Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Waking Up

One of the reasons I don't blog as often as maybe I should is that once in a while I write something -- like "Fred" -- that I want to hang like a Picasso lithograph in a millionaire's living room.  However, I am in desperate need of shaking off some difficult years so today I'm going to tell you what I've seen and the conversations I've had.  It's a rare opportunity because I'm substitute dog-walking & out for three or four hours...

In other words, I want to document a day in order to wake up from my ongoing stupor.


8.20 a.m.  Daisy eats a half a powdered sugar doughnut on Love Lane that someone didn't pick up.
8.50 a.m.  Recycling day is tomorrow.  Unwanted furniture is starting to line the curbs.  Tuesday is the day Brooklyn Heights collectively outgrows Ikea.
8.55 a.m.  Long talk with dishy doorman.  He has a hard, hard body.  The squirrel he rescued and was tending in the outside lobby of the veddy exclusive building he works for had run away.  "Probably to die," I said.  "Animals are like that."  He told me that "in the country I come from," they have all these saying about donkeys because when a donkey is dying, it will break chains and knock down fencing to get out and go off to die in private.  "Remember Solomon in the Bible?" he asked.  I nodded.  "He has a donkey's jaw.  Think about that.  Why not another animal's jaw?"  His "country" is Romania so we talked about the Roman Empire and how he can understand about 20% of the janitor's Spanish and the fall of Communism.  I liked it.
9.10 a.m.  A hoary man sits down backwards on a bench outside Harry Chapin Playground and begins to do sit-ups using the backrest to keep his knees from lifting.  First thought: Innovative.  Second thought: I would never have the nerve.
9.25 a.m. A frisky young malamute mix decides to eat my hair, wash my neck and pierce my ears.  "I can give you his leash and he's yours," his frustrated owner said.  Later I saw that she had her notebook out on a picnic table and was working, her dogs wandering quietly around and under the table.  First thought: Daisy would jump up on the table and sit on a computer in the dog run.
9.30 a.m.  Honey Bear, part Australian cattle dog and a notorious herder, got humped and herded by a Pyrenean mix.  The owner took Pyre to task but I was laughing and laughing at the well-deserved comeuppance.
9.38 a.m.  For no real reason, the thought occurs to me that, today, I am close to my inner serial killer.
9.40 a.m.  The first pumpkins of the year, on a stoop on Willow Street.
9.45 a.m.  Ran into the former nanny at Zeke's house, pushing a wise and somber three-year-old and tugging two toy dogs behind her.  She still sees the kids at Zeke's house and told me how the youngest has grown up in the years since Zeke was put down.  "Why don't you take me out for sushi?" he asks her every time they se each other.  He must be...four?
9.55 a.m.  Hunky Doorman walks part of the way with me and Honey Bear and tells me he now takes his coffee half-cappuccino/half-vanilla.  I tell him I used regular canned coffee but dump about a tablespoon of cinnamon in before brewing it.  A short conversation about the virtues of spices and the use of them to kill oneself by eating too much ensues.
9.57 a.m.  An elderly gentleman has brought a folding chair outside to read his newspaper in the sun.  This pleases me.

