Sir Isaac Newton must not have known any dogs, which in his case might have been a good thing, or the Order of the Wold As We Know It might not have happened.
A good scientist would be able to tell you which Law addresses objects in motion, but I am not a scientist, so I will only vaguely quote Sir Newton: “An object in motion stays in motion.” Now, all dogs might be scientists, since they seem very interested in the world around them down to the micro level, but I don’t believe they are aware of any laws unless there might be some food in it for them.
Oz (Ozzie, Ozzyx) and I sometimes walk to work. In theory, he should be the faster of the two of us, and yet, if I walk by myself, I can get to work in 20 minutes, but if Oz comes along, it takes us 25. I also realized, only just yesterday, that if we left the journey up to Oz, we might never get to work.
There I perched, right on the precipice of some deep philosophical underpinning at this epiphionic (I’m almost certain that’s a word, and if it isn’t, it really needs to be) moment as Oz paused for the umpteenth time to stick his nose deep in some random patch of grass: living in the moment, maybe the intended destination isn’t the most interesting outcome, following where noses lead . . .
And then I tugged on the leash and said in an exasperated tone (as I do several times on each trip to work), “Oz, come on.”
We don’t generally have this problem on walks not to work, even though we (I) frequently still have time constraints (we still have to get to work, and there’s still a time by which we’re supposed to be there), but we aren’t always necessarily attached at the leash on those walks, and perhaps that’s what makes the difference. Or it could be that I’m not measuring time as stringently.
We are more likely, on walks not to work, to bump into acquaintances of both the two- and four-legged variety (including horses and mules, cows, every rare occasion a llama), and to do some bird-watching, maybe catching sight of a fox . . . Huh. Maybe I live more in the moment when I am not walking to work.
Actually, when I am walking to work, my nose tends to be stuck in an issue of Colorado Central magazine. I have subscribed to this magazine since its outset, but as I seem to squander ever more of my time sleeping (coming at some future date, I’m sure: a discussion on living with sleep apnea), and I fall asleep at any attempt to read while sitting, I have gone back to my dad’s old habit of Reading While Walking.
I don’t like to do this when I’m out walking among grazing cows and birds of prey swirling ever higher on unseen thermals, but as I’m zig-zagging through streets and alleys toward work, it seems like a judicious use of my time. The hazard comes when Oz, object in motion, decides to come to complete stop for no apparent reason right in front of me.
So far, this has been a bigger hazard on the brave days when I bike to work and he runs. He will be tugging full-speed 30 feet out in front of me, and then URCH: dead stop right as my wheel is barreling down on his backside.
He has zero understanding of traffic as a hazard, including the bike as traffic, so it’s good we’re walking together. Sort of. We’re tethered together, at any rate, although we appear to be two objects in motion with different objectives.
So far, though, we have managed to avoid the pitfalls and distractions and make it safely to work each day, and when lunchtime rolls around and I reach for the leash, he is so excited (just as he was that morning), he spins in circles and starts leaping for joy. He doesn’t seem to care where we’re going; just that we are.
Sir Newton didn’t pass a law about that, but perhaps he should have. Again, though, it seems quite clear that he never allowed dogs to interfere with his thinking.