Where did he come from, the man on the red Honda scooter? An angel in a black helmet, Superman in an orange safety vest. He must have been hovering in the bus lane to the right of the three jam-packed westbound lanes of Sahara Avenue this morning, a quarter-mile east of Maryland Parkway, as we car drivers sat, halted at a mid-block crosswalk, waiting for the overhead flashers to go dark, releasing us back to our hurried commute. 8:30. No worse time for a little dog — Yorkie-like, apparently owned, brushed, well-fed — to have gotten loose.
Second or third back from the front of the middle lane, I see the flashers stop, the traffic ahead and to the left of me start, then weave, then hesitate, the car on the right honking, “No!” And from around his right side, the little guy emerges, running, running along the line between the right-hand and bus lanes, running in fear, running for his life. A few cars speed off in avoidance. I slam on the brakes, my hands go, prayer-like, to my mouth. “Oh god … oh god …” I glance around at other drivers, who are equally riveted and helpless. If we move, we’ll scare him more. If we don’t, he’ll reach Maryland, six lanes of rush-hour traffic with no idea of the tiny tragedy heading their way.
The Honda hero emerges, creeps up alongside the little dog, hangs just far enough back and to the left to herd him toward the curb. Keeps pace, keeps nudging the dog over each time he veers back toward the street. We cars creep forward tentatively. What will happen? Can we do anything to help? Is it safe to go? Those behind can’t see what’s going on. They honk impatiently. We edge forward faster, organizing ourselves to give Honda man a wide berth.
Maryland approaches. The 7-Eleven on the corner. Honda man drives up on the sidewalk, trying to steer the little dog into the parking lot. “Grab him!” we think, those of us who can see what’s happening, willing those at gas pumps to look up and see Honda man waving, to look down and see the fugitive heading their way. We approach the intersection, stop at the red light. All three lanes fill again, heads craning for a look. Where’s the little dog? Honda man is pulling into the 7-Eleven, slowing his scooter to a park. A crowd is forming. I can’t find the dog. He must be safe. Please be safe.
Green light. Crisis averted. Got to get to work.