It happened a week ago, in the middle of my evening walk with the Dog. The string was lying on the strip of grass between the main road and the five-foot way. As dogs and grass go together like butt and toilet seat, she was on the grass when she started stumbling.
“What’s the matter, Girl?” I asked. And then I spotted the nearly-invisible red string. I stopped immediately and untangled it from her legs. Luckily, it was easy enough; these things are impossible to break with just your hands.
I started reeling in the string and found that a kite was still attached to the other end. The kite was also red. It had fallen on the other end of a field, with a deep monsoon drain between us. As I looped the string around my hand, the kite stumbled across the grass. A breeze snatched it from the ground and it soared.
I wish I could say I was enchanted, but I was only annoyed. Someone somewhere lost a kite, which fell into my neighbourhood and posed an invisible danger to motorcyclists, cyclists, pedestrians and animals. My animal. And here was this mofo of a kite, flying merrily like it was built to.
I reeled it in and smashed it into the prickly weeds growing from an abandoned oil drum. It will have to do since I can’t find anything to weigh it down. The thorns will anchor both the kite and the string down so it won’t go flying unauthorised. The Dog was getting restless so we left.
We went back there this afternoon and the kite was gone. The string was still there (Roll #1), and there was more of the string. I was the one to walk into it this time.
Again, I spent some time tracking it down and looping it around my hand as I reeled the loose ends in. I added the new roll (Roll #2) to the first, and then found another one leading away from the oil drum. I reeled that one in too, and it took a while (Roll #3). Now the whole thing is anchored to the weeds, and hopefully won’t be going anywhere. Any passerby can take it for all I care, but if it’s still there the next time we go, I’ll snip it up and dispose of it properly.
The first time I walked into a kite string was last year. It was hanging across the five-foot way and high enough that the Dog walked under it. The middle was caught in a small tree planted by the road. One end went to the roof of a nearby house and the other end was caught on top of a large tree in the same field I mentioned above.
I rang the bell of the house, told the owners what happened, and asked to borrow a pair of scissors. They did better. While the auntie went back into the house for the scissors, the uncle came outside to track down the string. They were understandably concerned and mindful of how dangerous it was to have invisible, unbreakable string hanging around nearby.
Between the three of us, we found all of the string, cut it up and the uncle took it with him to toss in the bin. He even managed to get it out of the big tree.
Which brings us to this matter of flying kites and losing it. Kites have seen quite a revival lately, perhaps because fancy ones are easy enough to get these days or perhaps it’s windy all the time. I don’t want to stop people from playing but I don’t want to get a nasty surprise when out walking or cycling one of these days.
I will be carrying scissors from now on, but it doesn’t answer the question of what happens if nobody sees the kite string in time.