I have what is, mostly, a desk job. And so, recently, I got a FitBit.

It’s a little cliche, maybe, but this little robotic overlord on my wrist has served a purpose in that part of my life where I represent the target audience of sedentary office worker – and so it dutifully reminds me during meetings that I’ve been sitting a long, long time. Having this thing buzz every so often has made me aware of patterns, of trends (and I have to say I’m fascinated by its heartbeat tracking and ability to tell when I’m REALLY asleep).

As a result of all this, I’m up walking in the office a lot more, and then during the week I’m taking a lot of evening/night walks around the neighborhood. On the weekend, I’m proud to say, I still mostly crush any little arbitrary goals this thing sets. During the week, I appreciate the electronic nagging.

So walking around the neighborhood at night has become a thing – and that’s not, by a long shot, the same as walking through the woods. I still appreciate and notice trends – my walks have been generally all-weather, adding a nice variation, and I’ve done some stargazing, I’ve noticed the spring peepers getting active WAY too soon… But by and large, there’s a lot of humanity, porch lights and car traffic to really filter out and focus on the forest, so to cut the tedium a bit, I’ve been listening to podcasts (mostly outdoors stuff, and science). One electronic vice leading to another.

So it was, a few nights ago, I’m walking down the street looking at Orion and listening to the latest news about NASA’s Artemis program, when my podcast ended and I had to pull out the phone to switch. I kept walking, but suddenly I’m not outside, really, I’m in my phone, blinded by the light of a small screen. That’s when it hit me.


An approximation of my first good look at my attacker.

A GIANT, friendly, bouncy full-sized poodle (of some variety). This big panting, jumping, slobbering mass of happy energy SCARED THE CRAP OUT OF ME as it was just suddenly there, sniffing, wagging, whining a bit, obviously happy to see me (and maybe concerned about how it was going to get back across the inivisible fence and shock collar apparatus that it had probably escaped from). My adrenaline spiked for a moment, I jumped, and then I did what you have to do in these situations – I crouched down and grabbed the dog around the head and engaged in some furious ear-scratching and baby talk while questioning, “Where did you come from, big guy?”


What my brain assumed was happening!

I resumed my walk, and the dog followed for maybe a hundred feet before bounding off to find its next victim, and I was left with a reminder — even in the neighborhood, it pays to unplug and pay attention to what’s going on.

Thanks for the reminder, big guy.

Get Out There

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