My daily walks in the park with Minnie are alone time for me. Well, I’m there with Minnie of course but we’re each doing our own thing. I’m listening to my podcasts. Minnie is, as far as I can see, trying to eat, sniff, pee or poop on every object in the general vicinity of the house.
I see a lot of the same people. We nod hello to each other. We’ve been nodding hello to each other for OMG six years now. Lots of us bipedal introverts at the park.
One of the regulars who I’ve never talked with is a gray-haired woman who has an extra-cheerful smile. I am suspicious of complete strangers who greet me overly cheerfully out in public.
Today I could tell this woman wanted to speak, so I shut off my iPhone and pulled the headphones out of my ears. She handed me an envelope, said she’s a writer and hoped I enjoyed this. And I said thank you and put it in my pocket and kept on walking.
This is what blogging used to be like before the Internet, right? You had to go to the park and hand people stuff.
The envelope is on my desk in front of me now. It’s a standard, white, blank, sealed business envelope, with several sheets of paper folded inside.
I’ll open it now. I suspect this will prove to be anticlimactic.
And that’s done. It’s a three-page essay, printed out on white paper with lavender ink, about how the scent of flowers blowing in through an open window reminded her of a dead loved one, and how she now rejoices when people she loves pass on because they’re now experiencing divine bliss.
While taking our afternoon walk in the park yesterday, Minnie and I were approached by a girl who looked to be about 9 years old and an older man, presumably her father.
I took my earbuds out of my ears to be able to hear them speak. Here in the 21st Century, living in a city, I’ve become dubious about being approached by strangers. When a stranger approaches me – even a sweet-looking little girl – I start from a position of wariness. I assume they want me to buy something, generally something of questionable value or else why would they be selling it on the street? Or they’re panhandling. Or they want to convert me to something.
But this little girl said, all in a burst by rote without leaving space between words, that she was doing a school science project in whether dogs are left handed or right handed and did my dog sit and give paw on command?
Well, Minnie sits on command most of the time. Sometimes she sits when she wants something from us, because she’s figured that sometimes sitting is how to get what she wants. Other times she ignores us. And we’ve never tried give-paw on command because we’ve never had to. Minnie was an early and enthusiastic paw-giver and she’s just stayed with it. We’ve never been able to figure out why she seems to enjoy giving paw so much. If giving paw ever becomes an event in the Westminster Dog Show, bet on Minnie. You’ll clean up.
While I attempted to stammer out this complex explanation the little girl said, no, dogs participating in the study have to be able to give paw on command.
B-b-b-b-ut, I said.
No. On command.
And she hardened her face and she and the man turned away.