On Sunday afternoons I often attend a particular group meeting in my neighborhood. It’s like a group therapy meeting, except that it involves a lot of woo. It’s also open to the public, which keeps things…interesting. You never know who will show up. I have seen all types of people there; people of all dispositions, from every walk of life.
Despite the diversity, though, the crowd is not representative of a random cross section of the local neighborhood population. No, it most assuredly is not. My personal estimate is that schizoids, sociopaths, and persons with pronounced character disorders are overrepresented in this crowd by a factor of 5.
You do not have to be a particularly perceptive individual to discern this, either. You can mind your own business are carefully as you want to, sitting only in a cluster of people you know and like, or off by yourself in a corner with your sunglasses on and iPod speakers in your ears. Sooner or later—if you are female, it will be sooner, definitely sooner—some maladjusted person will call attention to themselves, or foist their maladjustment upon you personally. This will happen.
Well, in the last few weeks, the group has been disrupted by a particularly malignant genus of degenerate wackadoodle. Specifically, a young man and his pit bull type dog.
At least, I think that he’s young—he might be chronologically older than I am. It’s hard to say because he’s dirty and crusty and looks like he is ready to party with the sex pistols—gutterpunk, you know. In any case, he is definitely immature. He brings with him a young, unneutered, pit bull type dog. The dog (shocker!) is not properly restrained—I guess collars with buckles and tags are too bourgeois for this young man’s aesthetic. Instead, the dog’s wearing a piece of knotted gray rope around its neck (looks 5/8” diameter to my not inexperienced eye), and a short purple rope is tied to this as a sort of leash. All in all, this duo looks like they showed up casting call for some post-apocalyptic movie project—Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome, perhaps.
The rules of the group state clearly: PETS ARE NOT PERMITTED IN THIS SPACE.
Apparently, rules are an affront to this man’s aesthetic, as well (shocker!), because not only does he bring the dog onto the property, he refuses to leave three times (3 times!!!) when asked to do so by the meeting’s organization committee. The dog barks loudly. It runs around unrestrained. I scrutinize it carefully and see no evidence of registration tags (shocker!).
“There’s a lot of pesticides in this building…they sprayed just last week…I wouldn’t want your poor dog to get hurt,” I hear a committee woman tell the laughing young man as the dog jumps up on someone nearby. She is attempting to reason with him. Bad tactic, Miss! Does anything about this person seem reasonable to you?
“I’m not worried about it,” says the smirking degenerate. At least he is being honest.
“But the rules say no pets…it’s for their own good—“.
“Oh, he’s a nice dog!” says Caesar Millan.
I see a few women standing in the doorway and walk over to speak to them. They want to smoke cigarettes, but are apprehensive about stepping into the courtyard because they’re scared of the dog.
That is when I decide to get involved.
I stayed after the meeting so that I could take it up with the management. I was so pissed off I could hardly see straight, but I kept my composure, of course. If you know me, you know that I never yell.
“That dog is a liability! What are you going to do when it bites someone and they have to go to the ER? The Committee will he held responsible for failing to enforce the rules!” I said.
“Lawsuits go where money goes. We don’t have any money,” says the co-chair.
“That position is irresponsible and morally indefensible,” I snap. “Besides, do you want to lose access to this space? You don’t have money, but the people you rent from certainly do. Do you want to endanger this group because of that judgment-proof moron out there?”
“We can’t force him to leave. We asked him to go; we did all we could. If we tell him the rules and ask him to go and he doesn’t, we’ve done all we can do.” Says a woman—the same one who was talking about the pesticides.
“Oh yes, you can force him. I’ll do it. I’ll force him. The dog has no evidence of registration and it’s not properly restrained—it’s violating the law!”
I look around at the people around me. I must be radiating anger, because most of them look visibly uncomfortable.
“I will take responsibility for taking care of this if he comes back again next week—I will leverage the power of the state.” Unlike the crusty gutterpunk with the dog, Miss Margo likes rules, and she thinks that rules are for everyone. A difficult concept for many members of the group, to be sure, but not for me. In my mind, I think: “L’Etat, c’est moi, motherfucker! You have no idea who you’re dealing with!”
The person to my right says, rather comically, “Don’t let this affect your serenity!”
Two weeks and many calls to 311 and animal control later, the dog and his owner are routed, and I can finally relax. I hope the first gets a dirt nap and the second goes to Rikers Island. Would be pleased as punch to reverse the two.
Last Sunday, I was awarded a new moniker: “The Sheriff.”
I don’t think that it was meant affectionately, either, but I don’t give a fuck. I love it.