Apr 18 2005

I Survived Walking My Dog At Town Lake On Sunday


In Which the Author Takes the Dog Zippy For A Peaceful Stroll But Has A Panic Attack Instead

Town Lake isn’t a lake. It’s a sort of dammed-up river that runs through the center of Austin. It’s damned good-looking, and Austinites enjoy damned good-looking stuff as much as the next guy, so there is a nature trail around it.

But how anybody can take a peaceful stroll on that hell-hole of a trail is beyond me. I’ve been to prison riots that were less stressful. Danger lurks around every turn. This is because, at Town Lake, at any given moment, there are an estimated 342,000 people, all with dogs and bikes, all gyrating wildly as though stricken with palsy, all dressed (rashly in some cases, if you ask me) in minimal clothing, all hurling themselves down that trail as though it were the final furlong at Belmont.

And of the teeming throng that repairs thither of a spring afternoon, I estimate that only 30% know how to behave themselves while wearing shorts in public. The rest of this multitude are either rolling strollerfuls of toddlers over your Adidas, or mowing you down with their $2000 titanium death-bikes, or failing to control the large, hysterical dogs they obviously keep cooped up all week while they work 16 hour days, in order to maximize their frightful behavior on weekends.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. People are morons about dogs.

Last Sunday, however, as my well-behaved dog and I slinked warily amid the many-elbowed, keeping our heads down, you know, hoping to escape with our lives, I witnessed a heartwarming tableau. One of these large hysterical dogs I was telling you about lunged at us as though we were the last slab of bacon in Texas. As it lunged, its leash stretched out across the trail, creating a sort of trip-wire booby-trap. Comedy was in the air! The situation came speedily to a satisfying conclusion when the booby-trap unseated an oncoming cyclist, without ceremony.

Zippy and I toddled away unscathed, leaving the two injured parties to their remonstrances. We were happy as a couple of clams to have seen that bike asshole bust ass. Like so many of the cyclists infesting the trail, his bike had razors and spikes jutting out all over it, and he had left a trail of torn and bleeding joggers in his wake.

A dog trainer looking to drum up business could clean up if she just toddled down to Town Lake some weekend to hand out business cards.


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  1. Cory Hicks

    Ha! This is a great blog entry! Ain’t the lake just grand? :-) It’s better from a kayak or canoe or something away from the masses…

  2. Rob

    You experienced what I have termed “half-assed” day at the lake. On a nice day all the half-assed exercisers are out in force. You did a great job covering all the major categories. You missed the shoulder-to-shoulder walkers who take up the whole trail and get upset when you run by and brush into them.

    I avoid half-assed days now. If I want to go out on a half-assed day I stay east of the 1st St. bridge. All the half-assers congregate between the Lamar and Mopac bridges, thank goodness.

  3. M Hobratschk

    Yeah….kinda funny that the person with the retractable dog leash made a cyclist crash and injure himself…ha ha funny!!! How do you know that the rider was an asshole? Or are you just stereotyping cyclists now?

    Of course it’s the morons like you, keeping their fat little heads down, in their own little world, that give walkers a bad name.

  4. Twisty

    Why so touchy, M Hobratschk? Does your pussy hurt?

    I got no problem with bikes, but when you ride’em through thick pedestrian traffic you might at least attempt to deport yourself in a manner that will not cause widespread fear and panic. It is common courtesy to verbally announce yourself to walkers who can neither see nor hear your approach from astern. Town Lake on a crowded weekend is no place for hotdogging.

    The guy was an asshole because he was careening through the throng at a speed any idiot could tell was unsafe for those conditions. His little nosedive pretty much proves my point.

  5. Kim

    This is a great entry. And it’s true – I’m a dog trainer, and I never go running around Town Lake without a few business cards in my pocket.

  6. M Hobratschk

    My cat is just fine thank you. Do you know something about her I don’t know?

    I agree that there are asshole cyclists but their are alot more asshole walkers with dogs. These folks generally walk 4 a breast and are oblivious to their surroundings. They let their animal shit in the middle of the trail and act as if the trail sweeper will be right behind them.

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