Friday, November 30, 2007

Weeny Dog Laugh

Today I nearly fell off my bike laughing.

I swear.

I was a danger to myself, and to the other 3 friends I was riding with. It was that close (picture me holding two fingers mere millimeters apart).

It was the most I've laughed since I saw something funny on America's Funniest Home Videos. It was 2 days before Clearwater, and I was leaving a phone message for Ludi. Just as her voice mail clicked and made it's usual beeeeep! I saw something really funny. I wish I could remember what it was... Perhaps a lady stuck in the dishwasher, or a little kid who farted baby powder - I don't quite remember (although both of those clips are pretty amusing). The point is, is that the first :30 seconds, yes :30 seconds folks - the amount of time it takes me to reheat coffee in the microwave, or better yet, the amount of time +:10 seconds that a world-class sprinter can run 200 meters in... Anyway, the first 30 seconds of my message to Ludi were simply filled with my laughter.

Bwahahahahahahah! Ahahaha! Ahahah! Bwa Ahahahahaha!!!

And on. And on. And on. Kind of like the Energizer Bunny.

I just kept laughing and laughing and laughing and, well, you get the point.

And the more I laughed, the funnier the clip seemed, and the harder I would laugh. I actually had to leave the room, wipe the tears out of my eyes, compose myself the best that I could, and then finally begin to speak. It's a vicious cycle, I tell you! But it wasn't easy to leave my message. Because about 5 or 10 seconds in, I started laughing. Again. The Energizer Bunny + 5 cups of coffee (or something akin to that). And to top it off, my stomach muscles actually ached from laughing.

I console myself with the fact that I'm not the only one out there who does this: I inherited it from my Mom. Half the times she laughs, we don't even remember what's so funny. Instead, I remember her laugh. It's high pitched, increases with volume and intensity as time goes by, and she can't finish her story - because she's laughing so hard at whatever was on her mind. And then I laugh. And so the cycle continues.

Today I actually do remember what the reason was. I was talking to her on the phone, and she mentioned a story about a cell phone ring that sounded like a clucking chicken. A little funny? Yes - but that wasn't the funny part. My Dad - the serious "Herr Doktor Professor" as Nathaniel calls him, who has a quirky sense of humor all of his own (this is the guy who would beat his chest and make funny noises while walking around the lake amidst throngs of other walkers/runners/rollerbladers/bikers/random people who we've never met, and who therefor didn't understand his sense of humor.. Meanwhile, ,Mom, Karyna, and I would look away and pretended to not know him), took the chicken ring tone a little too seriously.

At the time, he and Mom were in the middle of a church, waiting to talk to the Pastor who would be overseeing Babi Val's funeral. At the sound of the chicken, Dad abruptly sat up, looked around, and actually got out of his seat in search of the lost chicken. In the middle of a church. I only wish I could have been there. (In his defense, I've heard so many odd cell phone ring tones that I myself oftentimes mistake them. The worst was when I heard a cat meowing, and realized it was my neighbor's phone, not our own 18.2 House Monster.) I guess Mom though it was pretty funny, because it took her a good 3 or 4 minutes of laughter over the phone to get her story out. I patiently listened, and before I could help it, was laughing myself.

So there were two of us are - Mother and Daughter - laughing our heads off, unable to get a word in edgewise. Mom's laughing at something funny, and I'm laughing at her... and it goes on. We must look like we're nuts, that we belong in the funny farm, but that's where I get my laugh from, I suppose.

Back to the bike part. That's what this was all about. Well, that and my dangerous laugh.

After not biking yesterday and instead enjoying the luxury of a 3 hour nap, I wanted to at least get in a ride today. Being overly-cautious about my hamstrings/leg soreness that I am, I opted out of my run, and decided to spend today biking and swimming. A slight alteration to the schedule, but one that was justified (and by the way, I feel fantastic after my swim. It was GREAT to be back in the pool!). Ludi had invited me on an easy spin, and I figured I could throw in some time in heart rate zone 3 like Memo had wanted - double bonus was that the weather was beautiful, the backroads of Milton were inviting, and the company I was with were all incredible women.

