At 4:21 on a recent Sunday afternoon, I was walking the trail towards the declining sun. I’d just begun my walk and I was already anticipating the random thoughts and observations that would inevitably come.When I exited my vehicle, I was surrounded by at least 7 dogs, all of them vying for my attention as I crouched and rubbed their ears. The owner of a very large white dog kept saying, “MuffinTin, calm down!” in a weird, high-pitched voice. MuffinTin was as big as a small foreign car. If someone had a saddle at hand, we could have used him as a horse. By the way, I can also report that MuffinTin did not, in fact, ever calm down. He was galloping across the field with wild abandon as I walked along the wide curve of the trail. I could hear his owner shouting at him with her exotic and strange voice.
I cut through the serpentine portion of the trail, the section I love. I smelled the pungent smell of marijuana. It was a very strong odor, not a lingering one from someone who had toked with abandon and then abandoned the trailside. I imagined that the smoke was coming from someone in the thinning Autumn brush, someone who was hiding away from prying eyes. I looked around with curiosity but I couldn’t see evidence of anyone crouching in the brush, nor the obvious waft of smoke in the air. Out of amusement, I shout, “Dude, where’s my car?” one time with the faint hope of startling someone in the bushes.
As I exited the far end of the serpentine path and I noted a patrol car parked diagonally across multiple spaces in the parking lot. The lot is the one which faces a wide expanse of field, and the water park on the opposite side of the acreage. A sunglasses-wearing officer sits in the front seat, probably doing paperwork or swan origami. Who knows what police really do in these situations? I laughed to myself because I would have loved to run up to the policeman, tap the window and watch his expression as he cautiously lowered his window, listening to my incredible story of someone smoking pot probably within 30 yards of where he was sitting. I, of course, didn’t do this and not just because my walk is more important than ruining a cop’s lazy Sunday afternoon but also because I assume whoever is out there is an adult. If the policeman wanted to chase someone, I wish he’d come to my neighborhood and chase the guy who thinks urinating near the side of his house is a brilliant choice during daylight hours. Also, I’m pretty sure that guy wears superhero underwear.
On the return leg of my walk, I decide to return the same route. I pass the patrol officer, still sitting stoically in his patrol car diagonally across the lines. I noted that the license plate indicated _ _ _. I cut through the trees but saw no evidence of people, much less billows of smoke in the air. Just because I was feeling like it, I said, “There’s a policeman sitting over there in the parking lot, if you’re still here. PS: Anyone can smell what you’re smoking 100 furlongs away.” (Furlongs sounds more personal, doesn’t it?) No one answered my words, of course.
Even though it is not relevant to the story, I have noticed people drinking and smoking in strange places. Most of the time, I think they have forgotten they are visible from strange angles, much like when people argue without realizing their voices can carry through multiple hallways or across yards and fences. It would be fairly easy to write a book titled, “Things Overheard In Public.”
As I walked out of the denser part of the trail, a very large dog confined by the fence barked and howled at me. I ran up to pet him, half hoping he’d take a finger with a hungry growl and snap. (It’s always been a goal of mine to have an odd number of fingers.) Getting a finger torn off would be a great story, especially for the dog.
I asked the owner the dog’s name and he told me. I then ask him if the dog speaks English or Spanish. After looking at me as if I had morphed into a large snake, the owner said, “Both, of course,” and laughed.
I sometimes amuse myself by adding “Leave potato chips by trail” on my to-do list. Whoever was smoking probably had the munchies. They won’t put vending machines by the trail, and not just because the cord would have to be at least 6,034 furlongs in length.