I knew eventually someone would complain.
The first sign of Spring had erupted even though it was still ungodly cold: Nine million or so budding athletes began buzzing the baseball diamonds of Loch Haven park.
Sometimes things just boil down to a turf war between those who have given birth to their charges and those of us who have not. Having not, mine were on leashes, as we made our way into one of the fields. There was just one practice going on, and I blocked the escape routes of ours so the girls wouldn’t be tempted to interfere in theirs.
I bent to unclip their leashes.
“Uh ma’am, we’d like to ask you not to do that.”
I looked up to see two um, gentlemen wearing plaid flannel shirts. Definitely extra -large flannel shirts.
“Don’t run your dogs on the fields. We come out here and work on these things to make ‘em nice for the kids to play on them and your dogs tear them up.”
“Who are you?” I asked.
“We’re asking you nicely.”
“But who are you? Are you with the county?”
“The dogs dig.” He refused to identify himself. “We’re trying to ask you nicely.”
It didn’t feel nice. And it didn’t seem like anyone was taking care of the fields.
“There are piles of deer poop in there. And I don’t let my dogs dig. They just run. And I clean up after them,” I said gesturing to my trusty treat and pooh bag holder, strapped sideways across my body.
“YOU’RE AN IDIOT,” the fattest one muttered.
If you’ve ever wondered what goes on inside Hulk’s brain when he’s becoming Hulk, I can tell you. I didn’t turn green but there were definitely smoke and lightening zots shooting between my ears.
“WHO ARE YOU WITH?” I demanded, wondering why I’d not trained my sweet girls to tear a man’s crotch out.
“We are just parents who come out here to work on the fields.”
Clearly, they were not doing a very good job.
“You know,” the not-as-fat one said, as if he were giving me a tip on a hot stock, “Some of the parents take pictures of your license plate if they see you out here with a dog.”
“WHAT ARE THEY GOING TO DO WITH THOSE?” I said, laughing.
These were not parents. They were stalkers.
Unwilling to be accosted by the entire Friends of Flannel brigade, I heeled the girls and steamed off to my car. We haven’t been back. We are trying to cooperate.
A few weeks later my friends, Susan and Paul, who have twice birthed children and who also have a dog, invited me to Sands Road park, where there is nothing but grass and the river. It is all perfection for the owners of big dogs who like to run. Lillian, Delilah and Brie galloped and rolled and swam and played and no one was happier to be introduced to this gem than I.
I explained my glee to Paul as we walked back toward the park entrance.
“Yeah, it’s nice, but you know there’s talk of putting up some baseball diamonds in here,” Paul said.
“Well, if they can come up with the money…”
“NOOOOOOO. How many baseball diamonds does the county need? Where can you go run a dog without worrying about traffic? Do you know some big fat REDNECK parents kicked me out of Loch Haven park a few weeks ago because…”
Paul looked at me.
“Ohhh,” he said with a slight grin, “You’re THAT girl.”
“You mean you’re one of THEM?”
“Y- well I heard the story. Did they threaten to take pictures of your car?”
“YES, the weird, stalky fat people DID threaten to take pictures of my car.”
I felt like the slutty girl in high school who didn’t know everyone knew.
“I just want somewhere to run my dogs, Paul.”
“Well I agree with you, I am always looking for places to run Brie.”
So, he was not one of them. Not really. However, I would forever be “THAT GIRL”.