I appreciate fresh air as much as the next guy, I think, but I fail to understand its current fetishization. By that I mean restaurants that offer outdoor seating on narrow sidewalks on busy streets with buses and trucks adding their own unmufflered obbligatos.
When I had a house (those were the days!), I used to like sitting out on my deck that faced a wooded valley, and I can certainly enjoy an outdoor meal in a quiet neighborhood with wide sidewalks, but being jostled by pedestrians and inundated by the roar of passing traffic all for the sake of being out in the fresh air—no, I don’t get it.
Anyway I have a neighbor who shares the house across the street with two magnificent black dogs that I see him taking for long walks from time to time.
Yesterday afternoon I glanced out my window and saw he had built a make-shift fence on the sidewalk around his front door, apparently so his dogs could enjoy the fresh air. He had placed mats for his dogs to lie down on, and just to make sure the dogs couldn’t jump over the fence, he had tethered them as well, attaching the tether to something just inside the front door, which he had left wide open.
Why he felt the need to do this, I have no idea, as he has a perfectly serviceable deck on the second floor, where I often see him leave the dogs.
Anyway, it didn’t work out very well, as every time he went inside, the dogs sniffed the air for a moment or two, decided there was nothing requiring their immediate attention outside, and followed him indoors. After a few minutes of this, he got the message, and he took down the fence, took the dogs inside, and closed the door.
Now I’m no expert on dogs, but I think the reason dogs like to go outside is to a) do their business (assuming they’ve been house-broken) and b) run around; I don’t think they fetishize fresh air the way some humans do.
But what do I know?