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This one goes out to you, Nanette

In which a modern dragon gets a Road ID so people would stop calling Animal Care and Control on him.

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“Excuse me–is that your dragon?” Such small words can mean so much.

Sometimes when I leave my lair and venture out in public, people react in unexpected ways. I am, after all, a dragon. (A modern one.)

In my experience, reactions to seeing a dragon like me in public can include any mixture of amazement, fear, surprise, concern, and curiosity.

And sometimes people get the funny idea that I’ve somehow “escaped” from some place of confinement where I am supposed to be kept.

Related! How to visit, and also leave, the zoo when one is a dragon (coming soon!)

Of course, thinking you can keep a dragon somewhere the dragon does not want to be kept is rather amusing. But to be fair, I guess most people don’t spend much time thinking about where modern dragons belong. I assure you: they belong. They belong here, and there, and, you know, all around.

I also guess that most people probably also don’t think too much about how in modern society, dragons now have the right to come and go, here and there, free to go about their business, visit the cinema, go to the shops, the dentist, and so on.

This unfortunate if understandable lack of public awareness is probably enough to explain a common enough occurrence when I ride on public transit. It usually goes like this: The doors open (chime! doors OPENING) and I wait my turn to lumber as delicately as I can onto the train car. I try to avoid any tail casualties. I tuck my wings in tight. And if I find an open seat, I sit down.

A little red dragon looks over her shoulder to wave at us

And not every time, but certainly often enough, a human lady (it always seems to be a lady) (and it always seems to be a human) on the train turns to whoever got onto the train right in front of me and says EXCUSE me, but is that your dragon?

And then the whole train car goes silent while this random stranger who happened to board around the time I did disavows having brought a dragon on their journey. And then everyone does their best to come to terms with the unaccompanied dragon on the subway car.

Sometimes it’s more or less fine. But other times when we get to the next stop I discover that Animal Care and Control is waiting for me. It can be . . . awkward.

Do dragons come with safety labels?

After consulting with several friends about this issue, I decided to get a tag. Some kind of safety label I could wear in public to help alleviate any concerns about a large winged reptile ambling about without a companion.

Most dragons do not come with safety labels. To learn basic facts about a dragon you encounter, you therefore usually need a dracologist to advise you. Or, I mean, you could just ask the dragon. We’re really quite approachable.

But not everyone feels that way (see, e.g., train lady), and so I knew I had to take matters into my own talons.

Ultimately I decided to purchase a Road ID. If you’re not familiar with their product, it’s a little plate with a few lines of engraved text that goes on a wristband, watch strap, etc. You get to control the text. The company’s client base seems to be cyclists and other adventurers who want their identity and emergency contact and medical information to be quickly accessible to first responders in the event of an accident. And really, the product seems valuable to anyone exposed to danger or who wants some peace of mind.

As a dragon trying to swoop my way through modernity, I feel I satisfy one or even both of those conditions.

The dragon safety label I picked for me

Here’s an example of a Road ID. I’m not showing mine here because while I don’t have any problem with telling you the location of my secret lair, you never know if there might be any knights reading this.

You can put the tag on a wristband, but I put mine on my watch. I found that a good solution because I didn’t need to ask Road ID whether they make wristbands large enough to fit the circumference of the forelimb of an allegedly mythological fire-breathing megafauna such as myself.

Nanette from Road ID is my new best friend (even if she doesn’t know it yet)

Not long after placing the order, it arrived! It came with instructions, and, best of all, it also came with a personalized card from Nanette.

Nanette sent me a little note along with my Road ID order. How nice!

Golly, thanks, Nanette!

And it turns out that Nanette was the perfect person to process my order, because check out her answer to a very important question. No, I don’t mean the one about her celebrity crushes (Mark Walhberg and Katie Perry) or her favorite snack (chocolate covered pretzels). I mean her favorite (allegedly) mythical creature. And of course she answered correctly!

Nanette had an outstanding answer to the final question on this survey.

So, Nanette, if you’re reading this, thank you for making my day. I hope you and Mark Wahlberg and Katy Perry can meet up soon to enjoy some chocolate covered pretzels.

Meanwhile, you can find me riding the subway, equipped with my new Road ID, hoping that when other riders see me, a modern dragon, on the subway, they’ll feel a little more comfortable knowing I have a tag.


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