Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Bob. And Marie.

So today when I went to do my errands, I brought the dogs along. I do that pretty much every day and wanted to make sure I get it in early in the week because it's supposed to be too damn hot for that sort of thing at the end of it.

We started off at the town office to register the cars. I went inside and was waiting in line, looking at all the signs for dog licensing they have hanging there. There are a lot of them. One was a picture of a very sad looking dog behind bars with the caption "Look at what she did to me because you didn't license me!"

I registered the cars and left, taking my unlicensed dogs with me.

We went to Wal Mart next. I walked around, not remembering what I'd gone there for and ended up leaving empty handed. I got back to the car and there was a woman sitting in the car next to me whose face lit up when she saw me approach.

"Your dogs are beautiful!" she said.

I thanked her.

"And they're so good!" she said next.

I thanked her again although I really wanted to know upon what she was basing her assessment. Was it just that they were sitting calmly in the car? Or had she been doing stuff to them through the crack in the window?

We left then and went up to the post office. On our way, we got to an intersection where there was a motorcycle behind us, a bicyclist next to us and a pedestrian walking a dog on the sidewalk on the other side of the street. Poor Mischa didn't know which way to freak out. She ended up not freaking out at any of them for which she was richly rewarded.

When I came out of the post office, a car pulled into the spot next to mine and the woman in it thought the dogs were the most beautiful, well behaved dogs. And they are. Except, ironically, when they're in obedience class. Go puzzle that one.

Next was the grocery store. I pulled into my usual spot. A woman in her SUV was parked next to me. Her windows were down and she looked over at my dogs. My calm, non reactive dogs. I was getting my stuff together when her SUV started to bark.

Or rather, Bob started to bark.

Bob was in the cargo area of the SUV. Bob's a black and white hound mix. And Bob liked to bark. A lot.

"Bob," the woman said. "Stop it."

Bob did not stop it. I gave Mischa and Sebastian treats because neither of them had reacted to Bob. It didn't surprise me that Sebastian hadn't reacted because he doesn't (unless we're in class, of course) but I was floored that Mischa hadn't started up. Because that's what Mischa does. Usually.

"Bob," the woman said again. "Stop it. You can't play."

I'd like to make a note that it didn't really sound like a "come play with me" bark coming from the back of the SUV. It was more of a "come here so I can rip out your throat" bark.

"Bob," the woman said again. "Knock it off!"

I treated the dogs again because they still weren't reacting. Then I thought about just moving my car. And if Mischa had been the one freaking out, I would have done just that, mostly in an effort to spare Sebastian the pain and horror of being tagged when Mischa's frustration reached the boiling over point. But since they were both behaving admirably, I decided that SUV woman was just going to have to deal.

I got out of the car and SUV woman was still yelling at Bob to shut the hell up. She looked at me, all irritated, I think, that I was leaving my car where it was. It's a free country. I can park anywhere I want. Well, except a no parking zone anyway.

Bob continued to bark as I got the canvas bags out of the back of the car and walked away. Mischa barked almost immediately. I turned around and told her (in French) to be quiet. She, remarkably, was. SUV woman looked less enthused with me. Bob kept barking. Mischa didn't make another sound.

All the way into the grocery store, you could hear Bob barking and SUV woman saying, "Bob, stop it!" You know what the definition of insanity is, don't you, SUV woman? It's repeating the same action over and over and over again, expecting a different result. I know what Bob's reason was...what's yours?

Anyway, when I came out of the grocery store, Bob was gone and so we drove home. We'd just pulled onto our street and were almost to our driveway when a van pulled out of the line of cars parked along Marie's side of the road (all the construction people park on the side of the road because there's currently no room in her driveway because of the monster garage construction. Marie and whoever is at her house have to park there too. It's delightful.). They backed up into my driveway and sat there. And didn't move.

I, of course, slowed down because although my car does have four wheel drive, it cannot drive over a van. I waited. The van continued to not move. I put my window down and started waving. The van still did not move. I figured the van was waiting for me to pass so I pointed to my driveway to indicate that's where I was trying to go. My driveway. Not their frakking turn around. My driveway. Which leads to My house.

The van finally moved. The driver had the window down and slowed up to talk to me. Because I so wanted to talk to the idiot who was blocking my driveway. It turned out to be Marie. Even better.

"Sorry," she said.

"Yeah," I said.

"I was waiting for you to go by," she said.

"I was waiting for you to get out of my driveway," I said.

"So how are you?" she asked next.

"Great," I said. "Really great."

"Isn't it nice that summer's here?" she asked then.

We had frost the night before and I had to wear my down coat when taking the dogs out this morning. That doesn't exactly scream summertime to me. But whatever.

"Yeah," I said.

"We gotta talk about cutting down trees," she said. Because I'd be so receptive to doing her a favor just then.

"No," I said. "We really don't."

"Did you get a new dog?"

She was talking about Mischa. Every time she sees Mischa, she asks if we've gotten a new dog.

"Yeah," I said. "Almost four years ago now."

"All right then," Marie said. "We'll talk about the trees. See you later!"

She drove off then. I sat for another minute and then headed for my now clear driveway. One of Marie's cats was sunbathing in the middle of it. I very generously did not run it over. Mischa, however, had herself a nice apoplectic fit. The cat, eventually, got the hint and ran into the woods. I thought about letting Mischa go after it but it just seemed too cruel. I rescued Sebastian from the car before Mischa could attempt to chew off his face.

And all was well.

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