Thursday, June 26, 2003

Life is curious, sometimes

Yesterday evening, I had been doing some shopping, and I was tired and hot. I walked into an (unfamiliar) pub, in the thought that I would buy a pint of beer and sit down and rest for a few minutes.

There was a woman sitting at the bar, and she had two medium sized dogs with her. (This is England. Everyone seems to have dogs, and they do things like bring them when they go to the pub). As I walked past, the dogs barked at me, and one lunged at me and bit me on the leg. I was slightly shocked by this, and I shouted at the dog. After a few moments, I looked at the woman, and she said something fairly stern that was aimed at my direction. Presumably she was angry at me for shouting at her dog. (I don't think she realised that it had actually bitten me). I didn't quite catch what she said, but it included one well known four letter world of Anglo-Saxon extraction. At this point, I completely lost my temper, and yelled some extremely rude things at the woman before turning around and leaving the pub.

Of course, I immediately regretted having lost my temper, and I regretted having said such rude things. Lose your temper and you lose the moral high ground. (Dogs often have this effect on me. I was bitten by one when I was a fairly small child, and I have been very nervous around them ever since). However, I don't feel too bad about this. One does generally have the right to go into a pub without being bitten by a dog. And I wasn't the one who used the first four letter word. Looking back now, I am just struck be what a distinctly odd thing this was to happen to me.

(And just to reassure my mother if she is reading this, I was not injured by the dog in any significant way. The dog managed to cause a large tear in my trousers with its teeth, and I could feel the bite for a few minutes, but my skin was not broken and there was no bleeding. It was the shock of it that upset me more than anything).

Still, in future I will try to use the Jake Ryan test for determining when to lose my temper. I think it is best to only do so on special occasions, like when I encounter evil terrorist fanatics.

Update: There are of course even more peculiar (and much worse) things that can happen to you in British pubs that fit into the realm of bizarre but somehow peculiarly English experiences.

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