, not old (around my own age I should image) but trying to look cool, with a mane of hair wore long at the ears and back. I suppose the Yummy Mummies would find him attractive in the sort of way they may find the gardener or builder attractive. I nodded and said “Good morning”, in a combination of greetings a and b. “Mornin!” he said, “How ya doin’?” “How ya doin'”? “HOW YA DOIN'”? Where on earth did he think he was? California? I was put out, but my defence mechanism soon kicked in: “fine, thank you, lovely day, isn’t it?”. He laughed an oh-dear-that-old-cliché-well-I-guess-you’re-only-trying-to-be-friendly-you-poor-conventional-guy-sort of laughter: “he-he-he, yeah”,  and disappeared down the path.

I despise him.


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