I have a friend. (It’s my blog’s equivalent of ‘once upon a time.’) He’s a nice but strange fella. In response to my request to introduce me to his ‘interesting’ male friends, he introduces me to the girl he is dating. We meet at a coffee house late at nite. He introduces us and falls asleep. Would have been awkward but I really liked Date girl. She is pretty with delicate hands, sips tea, and can tell stories. Here’s a cute one she told me about one of her pals (who, please note, does not fall asleep after perfunctory introductions.)
Pal has a pet dog he is very fond of. (It’s in keeping with the human tradition of being fond of the pets you have and not going off to Snoozyland after introducing strangers.) So, he plays with his pet – grabs him by the ear, pulls its cheeks (I’m sorry – I haven’t had a pet so I don’t know how else to describe it), scratches its chin, gives it a backrub, etc. etc.
Then one day, he goes to visit a friend who’s just had a baby. The friend gingerly puts the baby in Pal’s hands and Pal….well, he pulls its cheeks, scratches its chin, turns it over to give it a backrub, etc. Deep-rooted conditioning with pet has caused Pal to overlook a rather self-evident truth – dogs and babies are not the same and therefore must be treated differently.
Pal will next meet friend and baby only when baby turns thirteen.
Another doggy tale.
Last month, I opened the gate to my folks’ house and I saw a dog. We have never had dogs and we will never have dogs. That is an immutable truth. So when I saw this dog, I was confused. Was this my house? Was this our dog? Was this someone else’s dog at my house? Was it our dog in someone else’s house? What?
Now, I know that dogs bark at strangers. Considering the dog had never met me, (we had not been introduced by people who make acquaintances and go to sleep thereafter) I was a stranger to it. It looked at me and looked away with a ‘Whateva!’ expression.
I don’t think dogs fully appreciate what a two-hour bus journey can do to a person in summer. When the dog looked away, I felt bad.
Clearly, I wasn’t a good enough perpetrator to merit its attention. (In all fairness, I was twirling a cheery buttercup at the time....but one sharp bark wouldn’t have hurt.)
As I stood there, basking in canine condescension, my cook came running down.
‘Tommy comes everyday.’- shouted my Mom from the window.
I felt chastised. (because I don’t go everyday. I go twice a month.)
Tommy gets up after teaching me a lesson. Goes out and a litter of puppies come running to suckle it. Turns out Tommy is a she.
I tell my cook, ‘Tommy is a female.’
‘So why do you call it Tommy. The dog’s a b..well, it’s a female.’
‘I know. That’s why I changed her name. When I didn’t know, I used to call her Tom..but now we call her Tommy.’
Tommy looks at me and goes Tsk Tsk!
Note to self: Nobody but me chooses my children’s names.