Date- January 17, 2019
Elevation- 13 ft
Distance Traveled Today- 2.4 miles
Distance Traveled Total- 153.2 miles
Weather/Temp- clear, 70s
Pain level- none
Wildlife encounters- zero
Days without shower- 1
Days without laundry- 1
CatFox Status- Domesticated
Food Eaten – BBQ, Pizza
Today didn’t go quite as planned. Between the two of us, Schweppes is usually the one to mitigate breaks the most. He’s usually the last one to suggest zero days, even though he enjoys them as much as the next guy. But today he just felt like he needed another day to rest and suggested hiking a couple miles further into town and getting another room. So that’s what we ended up doing.
I really only have one story to go with today, and it stems from our stop over at Walmart on our way further into town…
I had Katana situated in the shopping cart as we rolled through the front entrance. The greeter, who was a woman of perhaps her late 70s or early 80s stopped me and said I could not have a dog in the cart. I told her that she was blind and would have to ride across my shoulders if not in the cart. The woman replied, “So long as she’s not in the cart.” I said, “Yes, ma’am.”
So now I’m walking around walmart with my pack on and Katana across my shoulders while pushing a shopping cart. That’s not going to draw attention, right?
We only needed a few things for this next stretch, so it was going to be a quick trip. Baby powder, bug spray, Jerky, some beef sausage, and get out. Well, it became a question-athon walking around with little dog on my pack. Everyone had comments, questions, or wanted to take a pic (with my permission or secretly). I’m sure we’ve ended up on a dozen “People of walmart” pages.
Contrary to what some might think, I really do not enjoy attention in public. I do what I have to do, but dealing with person after person when I’m trying to get stuff done really brings my anxiety levels up. I stay very polite and gracious, but on the inside I’m wrestling with not going into auto pilot and ignoring everything around me. I really have no room or right to complain, since my actions and appearance were literally a magnet for attention – but I really just wanted to get it over with and get out.
Towards the end of the excursion, I was standing with Schweppes, asking him where the jerky was, when two middle aged women walked by us. One did the “Awwww, your dog is so cute!” response. And the other had the most blatant look of disgust on her face that I can ever recall seeing.
“Thank you!” I said to the first woman, “But I don’t think your friend agrees,” I added jokingly through a chuckle, trying to lighten up the other woman’s mood. The look of disgust only deepened, and the woman replied very dryly, “I don’t like animals.”
That’s literally what she said. And I can honestly tell you I’ve never met another human being who admitted so seriously to blatantly disliking animals. I’m not saying there’s something wrong with people who openly dislike animals… but I’m certainly kinda thinking it.
Anyway, I replied with the first thing that popped into my head, which was mostly observational, so it came easy. “I can see that by your expression! Although, you should know this animal is blind and harmless.” No reply, just the frozen look of continued disgust, like she was sucking a lemon. I decided to shrug it off; it’s something I couldn’t even begin to understand!
That interesting interface aside, the rest of our Walmart trip went off smoothly. After the disgusted woman encounter, I went ahead and put Katana and my pack back in the shopping cart – the attention we were getting was cut by 80%, and no other employees said anything about it. Win win.
So that was the day in a nutshell, other than some napping. I’d say my biggest bane right now is my bug bites. It’s nice to have a couple days for them to heal and dry out without the constant itching of new ones. I’m ready to hike…