Being Californian and always eager to break out the legs when the weather is even remotely warm enough, I decided to wear shorts while out walking Kenji this last weekend, a rare sunny and beautiful weekend in New York. Bad decision, considering I had already experienced last year how utterly weird New Yorkers get about posthaste post-winter shorts. (It’s never daily temperature that dictates sartorial decisions, but season.)
I strolled down the long park in front of my apartment with Kenji, me humming lightly to myself as I contemplated how lovely the yellow daffodils along the path were, him determinedly searching for every remote sign of dog piss, happily sniffing away, then lifting his leg and urinating vehemently all over the already-marked territory. It was in this fashion that I ended up walking well ahead of Kenji and stretching his leash out to its entire five-foot length.
Two homeless guys sitting on a bench nearby broke off from their conversation as I passed. One flashed me a toothy grin.
“How long does that get, EH?” he asked.
To emphasize the magnitude of his question, he held up his fingers and indicated lengthening and shortening by intermittently moving them farther away from then closer to each other.
I flashed him an awkward smile. “I think that’s about the limit,” I said, yanking on Kenji’s leash, then hurried on down the path.
About a block down, we passed by two more homeless men yet again people-watching from a park bench. Admittedly, I have no way of confirming whether these considerate gentlemen were appreciative of my ass or very, very enthusiastic dog aficionados, but I’ll leave that to you to decide.
Upon passing, I heard them say, “I’d like to own me a sweet thang like that, mm MMM!”
I felt my cheeks flush, and resisted the urge to turn around and confirm my suspicions. I mean, what can you do in a situation like that? Spinning around in a huff and telling them to shut it could possibly wrought a defensive, potentially dangerous/at the least aggravating response, and even if merely a relatively peaceful exchange were to ensure, I would already have acknowledged — and thus affirmed — their wanton and completely unwelcome attempts. So instead, I opted for avoidance.
“Kenji, come!” I tugged on Kenji’s leash and as usual felt him resisting the pressure. I tugged again. Second tug usually resulted in begrudging acquiescence, so when Kenji resisted yet again, I finally turned around to see what had his attention. To my consternation, Kenji had chosen just that moment to pop a squat. He looked up at me with a sad look on his face, then promptly began to rid himself of the biggest, slowest load of doggie doo from his relief-seeking bowels.
So, again, what could I do? I waited unhappily for him to conclude his business, shifting uncomfortably from foot to foot and trying to pull my sweater down farther to cover as much of myself as I could. Then when he had finished, I bent over to pick up Kenji’s residue. Then, red in the face, I briskly walked away with Kenji in tow as the homeless men hooted appreciatively at my retreating backside.