It’s been a while since I’ve given you a neighbor story, so here goes.
I love animals in general, but when it comes to dogs, I’m a sucker for little, cute, toy terrier-type doggies. I always admire pets from a distance, and would never think to approach someone’s pet, even if it looked like the cutest thing in the world. Unless you are acquainted with the owner and even the dog, it’s never really a good idea.
You enter my apartment building between the bottom and second floors. When you enter, there is a farm of mailboxes to your left. In front of you, there’s a set of stairs going down and one going up, maybe 7 steps in either direction, just enough for my head to be just about level with the second floor, where I live.
One day, I entered the front door. A man with his dog (on a leash) was standing on the second floor in front of the staircase in a configuration that would make me unable to pass if I started climbing the stairs. I did my usual, obligatory check of the mailbox slowly in hopes that the man would come down the stairs to walk his dog. He did not, and his dog was barking profusely. The dog was maybe 15 pounds; it was a cute little guy, probably some type of terrier. The little guy was getting excited to see somebody; I understood. But I didn’t understand why the guy wasn’t getting out of the way, and I wasn’t about to start walking up the stairs with this guy’s dog barking like a maniac, and the man doing nothing. So I stopped at the bottom of the staircase, did a courtesy motion indicating that I needed to go up the stairs. The guy talks to me and says, “Ohh don’t worry; he doesn’t bite.”
At no point in the previous 20 seconds did I even consider that the dog would bite me. I just couldn’t understand why the guy didn’t move. I actually had to move up the stairs and turn sideways to avoid bumping into the man and his dog. I was carrying my gym gear (a black and red duffel bag that slips off of the shoulder of my winter coat as I walk) and my lunch pail, so just picture it. The dog got increasingly louder as I climbed the steps and turned sideways. I get behind the guy and the dog, and put my key in the door to my apartment, which was about 4 feet away from the man. He says to me, “ohh I didn’t realize you just had to get there” and walks outside with his dog.