April, 2011

Apr 11

Why can’t able-bodied people lock doors?


Twice in the last week I’ve pressed the ‘open door’ button on disabled toilets to reveal a seemingly able-bodied person sitting on the loo — in one case reading a newspaper. It’s bad enough to use the disabled toilet when you don’t need it. But the least you can do is lock the door!

I think I know what has happened. The locks on some modern shopping centre toilets are time limited. If you don’t unlock it within 10 minutes, it unlocks itself. One centre even had to put up a sign to remind people (see picture above).

So the folks I’ve rolled in on have committed multiple sins — using a toilet to which they are not entitled, not keeping the door locked, and being bloody slow! Wise up folks.

After these two occasions I’m now going to have my phone at the ready when I press the open door button. The next person I catch is getting posted on this blog.

Apr 11

Rant about little dogs

What is it about little dogs? Why do they have to prove their masculinity by yapping? Ok, I’ll admit, I’m the owner of a big dog — a Golden Retriever — so I do view little dogs as something of a waste of time. She’s far from obedience personified. She has a particular dislike of possums. If one simply dares walk along our fence line, she nearly knocks the fence down in her attempt to get it. But possums are smarter than dogs. They think it’s a great joke to sit in a tree, just out of her reach, and watch her go crazy. They are the Road Runner to her Wily Coyote. I hope she never discovers ACME on eBay.

But I’m digressing. Despite Bloss’s imperfections, she’s mostly even tempered. She’s a ‘doggy’ dog. She loves other dogs. She’s not neurotic.

We often run across small dogs on our daily walks. Almost invariably they go berserk. I’ve seen one tiny white dog, sensibly locked indoors by its owner, tear a curtain down with frenetic paddling on the glass door. I’ve seen tiny dogs, no bigger or more attractive than large rats, bite their owners as they pick them up as we pass.

And for what?

When Bloss meets another dog on the street, she has a sniff, sometimes touches noses, and, satisfied with the introduction, moves on. Walking is more fun than schmoozing.

A few months ago, on the way home from Sydney Olympic Park, I decided to go via small off-leash area and let Bloss have a free run. As soon as we arrived, a woman arrived with her small dog and let it off. Immediately upon being released, the small dog went crazy. It went in and out of Bloss’s legs, trying to bite her as it went. It was barking constantly, with each bark running together into a high pitched squeal.

Its frantic owner, clearly appalled by her dog’s behavior, was trying to pick it up, but she couldn’t catch it. I decided the only way to resolve the fracas was to speed off, with Bloss still attached, and drag her out of there. I hit the power lever and took off. At just that moment, the small dog ran directly in front of my chair and went straight under me. I felt a small bump. The look on the owner’s face had to be seen to be imagined.

At this point, I should admit family form on such behavior. My paternal grandfather, a man of very few words, was walking home from a day’s work 70 years ago and was confronted by a neighbor’s small dog, yapping around his legs and jumping up on him. He was carrying a shovel and gave the dog a quick swipe with the shovel to get it away from him. The dog gave a quick yelp and fell over, clearly dead.

I can only imagine Granddad’s pain, who enjoyed chatting to neighbors as much a dose of castor oil, arriving at his neighbor’s door and trying to explain what had happened. ‘Your dog was barking at me and trying to bite me, Mavis.’ ‘Oh, he’s a naughty little fellow. Where is he and I’ll give him a good talking to?’

All these memories washed over me as I looked at the owner. The blood had drained from her face and she looked very ill. If looks could kill, my headstone would be forever inscribed ‘Those Barrys – They Kill Small Dogs’.

Suddenly, there was a muffled yap, and a small dog emerged out the back of my scooter. It was still barking.

I decided the best place for me to be was somewhere else. So Bloss and I zoomed off and never looked back.

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