Barkkin in the Bakken
There are so many issues of living in a Boom Town other than the obvious. I feel obligated to inform the general public of these little annoyances. I feel this way mostly because of the whole “misery loves company” aspect. When we think of the influx of people we don’t automatically think of the influx of dogs that they are bringing with them. Many of the oil field workers have a dog to keep them company. Because of the nature of their work every day is “bring your dog to work day.” All these dogs are BIG dogs. I am talking about dogs that you could put a saddle on and the ones that when the let their tongues hang out of their mouth it is about the size of an elephant’s liver. While their master is in buying groceries, Mr. Man’s BFF is hanging his head out of the window and his slobbering tongue is hanging out of his mouth. All the while the dog is thinking, “Please, please, please buy me a package of hotdogs for lunch.” Meanwhile a fair size pool of dog dribble is collecting in the parking lot. This is one of those subtle annoyances that we wouldn’t have thought about BTB [Before The Boom]. We would swing into the parking lot and jump out of the car with no worries. Now it is highly important that before you step out of the car that you open the door and look before you leap. You need to do a very thorough visual scan for tobacco spit, coughed up phlegm, upchucked chimichangas, puddles of dog drool or a dump of doggie do-do resulting from eating a whole pack of hot dogs for lunch. The other day I was in the grocery store parking lot and sure enough there was a BIG dog waiting in a BIG white oilfield pickup. This particular dog was not drooling out the window, but was actually sitting very stately on the driver’s side with a paw on the steering wheel. It was creepy how the dog was looking around as if he was studying the parking lot traffic. When he caught me looking at him I swear his eyes told me that of course he was the designated driver and he winked at me. I so wanted to march over to that pickup, stick my finger in that dog’s snout and tell him his BFF was inside the grocery store eating free brats and a banana split. But I didn’t do that. I would like to keep my pointer finger if at all possible.
Besides the BIG oilfield dogs there are also lots of families that have moved in with their cute little dogs. In fact if I do some quick guesstamation math, Dickinson probably is home to 4000 additional pooches. When I think of such statistics my next thought is that these precious pouches have to poop someplace and you can bet it is not in their own yard. I would wager to guess they are doing their business in your yard. If you don’t own a dog and you go to mow the lawn you don’t think to do a doggie doo-doo check. After you blade through a couple of fresh canine clumps the whole lawn cutting chore turns into a crappy experience.
Many years ago my ex and I were traveling from Germany to Davos Switzerland. A couple hours into the trip I had to pee. My ex told me we would stop at the very next rest area. The very next rest area ended up being 3 hours away. By the time we pulled in my eyeballs were floating and everything I saw had a yellow tinge to it. I got out of the car and bolted to the restroom. I didn’t get very far when I noticed there was no building.
ME: Hey, where is the building?
EX: What building?
ME: The one that would house the toilets.
EX: This is a Bio-rest area. You just walk back into those bushes and squat.
ME: You have to be kidding me.
EX: Nope, the Europeans don’t kid about the ecology, especially if the Green Party is in power.
Besides “IT” is all biodegradable.
ME: Biodegradable my ass. I can guarantee that anyone who was her 10 minutes ago and took a
dump IT is still in its disgusting unbiodegradable form.
EX: Yeah, you just have to pick your way carefully through the bushes watching where you
step. Oh and watch for Kleenexes. They are usually a good sign that you maybe want to
avoid that spot.
I tip toed around hundreds of Kleenexes until I found a spot where all of the Kleenexes were at least still white. Not knowing any better I took my position a little too close to a huge leaf of some kind. The leaf ended up acting as a deflector so I successfully soaked my right shoe and sock. The whole experience was the most stressful, unrestful rest-stop I ever made in my life. Needless to say one shoe and one sock had to ride the rest of the way in the trunk of the car. Ironically, when we got to Davos we took a walk among some of the most gorgeous scenery in the world.
At first I didn’t notice but at one point I saw a woman with her dog pull something out of a little box mounted on a pole with a small garbage can attached.
ME: What is that lady doing?
EX: She is taking a plastic bag.
ME: Isn’t it against some law to take wild flowers and plant them back at home like it is in our
EX: The plastic bad isn’t for flower samples. It is for cleaning up after her dog.
ME: You mean to say that there are stations that has everything you need to clean up after your
dog, but your rest areas area an excrement mine field?
EX: Yeah, it is only polite that people clean up after their dogs so other people don’t have to
constantly watch their step but can confidently look around and enjoy the scenery.
ME: I am impressed. That is a great idea. We should have those things in North Dakota so we
could enjoy the scenery
EX: What scenery?
ME: Oh come on. There are many beautiful areas of scenery in North Dakota.
EX: Yeah, but a lot of the exceptionally nice trails are also the ones that people tend to ride their
horses on. If people are going to be cleaning up after their horses they are going to need
one hell-of -a plastic bag.
ME: Good point. Besides we would still have to watch the ground for rattlesnakes.