Sunday, November 27, 2011

What makes you special?

I haven't blogged in awhile. I've been enjoying not training for anything and having my runs be spontaneous mileage based on what I feel like that day. My runs have averaged between 6 and 8 miles. It's nice to feel like 6 miles is a short run! I've been in Minneapolis these past few days, and have enjoyed two runs around Lake Harriet and Lake Calhoun. I did the 8.79 mile loop this morning in 1:21, about a 9:13 minute mile. Yesterday I did the same run and logged a 9:40 pace. Interestingly, this morning I was sweating out the Fulton beers* and Amstels I drank last night with one of my best friends. We went to the amazing concert at the Cedar Cultural Center featuring Sophie Hunger and Tinariwen. Last night's activities reinforced how much I love Minneapolis. I reconnected with one of the most amazing women I know. Our conversation all night was invigorating, refreshing, and comforting all at once. Together we enjoyed the cultural offerings brought by other enlightened individuals. She is special because of the bigness of her heart, the openness of her mind. This empathy is reflected publicly by the promotion and support of global music and culture within the city. While last night and this morning were fantastic, yesterday morning's run left me feeling annoyed. A small incident on my last mile left me with a feeling of negativity towards humanity because I experienced the opposite of the open empathetic interest in which I participated last night. Rather, two individuals jogging around Lake Harriet showed themselves to be selfish, arrogant, and totally unsympathetic to the comfort of others, or in tune to the realities of safety. How did joggers offend a fellow runner so deeply? By running with their 60 pound dog off-leash.

I have a dog. I know how much dogs love to run around freely. I also know how instinct-driven dogs are, no matter how well-trained you think your dog may be. Dog parks and leash laws are meant to provide a balance of comfort and enjoyment of public resources for both dog owners and those who choose not to have dogs. Whenever I see this phenomenon of dog owners flouting leash laws, my reaction is always negative because I am so aware of how selfish the act is. I always think "what makes you so special?" Other people's dogs are on leashes. MY dog is on a leash. Why do you get to let yours run around? Ultimately why I am so bothered is because this seemingly liberating action shows the arrogance and hubris of humans. To think a human can actually control an animal with only voice commands! I don't care if 99.9% of the time your animal is under voice control. There WILL be the .01% time that some juicy squirrel runs past your dog, and your dog runs after it into the street and gets hit by a car. Or, the .01% chance that someone else's dog hates your dog, and starts a fight because your "friendly" dog wanted to check that dog out. Or the .01% chance that your "friendly" dog runs up to someone who is deathly afraid of dogs. Or the .01% chance that your dog, running free as it is, runs in front of someone, and trips that person. The first scenario reflects how thoughtless selfishness can have totally opposite effects than intended--instead of freedom for your dog, your dog dies or is injured. The other three scenarios show how selfish hubris not only adversely affect others, but also can be liabilities for the dog owner.

What makes you special? I hope it is that you consider other sentient beings' feelings and comfort before your own.

*This a delicious beer brewed locally in Southwest Minneapolis. I went to Fulton elementary K-3rd grade; my parents still live in the Fulton neighborhood.

1 comment:

  1. Excellent points! I've had to remind a few people that yes, our little town has a leash law. As your mother will tell you, our dog is not all that obedient, which is why he would be on a leash even if there weren't one. We do hope we get a dog park soon.