Friday, May 22, 2009

Crazy Guy

I know that Dog Park is a No Dumping Zone, but Crazy Guy is back. So I've got to say something. Crazy Guy is like quarterly taxes. You know they're coming up, and you just grit your teeth and figure out how to make the payment. Both are inevitable and annoying, but taxes are rarely dangerous. Crazy guy might be. During his latest appearance, he threatened to shoot dogs with a pistol. His imaginary pistol? Witnesses say he didn't appear to be packing. Did he expect the dogs and their owners to hang around while he went inside and got it?  There are many unanswered questions about Crazy Guy. For example, is he genuinely dangerous or just a jerk? Therein lies the tension at Dog Park.

For those who don't know, Crazy Guy resides in the last house on the north side of the park, the last house on 45th Street before you get to the Shoal Creek Bridge. His is the only yard that does not have fencing around the back. Occasionally dogs have run through CG's back yard and on to 45th Street. There have been a few fatalities. Crazy Guy insists that his mission is to save drivers' lives and cars by yelling at us about unleashed dogs. He's a middle-aged guy who claims to have enough money to buy the Park. He rides a motorcycle and claims to be a gun owner. This is Texas. I don't doubt he owns a gun, but is he a decent shot?

I first encountered Crazy Guy a couple of years ago. He was riding his motorcycle around the Park proselytizing about leashing the dogs. (Yelling at people is not illegal, but I'm sure that motorized vehicles are not allowed in the Park. Raising this issue with him led to a tit-for-tat argument about whose sin is worse: the one committed by the unleashed dog walkers or the one by the guy riding an authorized vehicle on state land in order to Save the World.) His story, laughably implausible, went something like this: "I have had to scrape 20 dead dogs out of the street in front of my house. It's no party when I have to call sorority girls and tell them that their dogs are dead. When are you people going to straighten up? Dogs are dying!" Sorority girls? A dozen dogs? What is he talking about? We blew him off. When he drove the bike back to his yard, he led pack of  excited dogs into his yard and perilously near the street. Thanks, Crazy Guy. Was his plan to lure all the unleashed dogs onto 45th Street at rush hour just to prove his point? Again, devious or bone-headed but lucky?

My more recent encounter with Crazy Guy is mostly unprintable. If I'd been smart, I'd have just kept my mouth shut and kept walking. My dogs weren't anywhere near him or his place. But I used impolite language, which forced him to get on his motorcycle and chase me up the trail so he could teach me a lesson. (His exact words were, "If you ever use language like that again, young lady . . .") Crazy Guy is not a small man, but his bike is surprisingly girly. It's a Honda, not a Harley. And it's a lovely shade of aqua. Maybe that's why I was not really afraid. I told him to leave us alone, that walking unleashed dogs was pretty much a victimless crime. He told me that I was stupid and that I was risking the lives of innocent drivers everywhere. Then he pulled out his phone and called the police. I did not hang around to hear his plea. Could it have been "Help me. A tiny, angry woman is saying mean things to me." Then he rolled away. 

He'd been out of the picture for about five months when he surfaced again this week. Two of the Park's friendliest dogs, Ellie and Lolo, approached him, which is what set him off. (He told their owners that one of his neighbors had contracted rabies from a bite received in the Park. Idiot. All the Parkers know this story, and Crazy Guy has it all wrong. The man was bitten by dog that was on a leash. The bitten man did not think to ask the owner to stop and help him. No one knows the dog or the woman, based on the man's vague descriptions. The man has voluntarily undergone rabies treatment because the owner could not be contacted about the dog's vaccinations.) Lolo and Ellie's owners, both women, called their dogs, did not address Crazy Guy, and fled. Crazy Guy apparently did not call Animal Control or the police this time. Apparently, he has to feel physically threatened by women before he does. 

As several people have pointed out, it's always something lately at the Dog Park. If it's not Animal Control or strangers letting their dogs bite neighbors or people not picking up their dog's poop or spear grass and burs or snakes or bad weather, it's Crazy Guy. There are times when Dog Park feels less like a refuge than just one more place where we have to deal with other people's crazy shit. It is frustrating to have to negotiate with rude and/or nutty people when all you want to do is let the dogs run and forget your cares for an hour. Sometimes the crazies intrude. We just need to stay calm, refrain from using expletives, and avoid Crazy Guy's corner of the Park for a few days, but definitely keep walking. 

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