a Taj MuttHall Dog Diary: Mario Brothers Agility

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Mario Brothers Agility

SUMMARY: Life imitates art: Getting to agility class.
I've never felt so much like I was playing a video game in real life as I did last night on my way to agility class. Spooky, how things kept stacking up, like some insane game designer was chortling in the background as he threw things at me. I wasn't sure whether to hope for, or fear, moving up a level, because then doesn't it get harder? Even though maybe you've gained a 2d20 vorpal sword or the equivalent? 2d20 front cross? Anyway--

Pedestrians were everywhere, which is odd, because in Silicon Suburbia, no one walks anywhere. And of course they weren't using crosswalks. Which I sometimes don't, either, but at least I have the courtesy to stay on the sidewalk or in the median as a car approaches. But no, they'd stop, so I'd continue at my 40 MPH, and THEN they'd step out into the road. Two different locations. How quickly can you say Stop? Or the guy walking along the narrow windy hillside road up to class. OK, if you're going to walk and you're up there, well, that's all you can do, be in the road. But scary driving by.

My Stimulus Dollars are going to work repaving the badly disintegrated roads in my neighborhood, which is great, but that means that there are no lines yet painted on the 2--or is it 3--lane roads with MPHs of 35 to 40. I know where the lanes are from experience, but apparently other drivers don't, so watch out for those weird drifting motions in front of you.

And I seemed to hit traffic lights at that awful "Do you stop or don't you" point, that fractional second where it's not clear which is better, then at one you decide to jam the brakes, then realize that the guy behind you has decided to go for it. Yikes. I think I was very lucky that he didn't hit me; all I could think was that the dogs were in their crates in the very back and that's where he'd be hitting MUTT MVR if he couldn't stop.

Then there was the bird in the grass next to Hwy 87 who decided to take off just when I whipped past at 65. Whap! I hate it; don't remember whether I've hit a bird before, but probably. I try not to think about little nestlings somewhere whose mom isn't coming back. Like the abandoned nest and egg on my back porch. I'm just lucky he didn't get 12" further along, because I could just see him hit next to my windshield. At that speed, I might have had a cracked window.

CHP vehicles were driving on I-280. And paranoid dingbats all slow down to the cops' speed, even if the cop is in the slow right lane bogged down by traffic and the dingbats are in the fast lane. Plus that merge from 87 to 280 is always a weave-fest anyway.

On Alum Rock, the major arterial leading up to the foothills, traffic came nearly to a stand-still; I could see one or two cars going through the next traffic light each cycle but couldn't see why so few. Finally got to the intersection, where there's a cop car and a broken water main. There are 3 lanes of traffic and NONE of them are blocked by this, just right turners. Had to have been the looky-loos holding things up. (I got a photo while stopped at the light.)

With long daylight hours and nice weather (only low 80s F yesterday), the road up to class is a popular place for bicyclists. Another popular thing that you'd probably never catch me doing; narrow and windy and wayyy too many cars. Scary when you're driving up and see a bike veering out into your lane coming down the curve ahead of you, and there were a couple like that last night.

AND cars doing the same thing! Yikes! Usually people are pretty careful on this road. Maybe they were pissed off about having to drive behind bicyclists.

Fortunately, no deer running out in front of me this time (that was last week; half-sized guy still with white spots). But at the driveway entrance to class, some turkeys were having some kind of family reunion. Couple of adults and a whole slew of teenagers. Yeah, REALLY turkeys. And they were not impressed that I wanted to drive into where they were hanging out. The finally dispersed; guess that when one of the adults felt worried enough to actually FLY up onto the fence, the others decided that discretion was the better part of valor and scrambled for cover.

Whew! And then I was at class, still alive, not bumped up one level to where it was impossible to survive. The girls did very well in class; Boost knocked some bars but not really a lot. Serps are still a problem both in bars (maybe I'm in her way) and in not wanting to come in to the serp jump. But everyone's contacts were lovely! Remember that when this weekend's trial rolls around... and we start feeding the quarters into the REAL agility NASCAR game.

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