I feel like the wicked witch of the west sometimes, pedaling through the center, ringing my bell in fury with a black bulldog in a basket on the front tire. I hadn’t attached the basket for weeks since I realized it only had one screw left – precariously keeping it from toppling over. Either someone had tried to steal it one of the nights I’ve left it in the center, or the bolts all came loose with the jostling on the cobblestones. Either way, I went down to the hardware store one street over and held up the last remaining bolt to my neighbor behind the counter and asked for three more of these. He nodded, disappeared into the back of the shop, came back and placed them in my hand. This is so much better than Home Depot.
Now we’re back in action, diving down into the city center for playdates for Luna and work projects from me. At red lights, she gets pets through the top cage of her basket from the people waiting beside us on their scooters. Her ears swivel at other dogs on the sidewalk. Her grumpy little face is the perfect amount of attitude when lines of tourists don’t get out of the bike lane at the sound of my bell. There should be signs in English at least – a bike bell means move. Immediately. You are walking where you shouldn’t. Florentines and those used to the city are trained subconsciously to move to the side at the sound. Those who need to learn will do so quickly.
I like to think that pedaling a fixed gear for a few miles with a wicker basket and a 20 lb bulldog in the front counts as exercise for the day. The heat is slowly starting to filter back into the streets after the storm on Monday. But today there was still a little breeze as I made my way back up the street and out of the center, and Luna seemed content to sit on her cushioned seat and not have to walk anywhere. And so I am the crazy lady with the dog in the basket, and when the bell rings I may turn a little wicked if you don’t move out of the way. But she’s my little dog and she can’t take the heat so here we are. When this city lets me bring that little monster anywhere, why not bring her?