Monday, October 8, 2007

Cast of Characters

Yeah, yeah, yeah, we get it; you walk your dog a lot. But who else is out there on the trail at the lake?

First there are The Fishers, those people who settle on the shore of the lake with their poles in hopes of catching one of the seeming hundreds of fish which leap from the surface every night at dusk. I never quite see them, but as we walk the trail I might catch a flash of silver, or a dark body cutting the water. Often times I hear the splash and turn only to the see the ripples fanning out in widening circles. They are elusive, these fish, but The Fishers believe they can net one. What they'd do with it once they caught it, I can't say. Most of them seem ill-prepared. Tonight, the role of The Fishers was played by a pudgy woman and her daughter, who wore too-tight jeans. They'd spread a veritable gourmet buffet feast out before them, and although they had the poles and a small tackle box, they lacked an actual net or anything that looked like something in which they could carry one. The daughter was disgusted at having to worm her hook, and her mother, too busy slicing pieces of some sort of focaccia sandwich, didn't seem interested enough to help out. They weren't the only ones, of course, but the others were mostly elderly men over from the retirement community on the south-western shore, all of whom looked deadly serious in their task, and could easily have been confused with one another.

Then there are the Juicy Buns, those women who wear the low-waisted velour warm-up pants with "cute" sayings stenciled across the cheeks: Juicy Buns, Rude Girl, Princess. These are the girls who are too young to have husbands and children, but are frantically searching for the perfect man to ignore and resent, someone to make their lives incomplete. They tend to travel in pairs, and if you see one, chances are the other is nothing to look at–the girl they keep to make themselves look prettier, or juicier, as the case may be. Despite their attempt at looking seductive, they come across as simply needy, and in good need of a self-esteem tune-up.

Quite often, but not always, we see The Horn Dogs, the returned Mormon missionaries who are out with their dates, walking the trail, always angling for the perfect view to share with the girls whom they're wooing. Rather than the normal mating dance rituals of booze and loud music, these young men ply their women with ice cream cones from the nearby shop and scenic views and questions like, "This is pretty right? Isn't this pretty?" They're clean-cut and fast approaching an age which, in their church, invites unwanted questions as to why they don't yet have wives. If there's a bench overlooking the sunset they'll practically froth at the mouth in an attempt to get their girls into it to share a quiet, romantic moment.

What group wouldn't be complete without The Jocks? Johnson Reservoir, as the lake is officially known, is bursting at the seams with countless runners, speed walkers (made up primarily of middle-aged women with low baseball caps and sunglasses), bicyclists and roller-bladers. They tend to do several laps around the lake to each one of ours, and although they say nothing, except an occasional, "On your left," they can be heard huffing up behind you, like some rut-crazy elk. My favorite Jock is the roller-blading priest. At least I think he's a priest. He's very tall, always wears a dark shirt with a white collar and either nylon shorts or warm-ups. The thing about him is his iPod, which he sings along with as if no one else can hear him. We see him nearly every day and it seems his collection is made up almost entirely of 80's power ballads, made popular by the likes of Night Ranger and REO Speedwagon.

Duncan and I belong to a class known as The Big Dogs. We're the ones with the big dogs, the labs and retrievers, the shepherds and boxers. There are a good number of terriers, bijon frise, maltese and chihuahuas, but these are usually owned by The Juicy Buns and occasionally tolerated by The Horn Dogs, who'll put up with anything just to get a wife (read: sex). The Doggers are those of us who say things like, "Leave it," all the time. It tends to take us longer to circumnavigate the lake as our pets stop every couple of feet to sniff or mark, or brush noses with other dogs. We make people like The Jocks nervous with our long leashes and our dogs desires to investigate both sides of the trail. We are the only group with our own signs, which I think sets us above the rest.

Regardless, we all enjoy the lake, and although we may not always greet one another, we do tend to smile or nod our heads, a shared silent language.


Kelly said...

Nice post! Made me smile quite a few times. The Charlie Brown and Snoopy image is so awesome. Love it!

Oh and the perfectly circular turds coming from that dog would sure be a great change from what REALLY comes out.

Kelly said...

Oh and I love that Night Ranger and REO Speedwagon warranted label recognition. You crack me up! :)

Curt Rogers said...

Ya never know, I may just find a way to mention those two bands over and over and someone, some sad, sad soul may want to read everything I've said about them. I think we should have a blog contest to see how many times in one year we can mention one of those two bands. Maybe even add a third to spice it up. C'mon, whaddya say?!

Ruth said...

I think you're a little hard on The J-Buns. But maybe that's just because I have a pair of low-waisted velour warm-up pants with "Bite Me" on the ass.

Kevi said...

I enjoyed this one. I was actually going to say something about them being quite a cast of characters...and then I reread your title. Hum.