Welcome to Partlow’s Pool, the blog of MB Partlow. I’m a writer and a reader. Laughter is my answer for everything, which meshes surprisingly well with my desire to write vampire novels and post-apocolyptic YA novels, among others.
Today I want to talk about a subject near and dear to my heart. And my feet. And my sanity. I’d like to address everyone who uses the magnificent public trail system in Colorado Springs. I’d like to speak to hikers, bikers, walkers, joggers, families, dog walkers, people pushing strollers and juvenile delinquents with spray paint and beer bottles.
Would it really ruin your entire day if you made the effort to nod or smile in return to someone’s greeting? That’s my biggest question. Is being friendly to another human being, to the extent of a simple smile, really that hard?
To those walking: Please stay on the right. You’re not trying to face traffic; you ARE the traffic. Stay to your right. If you’re walking two or more abreast, it’s polite to move to your right to make way for cyclists or runners so they can pass you without incident. Please be sure you know your left from your right. More than once I’ve been on my bike, said, “On your left” to warn pedestrians of my approach, only to see a scene from a Three Stooges movie reenacted as people jump all over and slam into each other. Also, please remember that pushing a stroller doesn’t give you special privileges to hog the entire path. Some of us who have given birth have gotten over ourselves already. Feel free to join us.
Dog walkers. Sigh. I don’t dislike dogs. I dislike unleashed dogs on public paths. I’ve seen people carrying leashes, dog unattached, and dogs wearing leashes with people unattached. I’m sure your dog is friendly and well-behaved and just two IQ points below your children. But the other people on the trail shouldn’t have to come to a complete stop or divert through the bushes at trailside to avoid being bitten, licked or crotch-sniffed. Honest. I realize that nobody thinks my children are as brilliant as I do, so please accept the fact that nobody loves your dog, his nose or his slobber as much as you do. And if you’re letting your 60 pound child walk your 45 pound dog, please see that whole “stay on your right” thing above. Your child is not cute enough to make me enjoy running through the ditch or slamming on the brakes.
On the further subject of dogs, please pack out their poop. I didn’t heave dirty diapers into your yard when my kids were potty training, so clean up after your dog. There are some hiking trails in the Springs that are unbearable, because the first few hundred yards of the trail reek of dog crap.
Runners. Same as walkers, except don’t sneer at those of us who lack a certain sleekness of form, grace of movement and speed. Maybe I look more like a shambling zombie than a gazelle, but I’m trying.
Cyclists. Here’s the big generalization, with apologies to my BIL who has impeccable trail manners. It is: the more expensive the bike, and the more expensive (and matching) the bike togs, the ruder the cyclist. Dude. Seriously. You can’t tip your head in greeting. Let one muscle twitch into a smile? And when the whole trail is empty except for little old me, why do you feel the need to flash past me with a half-inch to spare and no warning? Can’t you ring a bell, or say “Bike back” or “On your left” or something? Trust me, I wouldn’t go excavating for the wedgy I get from the running shorts if I knew you were riding up behind me. Yes, I’m wearing an iPod, but I think it’s pretty obvious to everyone who isn’t legally blind that I’m not a teenager, and therefore would like to preserve my hearing for the rest of my existance. Maybe I’m grooving to Those Darn Accordians, but not so loud I can’t hear someone speak behind me.
And just because there are two of you cycling together doesn’t mean you get to take up the whole path. I might not be young and slyph-like when I run, but I’m perimenopausal and cranky as hell. If you think we’re going to play chicken, think again. One hip bump and I might get a bruise, but you are toast, my friend.
Thank you to everyone who has ever smiled back at me on the trail. I know you were probably worried that I was going to keel over at any second, or you might have realized that people on crutches can walk faster than I run. But thank you for sharing a smile and making the morning, in one small way, good.