The wind is biting. Snow prickles my skin. My cheeks are flushed.
Beaumont the Sheepadoodle is oblivious to the storm blowing as we head west along the snow-covered path towards the off-leash park.
To my left, traffic crawls along Bowness Road towards the city centre. Somewhere behind, I can hear a man’s voice yelling. I pay no attention. I’m working hard to keep moving forward in the blowing snow.
And then, I can no longer ignore the yelling. A dark clothed man riding a bicycle appears on the road to my left. He is on the curbside of the lane of the oncoming traffic, yelling at the cars and occasionally pounding on a side door. “Get out of the f**ing bike lane”, he screams as he slowly makes his way in the opposite direction of the cars travelling on the road.
I am somewhat bemused. I am walking on the path that pedestrians and bicyclists share. There is no bike lane on this part of the road. It begins on the far side of the pedestrian/bicycle bridge which runs parallel to the vehicle bridge where it crosses the river just ahead of me.
At this exact moment in time, Beaumont hunches over to do his business. I stand and wait, all the while watching the tableau of yelling bicycle man unfold.
Bicycle man is off his bike at the edge of the vehicle bridge, yelling at someone in a white pickup truck, pounding his fist on the hood of the vehicle, screaming his refrain that everyone ‘get out of the f**ing bike path’.
A long line of traffic begins to pile up behind the white pickup truck.
I bend over to pick-up Beaumont’s business to the chorus of white pickup man yelling back through his open driver’s window at bicycle man, “There is no f**ing bike path here.”
Bicycle man vociferously disagrees.
He keeps yelling and pounding his fist on the man’s truck.
Suddenly, the man in the pickup truck flings open his door, jumps down onto the road and races around the front of his truck towards bicycle man.
Now they’re yelling face to face. Bicycle man insisting there’s a bike path. White truck man denying its existence.
Suddenly, someone throws a punch.
The other returns it.
And the fight is on.
I am standing across the road, slightly down the embankment on the pedestrian/bike path, poop bag in hand. Startled by this new development, my mind races. What can I do?
Beaumont oblivious to the ruckus, keeps his nose buried in the snow, sniffing out the scents of wandering squirrels and rabbits (or perhaps he’s just trying to stay out of other people’s business).
The fisticuffs are flying. The yelling has stopped – I’ve never thought about it before but it must be hard to throw a left hook and a verbal barb all at the same time.
The cars behind the white pickup truck are still. No one gets out. No one honks their horn. (It’s possible they can’t see what’s going down on the curbside leading onto the bridge.
I pull on Beaumont’s leash, his head pops up out of the snow and we head towards the pair duking it out on the roadway.
“Hey!” I yell loudly as I approach, leash in right hand, poop bag swinging as I wave my left arm to get their attention, “Stop that!”
White pickup man glances towards me. So does bicycle man. I imagine their minds asking themselves, “What the f’ is she doing here?” Perhaps they think I’m going to throw the bag of poop at them if they don’t stop.
Bicycle man turns away with a last, “You’re in the bike lane.” He picks up his bike and struggles to mount it as he begins pedalling westward through the snow.
White pickup man turns back to his truck, gets in and drives off towards the east.
Traffic begins to crawl forward.
Beaumont and I continue on our way in search of the garbage can further along the trail where I can deposit his offering. Still bemused I am also smiling. Did they think I might throw the bag and its contents if they didn’t stop?
And the snow keeps falling and the wind keeps blowing, sweeping away the evidence of the high drama on the road in a snowstorm.