Thursday, May 27, 2010

Chain Your Dog

To a certain degree, we here at the Drive-In deal in fear. But as our dear readers know, our fear is very tongue-in-cheek - that is to say, we try to maintain a sense of humor about what we do. But every once in awhile you get reminded of what true fear is, and suddenly the glorified horror of Hollywood pales in comparison.

At 6:00 a.m. this morning I went for my daily run. We're on vacation at my in-laws in a sleepy little town in Iowa, so the streets are unfamiliar, the neighborhood uncharted. While enjoying the crisp morning air, the birds singing, the sun rising - I received a sudden jolt of pure fear right into my very veins.

I saw the dog. The dog saw me.

He was in his yard, I was in the street. I had to pass by, and I could see the dog was prepared to defend his turf. But my legs kept moving, despite the protestations of my brain. When his cackles got up and his ears went back, I stopped in my tracks. But when he bared his teeth and barked, lunging forward feigning a charge at me, is when I was really terrified. My reaction was interesting. I skidded to a halt, a hand moved to protect the part of me that is most precious, and I shouted "NO!" at the dog, all without thinking - just some kind of an innate survival instinct I suppose.

I walked over to the other side of the street, all the while keeping an eye on the Cujo look-a-like. When I got to the far side of the dog's domain, I saw the canine's owner smoking a cigarette on the other side of his house. He casually called to the dog, calling off the imminent attack, and I had a word of advice for him:

"Chain your damn dog!"

I suppose it's good to be reminded every once in awhile of what real fear is. It keeps you honest, keeps you on your toes, reminds you that deep down inside we all have a will to live. Maybe I owe that dog a thank you, but I have a feeling I'll be running a different route tomorrow...

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