Monday, January 14, 2008

Musings: Slow Down, Pay Attention

Today got off to a very bad start.

Let me correct myself. It got off to a fine start, but within 10 minutes took a serious downward turn.

Tired from the writing workshop, I slept in a bit, and Koko and I set out on our walk later than usual. It was bright light, with a chill north wind blowing, and all the dogs along our route could see us as we walked past, and began barking.

I got to the bend, where the lady lives with two very small dogs, and as we walked by, the Chihuahua ran into the road to check out Koko. It was a quick encounter, a darting sort of move, just across the street, and heading back, paying no heed, and neither, apparently, was the driver of a red pick-up truck, with big, knobby tires, and I saw it all happen before it even did, praying it wouldn’t turn out as badly as was likely.

I saw the left front tire deliver a glancing blow that sent the dog skittering for about two feet and then he began yelping, in the way that dogs do when they’re frightened or hurt, and I ran to him and scooped up his warm body, and the yelping stopped and his eyes took on that swimming look.

Just then his human arrived, for she had been out there in the yard with them, and I delivered him into her arms and watched her pull him close and stroke her chin along his soft fur.

“Did you see where he got runned over?” she asked.

I wasn’t certain, but thought his back had been hit, and told her so, and also that I was so sorry, and touched her shoulder and we both turned away and I kept walking, though I had no more joy in me, not like Bear and Girl, who were waiting for us, just a few hundred feet down the road, in front of their house, tails wagging, excited.

“Stay,” I said sternly, putting my hand out, and they recoiled like they thought I was going to hit them.

“Stay,” I commanded again as they started to follow, and they stayed, though I saw the bewilderment in their faces. How could I explain I couldn’t bear to witness any more trauma this morning?

I walked on, numbly, praying for that dog, who I hoped might have a chance, and his human, who I know loves her dogs so dearly. I wondered about the man in the truck who didn’t stop, or even slow down; perhaps he hadn’t realized he’d hit an animal, although surely he felt the thump, and his windows were rolled up, so maybe he didn’t hear the yelping. But as I walked, crashing through fallen branches, I wasn’t so inclined to give him the benefit of the doubt.

He was going too fast on that narrow, curving road, and if he’d been paying the slightest bit of attention he would have seen me with my dog on the side of the road, seen the Chihuahua dash out, been preparing for him to run back.

I turned around about half-way and headed home, wondering why I’d started out late this morning, why the dog picked that moment, of all the days we’d walked by, to check out Koko, why the truck drove by just then.

We passed Girl and Bear again, and Girl followed us for a little ways, or rather, led, just down to the place where the dog had been hit, trotting in the road, ignoring my admonitions to move onto the shoulder, and as each car passed I wanted to scream, slow down, pay attention, but of course, I didn’t, and only snuffled back tears.

Moving on to some reader comments, Laura Christine asked: "Is it true that you applied to host a news show on KKCR and were turned away?"

First, thanks, Laura, for your kind words about the Veil series. I’ll post part VI today. My experiences with trying to get a show on KKCR have been thus:

Not long after the station got on the air, a friend invited me to check out the studio, and I did, and recorded a station ID. The woman who was running things at that time, Mary, said I didn't have a good radio voice.

A year or so later, I asked about doing a news show, but was told I'd need to write a grant to get funding to pay for it, so didn't pursue it.

About four years ago, when I heard the late Michael Vandeveer was looking for a co-host, I called and asked what it would take to get on the air. He said I could start by coming down and cleaning the toilets and emptying trash. Then he said he didn’t like to work with middle-aged women, anyway, because they're too bossy, so I didn’t pursue it.

Finally, last year, when I heard Ann West was giving up her show, I called station manager Larry LaSota and said I’d like to put my name in the hat. He said that was fine, but first I’d need to do 30 hours of volunteer service and there were several people already in line for shows ahead of me. So again I didn’t pursue it.

Another reader, anonymous, wrote: “Joan I also find it very interesting that several posts have disappeared from the site... some say they've been removed some have just disappeared entirely. I'm hoping that they have not been removed just because you disagree with their content. Please educate us on how and why some posts are removed.”

Thanks for asking. I have removed two comments. One was my own, because I’d made an error and I I wanted to correct it. The other contained the personal email of the KKCR board chairman, and I didn’t think it was appropriate to post that.

As for other comments “disappearing,” I can’t be certain of that, as I don’t track comments on the site, I just review copies of the comments that Blogger sends to me via email. However, I believe persons with Blogger (and perhaps Google) accounts can delete their own comments, so that may have happened.

I welcome all points of view and will not remove a comment, even if I disagree with the content.

Mahalo to everyone for reading and adding your comments. I enjoy and appreciate the interaction.


Larry said...

I'm sorry for the little dog. When we lived in New York City, a medium-sized dog ran out between some cars and I hit it. It died quickly. I didn't see it until it was practically under the right tire. In New York, this happens, when dogs are allowed to run loose, but I felt awful, really, really, awful, and of course tried to locate the owner. No one said they knew the dog or owner, and I arranged for its (very undignified) disposal.

But I knew I had hit something and I stopped to take care of it. I have no kind words for the truck driver, who likely also knew. At the same time, I wonder about the wisdom of letting dogs run free near traffic, and also why the speed laws are never enforced.

Life is complicated, and can be very sad at times, and whether it is a dog injured in traffic or an elderly pedestrian hit in a crosswalk, there are things we might do to prevent similar events in the future. That is, if anyone cares.

Joan Conrow said...

Yes, Larry, life is complicated, and it seems some people care too much, and others not at all.