A short story.
Location: summer in Lake Tahoe.
There’s a woman I was warned about.
Who makes her golden retriever dawg wear shoes on walks in these wild beautiful woods I’m basecamped in.
She rides her bicycle without a helmet on and carries a shock stick to attack other dogs that come anywhere near them. Recipe for disaster.
Lived here for years. Called a Karen by her neighbors because she takes this recipe for disaster to the one area all the locals let their dogs run free in & snarls at them for disobeying the leash law, feigning fear. She was attacked once is the story.
It’s been three Wednesdays of calmly avoiding interactions with her. Because the dance was destined for today . Coming back from walking a 1 & 2 yr old. Puppies. Well known. Also golden retrievers. The 1 yr old skipped towards her but I called him & he came to me, as did his big brother. I leashed them as is the protocol & they sat to give her space to go by.
She couldn’t resist. The kracken lunged up out of her soul to carry on. Pure Kareninanity. Our first interaction.
“You know, you’re supposed to leash them,” she called out in a huff after she’d rolled a few paces.
“You just saw me do that-” I responded.
“It’s the LAW!” she railed.
“Are you just being a Karen or do you want to have an actual conversation? ” I asked pointedly. Threw her off guard. I repeated the question.
“I don’t understand-” she said angrily.
“Yes you do. Do you actually want to talk or are you being a Karen and just bitching?”
“I’m on my bike with my dog! It’s very dangerous- you don’t understand-I’ve been viciously attacked by two dogs-“
“Yet I know for a fact at least twice a day you ride your bike (in a sunhat!) into the ONE area at the end of this neighborhood that you Know everyone lets their dogs run free in, wielding your shock stick- “
“I’ve been attacked- I’m afraid!”
“Then why keep going to the one area where you could have that happen again, on purpose? I’m asking seriously. If you’re so scared &there are all these other areas(and you don’t even let your dog enjoy it here) why torture yourself? “
“I should be able to come here too! Without thinking I’m going to be attacked! They should be on a leash-“
“You saw me put them on leash & wait for you to pass-“
“But still! I’ve been violently attacked!”
“Have these dogs Ever attacked you?”
She paused, taken back by my question “…what? “
“I know you know them (same breed). Have either one of them EVER attacked you?”
“Okay, well no but-“
“Look. I know someone who was riding his bike with his dog & it went after a squirrel. He went flying, cracked his collarbone. So I get it. The fear. But you’re basically Asking the universe to hurt you with your antics.”
“No I’m not! Why would I- “
“You’re going to the one area that a loose dog Could do that, the one place it could likely happen again. & you’re threatening dogs you see everyday with a shock stick. And I KNOW you know these dogs & they’ve Never ever tried to harm you-“
She looked at me with the quintessential “I can’t believe you’re speaking sense to me and I’m hearing it-” cheeky Karen face.
“You just need to get some actual courage If you’re going to keep putting you in harm’s way-“
It wasn’t an argument.
And no, she wasn’t happy that I made her talk instead of reptilian brain out. But she dealt with it.
“If you’re not asking the universe to give that violence to you again… you have to stop doing the thing that primes you to receive it again.
The harm’s way was bullshit. If she was worried about Safety she would not be tying her dog to her handlebars riding in a curvy area full of unleashed dogs with no helmet. But I spoke to her where she was.
“I can yell back at your back as stupidly as… or I can ask you what (the fuck) is really going on with you. I see you twice a day at least. You’re not making sense.”
She grunted and rode off to her home.
There’s a demarcation. Poles on the edge of a field of wildflowers about 30 yards past the final property that I was told everyone unleashes at. I go in a bit further & I always leash them there coming back. Today as usual.
I see the moral of the story in there for me. I’ve been facing off with a lot of fear this month. Alot of it was rooted in shit I’d precariously fed myself or placed my head, heart or body in. So I’ve been changing things.
Maybe that’s why I was not actually mad at her, I was just “Done” with the expression of nonsense, within or without. God only knows what she’s going to attempt next.
But I stayed present.
And actually talked. To her. With her.
Even seeing the seething monkeys on her back making her repeat this dance twice a day, clear as day.
She’s still tormented by that dog attack but it’s making her angrily put herself back in position to be attacked, just this time with a weapon. & her fear & anger is even higher so the weapon hasn’t done Anything by being there but made her worse. She’s literally in a community already and instead of allowing herself to be held by that community so she could heal she’s positioned herself as the one who will harm all their dogs…and that positioning has brought her no peace.
We’re going to have to “help” each other. Interaction by interaction.
Or it’s all gonna be a wash.
©️Angel Brynner 2022