I had an embarrassing incident at the gym last evening, an incident that took me right back to the sixth grade. No, not that embarrassing moment -- this was long before I hit the shower.
I got scared and skulked around the gym hiding from this guy to avoid getting his fist in my face. If that doesn't send ya back to middle school, nothing will.
The back story: A few weeks ago I went up the street to lunch a little after noon. I passed the fancy gym next door where everyone is beautiful (not the back-to-basics gym that I belong to), where a dog was tied up on the terrace outside the gym, barking his heart out. An hour or so later, I passed by on my way back from lunch; same dog, same constant barking. An hour or so after that, I stepped out again to get some stamps or something. Dog. Barking. Add that it's July so it's hot.
I'm not really one to get into other people's business, so don't count on me to spearhead an intervention. Nor am I the Patron Saint of Puppies. But I told myself that if the dog was still there on my way back from the post office, I'd have to do something.
The short story is that I screwed up my courage, asked the fancy man at the fancy desk at the fancy gym if he knew who the dog belonged to. After some ridiculous verbal shell game at the front desk, dog owner appeared, mad as hell at me. Steam coming out of his ears. The synopsis of the point-counter point of our terse, tense, short conversation was that I need to learn how to mind my own business and that he needs to learn how to take care of an animal. He said that the dog had only been out there for an hour, I said I begged to differ and promised to provide my lunch mate to prove it.
I said my peace and left. He shouted at my departing figure that if I did anything about the dog, like call the SPCA, he'd "sue me."
To which I responded, "Bring it on."
The point of the story is not just that some people don't know how to take care of a dog, but that I felt very manly man in a way that I don't often feel. I felt that I had participated in a cave man-like primal altercation. It felt scary but thrilling at the same time. For once, I was the gay guy asking for trouble.
I figured that I'd probably never see the dude again. But, who do I see out of the corner of my eye when I entered my regular gym but Dog Man. I can't tell if he sees me, but I figure there's a 50-50 chance that his peripheral vision is as good as mine. I piled up some free weights in a corner, made myself immobile, tried to work out, and generally speaking, tried to be invisible. And felt miserable.
Don't try to use this expression, I felt like a sissy. A grown man skulking around to avoid getting what at worst would be a verbal rematch. Finally I couldn't take anymore, and decided to walk by him. Not to have a conversation or a confrontation, but to let him know I saw him and that I knew that he was there. That would be good enough.
We passed in the hallway. He gave me a weird smile, and I nodded my head. That was all.
One detail: He had an odd looking pink scratch from his eye down his cheek. My petty self hopes his dog sharpened his doggy digits there.
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