Since Jack Frost has essentially hit the road (or at least written his seasonal “Dear John / Jane / Fools who Live North of Carbondale, Illinois” letter), I’ve been taking Daisy for a walk every morning before work. At this time of day, the neighbors are usually conveniently at their own places of employment or indoors being held hostage by toddlers packing diaper-heat and I can go about my business without being sucked into a lengthy conversation that could make me miss an amusing call on Kathleen Dunn’s show.
Because Daisy has to meet everyone. New sex offender moves in down the block and is outside filling the birdfeeder? Let’s go say hi! Drug dealers across the street having a barbeque with their raggedy clients? Such friendly people—let’s go ask for a belly rub! Frail, elderly women in PVC kerchiefs who want nothing to do with us during their daily dinos-become-oil-faster-than-their walks around the block? Let’s jump on their arthritic legs, tangle our leash around their fragile ankles, and drag them down the street!
But twice this week, there were conversations that couldn’t be avoided with people who were out and about.
First, there was the dynamic carpentry duo sprucing up the ghettified house one block over. A young woman and an old man were on the porch cutting 2 x 4's with a table saw and Daisy took off towards them on her extend-o-leash, whining, tail wagging, positively explosive in her desire to meet them. The man seemed amused and surprised at the extent of Daisy’s eagerness to throw herself onto their shoes for a scratch. Personally, I suspect she’s a meth addict. Or at the least, more manic than Christian Slater right before the party runs out of coke. “Whoa!” he said. “She must be a reincarnated carpenter!”
I started to panic at the possibility that he knew about her compulsion to craft wood cutting boards and decorative switchplate covers with the jigsaw in the shed late at night. Was this man peeping in our windows? I’ll have to ask Daisy to make us some wooden blinds.
The next day we encountered a cute college-age girl who crossed our path on the sidewalk. Daisy was beside herself, because she’s a bit like Joe Francis in her enthusiastic affection for pretty young girls who smell of vanilla. Making urgent, high-pitched noises that Lindsey Lohan might make if trapped in a Krispy Kreme shop, Daisy threw herself onto her back in the girl’s path. “Oh, you’re so cute! You just want your tummy rubbed, don’t you?” she said, bending over to pet my furry maniac. Daisy whined in a pathetic, desperate bid for approval, tail a thumping blonde blur.
We managed to part ways and three steps later I heard the girl say behind me, “Ew! It peed on me!”
I wish I could have said something clever in response, maybe even an effusive apology, but my face flushed, I faked a cough to pretend I didn’t hear, and skedaddled. And this is probably just how I’ll deal with things when my future toddler bites another three year-old on the playground.
Oh yeah. How I did at my workshop. First, thank you all for being so awesome & wishing me luck! I think I did pretty well…for the six people in the audience. Including my parents. But I can now check one literary milestone off the list: the sparsely attended author event. Next time? There will be bribery with booze and cheese. Also, hopefully the book will be … you know … out. (Thanks to Mel at Limelite for such a nice set-up!)