Wednesday, October 24, 2007
On Strike Day last week (Thursday 18th) I decided to work from home. We have a rather flashy new system which allows distance training, so I can be in Paris and my student can be in Grenoble or Nepal, and it doesn't make any difference. It was a great opportunity to spend a day testing it out and things were running smoothly until I mistakenly put my foot outside my front door.
I'd been invited to a meeting not far away, so I decided to be cunning and use my own bike to get there, instead of taking a Vélib, which I'd heard would be far too in demand for anyone to be able to get their hands on one. So, I wheeled out my Décathlon powder blue bike and got it outside the cellar, locked the cellar, and then realised it had a flat tyre. No problem, I thought, I'll chance a Vélib, and still be on time.
What I hadn't factored into my timing was the dog attack.
Walking along the street near my apartment towards our local Vélib station, I was enjoying the fresh breeze and the bright sunshine when I saw an extremely mangy looking waist-high dog a few metres in the distance, held on a leash by a slightly less mangy-looking owner, but nevertheless urinating all over the pavement (the dog, not the owner, although I wouldn't have put it past him).
I continued walking along and considered that the pavement was wide enough for a grumpy old man, a scruffy dog and myself. Obviously I was mistaken because just as I passed the dog it went crazy and yelped in anger, somehow managing to engage my (fake-leather-clad) arm between its slobbery jaws.
I screamed like a little girl and yanked my arm away from the dog. Thankfully no damage was done and my jacket, limbs and circulation remained intact. I was shaken nonetheless, and quite surprised to hear the dog's owner yelling, "What do you expect if you walk like that, approaching a dog from behind...?"
Now, he may have a point that dogs shouldn't be surprised, especially when eating, but to say that his mutt's attack on me was my own fault is nothing short of ridiculous. I tried to reply intelligently through my heart palpitations and tears, but all I managed was, "I expect nothing at all, Monsieur, when I walk in the street, especially not be attacked by a dog for no reason, sob..."
Later that evening I would think of several much more effective rebuttals, but in the moment that's all I could manage.
I finally got to the Vélib station and took out a bike, only to find that it too had a flat tyre. It was this that pushed me over the edge and I called my boss in floods of tears explaining what had happened. His main reply was, "What just happened?!" and reassured me that they would wait until I could arrive.
Finally I managed to get another bike, pedal to the meeting and arrive just five minutes late. Thank goodness for the lovely promenade plantée.
A friend said to me today that I should have called the police or at least reported the dog incident, but I am not hurt, so I thought it wasn't necessary, but then she asked what if it had been a child? Of course she's right, so I'm going to report it.
Rather an eventful day all in all. I just hope the strikes are well and truly over now or I'm going to have to invest in a puncture kit.