Some hipster's English mastiff, big enough to bring down a cape buffalo, lies athwart the front entrance to Starbucks while his "daddy" is inside hunched over an iBook. So my 4-year-old son and I head for the side door.
A spastic Weimaraner tied to a bistro set lunges at us, gets tangled up in the iron furniture and yowls like he's caught in a bear trap. My kid covers his ears. The Weimaraner's "mommy" charges out with her yoga mat slung like a quiver, nonfat soy latte in her hand, and tries to untangle the mess one-handed. The dog gets loose and pees all over another patron's chair.
Los Angeles has much to recommend it to the callow, decadent and solipsistic. I've learned to accept that, even embrace it, but I fear this city is going to the dogs.
Like empty rituals and exotic charities, dogs offer comfort without demands, making canines the ideal companion for a thirtysomething trustafarian calling himself a writer or actor. There are dogs in this town with better health insurance than a lot of children have. A blind date once argued for this extravagance, asking me: What was she to do if her dog required hip replacement surgery? Sweetheart, your dog doesn't need hip replacement. You need a new dog.
Don't get me wrong. I like dogs. I might even like your dog. I just don't like your dog in my lap while I'm working through my pigs in a blanket at Doughboys. And I may be going out on a limb here, but two pit bulls might be two too many for your one-bedroom apartment.
Even Angelenos ought to draw the line somewhere. And dogs at our cafe tables is as good a place as any to start. Because, after all, they're animals. And there are plenty of toddlers out there who I happen to know are a lot better behaved.
Will Beall is the author of "L.A. Rex." This article originally appeared in the Los Angeles Times.