Ludi, Katy, Petra and myself set off from the Tom Thumb in Chumukula (try saying that three times fast. Good. Now have a glass of wine or two and do it again. :) Not as easy, eh? See - I can get you to laugh. Well, aside from Chumukula, I'll just mention my bowling score high of 65, and that'll have anyone rolling. Or else groaning...) - so we set out from Chumukula and decided to go out and back, rounding out the ride to 1:30 or 2:00 (isn't the off season great!).

The weather was fantastic, I felt so much better than yesterday, and I was really enjoying the conversation with these incredible women. Ludi and Petra both teach at UWF, and Katy is a retired Army Doctor who still writes and keeps her medicine up to date. They are fantastic, inspirational, and every time I bike with them I learn new and interesting things (guess what? There's hardly any snow in Colorado... who would have known? Expect, that is, for Coloradians...)

As we set off down CR 192, we noticed peanut factories (they sell boiled peanuts in road side stands in the middle of summer), fields empty of their recently-harvested cotton crops, and the beautiful green of newly-planted seeds (I have no clue what they'll become). A few miles into our ride, Ludi and Petra started commenting about the dogs.

The dogs?

Yes, down in Florida, where the temperature rarely dips below 30 F in the winter, there are roaming packs of wild dogs. Okay - that's not the funny part. I've actually encountered dogs before while riding by myself. I was in the middle of a 10 mile bike time trial, and about 2:00 into the test, I saw 5 dogs, scampering out from under some bushes barreling towards me. They were an odd pack, ragged, with long fur, covered in mud and seeds. All different sizes, either abandoned or lost; but they had banded together, and passed their time chasing down innocent bikers on back country roads. I almost felt sorry for them, that is until I realized they were after ME, and that if I didn't bike my rear end off, I would be mincemeat. (To this day, my heart rate has never reached the max that I achieved on that particular day. And I doubt it ever will). Not so funny, but something that a lot of athletes, bikers, runners, walkers, postmen have to deal with almost daily.

So when they started discussing dogs, my ears perked up. It was almost as though they were talking about the fall scenery, or the orange and white T-34 flight student 2-seater airplanes passing overhead.

Ludi: "Isn't it a beautiful day?"

Petra: "Yes. Perfect!"

Ludi: "Florida in November is great! Can't believe the fields are so green, the temperature is so warm!"

Petra: "Yes. A beautiful day. Albeit a little chilly. I had to wear arm warmers!"

Ludi: "I know what you mean. Do you remember what house we're coming up to?"

Petra: "Of course! This is where the dog lives. The little one."

Ludi: "Yes, Petra. This is the little, weeny, dog. The big one is further ahead."

Petra: "That's right. Now I remember. First the little guy, then the bigger one."

Marit: Uh. What?

Excuse me? Did you just say DOGS? Two of them? Like it's no big deal? O-k-a-y. I'm not crazy. I know what dogs of all shapes and sizes can do. I know what it's like to get chased by all kinds of dogs - most of them slightly smaller than myself. And I'm not that big. But I'm not that little, either. For Pete's sake, my 18.2 pound cat could inflict a lot of damage on an innocent cyclist given the opportune moment. (She repeatedly attacks Nathaniel, a guy who outweighs her by a good 160 pounds) Sheesh! You guys can take your biking knowledge, your years of experience and go do battle with the "weeny" dog and the "big" dog yourself. I'll find my own peanut-farm, podunk, chumukula-highway roads on my own. I've had enough, thank you very much. And aside from being afraid of sharks and alligators, I want to avoid any and all encounters with dogs. While biking 17 or 18 mph. Humph.

I think they sensed my concern. Was I talking to myself? Were my thoughts out loud? (That tends to happen with me, as I keep myself very good company. Something only a crazy person would not admit to). They reassured me that all would be okay, that I would survive, and the weeny dog had never caused that much damage in the past. What the hell was that supposed to mean? So, onwards we pressed, determined to enjoy the remainder of our ride.

A few minutes later, we came to a small cluster of trailers. They kind of looked like run-down versions of the FEEMA trailers one would find in a hurricane-ravaged area like New Orleans, or Pensacola back after Hurricane Ivan (cat 4, in 2004, I believe). The bits of junk, cinder blocks (minus the car), and random debris strewn about gave away that this particular trailer-dweller didn't care much for outward appearances. Then again, the satellite dish was proudly and prominently displayed in the front yard. Look at us World - we've go Satellite! The lucky bastards, I bet they got to enjoy the Green Bay - Dallas game last nigh. Humph!

