Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Pride, Tree Roots, Fall

Out having a stroll around Arrow Park yesterday and walked up the mud path towards the fish pond. There I stood for some time, soaking up the sun and looking at the ducks. Sometimes there's a Heron here and I was wondering if I might see it. It looks as if it has not arrived yet.

I set off again along the mud path. To one side a metal fence over which was the steep bank down to the water. To the other side thin trees and more indistinct pathways.

Coming towards me was a tubby, out of breath woman, possessing the vast expanse of a pink top. She must have been forty, and though jogging, looked like it was not a frequent activity. (Not that I should criticise, being older and more out of condition then she.)

I stepped to one side to let the expanse pass. She waddled onward, puffing. Beside her a little off white scottie dog struggled to keep up; half dragged along on its tartan lead; its little legs spinning away at the ground.

She loomed closer on the mud path, and when the pink expanse was alongside, tripped on a tree root, squealed and fell; of all places right beside me. It was odd, and not entirely pleasant, looking at her from such an unusual angle: flat on her back and down below.

“Oh, Georgie,” she squealed. That horrible little dog must have been called Georgie. It just stood there, looked on, attached to its red tartan lead. Frankly I wondered how it might react, you never know with dogs, it might have thought its owner was under attack. But it just stood there, attached to its lead, compliant.

From this bizarre angle I looked the woman up and down: the plump sweaty face, all puffy and red; the obviously dyed too blond hair, tied in the most constricting of knots behind her head; the too tight lilac shorts, undefining her fatty contours; the podgy legs. Like the dog, I did not know how to react. Should I try and help her up? And would that appear like I was trying to grab her? (Grab her! No way, no thanks.)

I gestured to help and she gestured no-thanks. Fortunately the worst the she appeared to have suffered was embarrassment; and she must have felt that in great big spoonfuls. More quickly than she should, and out of breath, she started to get up.

She stumble up and limped off with as much dignity as she could muster. I resumed walking in the other direction and felt her embarrassment.

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