One of the things I like best about being a dog owner, is that you have to go out for long walks every day otherwise the poor pooch goes stir crazy and starts bouncing off the walls and tearing the cushions -which is fair enough I suppose.
Now I know I could go for a walk any time I fancied it but, to be honest with you, I doubt I would be inclined to do so every single day. I’m quite a keen walker, but I’m not that keen.
In any case, the past few years, as I’ve meandered across and around the city, I’ve found myself noticing things that I reckon I would otherwise have missed if it weren’t for the fact that these walks about town have become a fixed part of my daily routine.
Until now, if I’d walked anywhere that wasn’t a park, it was because I was headed somewhere. I had someone to meet, something to do. There was always a purpose and a point to my journey.
And the thing about walking like this, in such a purposeful way, is that you tend to miss things. You’re distracted by where it is your headed and what it is you have to do when you get there, so that the journey itself has no merit. Whatever happens between point A and point B is of no consequence.
Walking the dog though is something different. There is no point to it other than the walk itself. The journey is the purpose. So you start to take more notice of things around you.
Doorways that you never noticed before. Statues that you’d somehow completely missed in the past. New plants sprouting up in window boxes. Fresh paint on a window frame. The intricate metalwork of an iron railing.
Small, easily missable things start to attract your attention, simply because your brain is free to spot them. You’re not in a hurry, you’re not going anywhere, there’s no errand you need to remember. All you’re doing is walking.
And the things you learn are amazing.
So it was that the other day (a foul, mid-winter day that was trying to pass itself off as May) I passed a transit van that belonged to a firm that specialized in a service I had never thought about, but which, in these inclement days of bizarre weather and climate trauma, will no doubt prove to be a great money spinner in years to come.
Basically the guys offer hailstone repair and damage control.
If your car or roof or window or whatever is damaged by hail then these are your men. The hailbusters!
I had no idea that hail was such a terrible force of nature that it required its own little army of weather guerrillas.
Aside from the odd tirade of foul language that it causes me to spurt forth with vehemence every time it lashes me (such as today Goddamnit!) it had never occured to me before that those little bullets of dust and ice are actually quite menacing.
Which is why I am not an entrepreneur I suppose. I mean, credit to these guys. Rather than sitting around suffering the eternal winter that is Dutch weather, they clearly surmised that there is a profit in everything, and have turned those little balls of ice into gold. Alchemy of the finest order I’m sure you’ll agree.
What intrigued me though was the claim that alongside the damage repair they could also offer hailstone protection. Wow.
At first my imagination ran amok with this. Maybe they have some sort of ray gun that zaps the nuisance clouds and evaporates those pesky raindrops before they get a chance to wreak havoc?
I continued on my walk pondering this. Would they let you have a go yourself, I wondered, if you hired them in to protect your summer flowerbeds or something?
” Hey gimme a go with your laser gun will ya?”
Zap! Zap! Zap! and the summer is saved. The roses bloom, the greenhouses shimmer, the paintwork on cars remains unscratched and undented and all is right with the world.
Then rational thought resumed as another freezing downpour hit me and I figured that the reality was no doubt very banal. They probably have some sort of awnings for houses or resins for cars that are hailproof and, should the inevitable occur, then round they come with some polymer filler to repair the damage and up goes your insurance premium for yet another year….oh well.
Turns out though that my more fanciful idea may not have been as far off the mark as I imagined.
Nissan, in an attempt to protect brand new cars stationed in their factory car park in Madison County, have apparently been geared up to zap away at those damn clouds for a wee while now with their, Hail Suppression System.
Basically this terrifying sounding device is a canon that sends sonic waves 50,000 feet up into the air to blast the hailclouds ; A sonic boom that can apparently be heard 5 miles away.
Given that the freezing winter seems to be showing no signs of abating this year, I think I’m going to ask Nissan if they can team up with those guys over at iPod or Sony so that they can make some sort of portable hail gun for us long suffering dog walkers.
They can call it Pocket Sunshine or something.
I’m sure there’d be a market for it…