And then, out of the corner of my eye, I caught a vanilla-colored movement. The scamper of paws, the sharp Bark Bark!, the panting breath confirmed this was our dreaded weeny dog. It looked to be a mutt-terrier cross. I didn't catch much of a glimpse of it, but from what I could discern, it was little, it was small, but hot damn, it was fast!

I momentarily slowed my speed, lost in my own disbelief. This was the dog? This runt of a puppy?

But it didn't stop. It kept going. Once it hit the edge of the property, the end of the cylinder blocks, it ran directly into the road, straight for my pack of friends. It's tongue was lagging out of it's mouth, and it's sharp Barks filled the air. I could just imagine what it was saying.

Weeny Dog: "Darn you cyclists! I can chase you down! You think you can just waltz by my trailer, my satellite dish, well you have got another thing coming! You think you're fast?? I'll show you fast! I'll be so fast that you'll warn all of your biker friends about me. Because I'm the weeny dog that never stops! Bark Bark Bark! Take That!"

And I did.

My momentary lapse in judgement, was quickly replaced by fear. What the hell? Ludi and Petra had already sped off, away from the weeny-dog from hell, no doubt. But this little bugger, this little guy was right on my wheel.

Great. Now he's a weeny dog, a tenacious weeny dog. And a drafter. Lovely!

And no matter how fast I pedaled, no matter how much I increased my speed, this little dog, this weeny kept right on my wheel, barking all along.

I couldn't believe it. I quickly caught Ludi and Petra, and looked back behind me, sure that I would be rid of my weeny accomplice.

No such luck. A few barks, lots of pants, and the scampering of paws confirmed he was still there. As determined as ever to make sure we knew he was there.

Cool it buddy! We see you! We know that you're fierce, that you're a great guard dog, now shoo!

But no matter how hard we biked, no matter how hard we went, this little weeny-dog-that-could ran right with us, barking and scolding us all the way.

And that's when I started laughing. It was only a little at first, because I tried to suppress it. Big Mistake. I thought I could hold it in. I thought it would be okay. Given the seriousness of the situation, I figured it would be better to look back and then laugh. But hard as I tried, I could no longer contain myself. Pretty soon, I was laughing so hard, tears came to my eyes. Like an explosion, or eruption of sorts. Not Krakatoa or Mt. Vesuvious - my eruption of laughter knocked those explsions off the cart. Well, not really - but I'm sure it came somewhat close. Or at least it seemed to. Let's just say that my outward burst was an eruption of great magnitude! My vision was blurred, my stomach hurt, and I was having a hard time going in a straight line.

I couldn't stop laughing.

We looked ridiculous. The three of us, Petra, Ludi, and myself, being chased - yes chased -at 22 mph for 1/2 mile by a 5, maybe 10 pound little weeny dog - was hilarious. And I just couldn't stop laughing. It was painful. And funny. Which made it all the more funny.

Luckily I didn't crash my bike, and our weeny-dog (friend?) eventually decided to let us pass, and trotted back to his satellite-dish, cinder-block of a mobile home. He had done a great job, protecting his turf, and would no doubt be ready for the next unsuspecting biker or postman to step one toe too close to his area. Beware all bikers/postmen on Milton CR-192, between Chumukula Hwy and Hwy 189!

But it was great. I love laughing. I love the sound of laughter. It makes me happy. It's like music: pure, hearty, and connects directly to your soul. I feel like I haven't done enough laughing this week, this year. I've been so serious, focused, determined. Perhaps that's why when I start laughing, I have a hard time stopping. This is my body's way of releasing and giving into itself and into pure bliss. But I don't care: I want to laugh. I want to see funny things, to chuckle at the silly things, like women in dishwashers, babies farting baby powder, and my dad looking for a chicken in a church. And a little weeny dog, trying to scare me off (and succeeding) to the best of his ability.

Life goes by so fast. We all need to sit back and laugh. If not at something, well, then at least at ourselves. Or a weeny dog.

1 comment:

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