3.35 p.m.  Honey Bear, Daisy and I are about to turn onto Pierrepoint Street but first pause to let a woman with a double-decker stroller go by.  Inside are two enchanting Kate Greenaway tots, one about three, the other possibly 18 months old.  Blonde as Alice falling down the rabbit hole.  "Hitler would approve," I murmur to Daisy.
3.40 p.m.  The golden retriever barks up a storm when I step out of the elevator but it's all show.  She won't get off the bed, merely rolling over on her back for a belly rub.  I seduce her with a cookie.
3.42 p.m.  The Not Quite As Hunky Doorman tells me I don't have to leave Hunser and Daisy leashed to the fence so far from the building entrance.  I tell him I was walking the golden when the brouhaha began over dogs and elevators in that building.  It's a CEO sort of building and the owner of the ground floor apartment on the south side is, as Not Quite says, a bay-itch.  She demanded that no dogs be leashed outside her window because of the pee.  (A dog won't pee in a spot it can't get away from, but never mind.)  Then she complained about dogs in the elevator.  (She lives on the ground floor, but never mind.)  "So," I summarized, "I figure it's best to keep the dogs as far away as possible."  It's my last day filling in for Mike so the point is moot.  Still, he tells me the bay-itch complains all the time about the ice cream truck outside the Promenade Playground across from her aparmtent.
3.46 p.m.  The rag and bottle pickers are out, going through trash to find whatever they can resell.  Remind me not to throw out a shirt in a bag that has bills and stuff in it.
3.55 p.m.  We meet Hudson, a black English Lab.  Black Labs practically make me lactate and Hudson is a perfect specimen, not as fat as a lot of English Labs, with a perfect otter tail.  His owner is throwing balls for him but he takes time to wink conspiratorially at Daisy.
4.10 p.m.  I look up to see a large family hanging over the fence of the dog run.  The dog run is the local zoo -- the fence is often lined with people watching the free play of the dogs.  This family is dressed to the nines.  Out-of-town Jehovah's Witnesses who have come to marvel at their organization's HQ in Brooklyn Heights.  I'm glad Daisy jumps up on the water fountain to drink rather than trying to nose Hudson away from the dog pan that is at the foot of the fountain.  They point and laugh and I think about how they've been hearing the party line all day as they looked at printing presses and whatnot.  They need a little comic relief.
4.13 p.m.  Honey Bear decides Hudson needs to be corralled from his wanton ways of chasing a ball.  She nips his butt.  Hudson.  Doesn't.  Like.  It. 
4.25 p.m.  The wind shaking the lime trees on Willow Street makes me think of Flathead Lake, which makes me think of a comment my shrink, Dr. It's Never a Cigar, did not pick up on.  "If I was rich I'd be sitting on a beach at Flathead," I said in response to something.  "It's the only place I am truly myself."  I thought about that as he tried to drag some Totem and Taboo truth out of me.  It was too simple a statement.  I feel myself when I'm traveling, especially abroad.  And when I'm writing.  I should write a book cataloging people's various authentic selves, I think.  I would call it The Wind on Willow.

9.15 p.m.  Daisy grins broadly when we walk out the front door.  Recycling night!  All those bags to either rip open (I had to prize a bag of fried chicken out her mouth from Monday's garbage) or pee on.  My girlie-girl: lifts her leg especially for plastic.
9.16 p.m.  We're expecting a mini-heat wave but I wish I had a sweater on.
9.17 p.m. No, we are NOT going down Love Lane to find more powdered sugar doughnuts.
9.18 p.m.  What do you mean, you forgot the cookies??????
9.21 p.m. The blast of grilling beef at Heights Cafe hits us.  My stomach growls.
9.28 p.m.  Am I even hungry for dinner?  What would be good?  Ham and cheese roll-ups?  Yogurt.  I'll have yogurt.
9.29 p.m. Three boxes of Milk Bones fall on top of me and bounce into my basket.  What I do for love.
9.31 p.m.  I didn't bring enough money with me & have to pay by debit, which is not what I planned on doing.  Visa can wait another day.
9.35 p.m.  Theseus is tried up outside Starbucks so we go over to say hello.  Another black English Lab but as hyper as a popcorn machine.  Daisy takes advantage of the diversion to try to crawl into a trash can.  There are big black bags of garbage outside Pick-a-Bagel.  Montague Street the night before trash pick-up is Daisy's heaven.  It could only be topped if I had a Sanitation Services guy for a sleep-over boyfriend.
9.45 p.m.  Despite barking at a man with a CVS bag and a Pomeranian we make it home, but only before Daisy looks at me with the Cookie Question after the Pomeranian squabble.  No way.  "Do you want love?"  And yes, she does, going between my legs in the Tunnel of Love that reassures her everything is OK.

I'm having yogurt, oats and a banana for dinner.  My father is tucked in with his beep-beep channel hopping between National Geographic and a Rocky Marciano marathon.  I soaked my feet before shaving them tonight (no, I am NOT a hobbit) and did something to the plunger that drains the bathtub.  Tomorrow's second move is already mapped out: call the super.


What if I'd gotten cereal and pastry tonight, or ice cream?  Would it have effaced a day of conversations and mental photography?  Which is really me -- the sugar freak or the walking blogger?  Somehow it's a question that matters very much.

But not quite now.

And so to bed.


Unknown said...

It's so nice to peek into your day/mind. Thank you for sharing with me.

Anonymous said...

You could not be funnier. I can't tell you how much I appreciate your description of your day. I teach at a community college and...well, some of my days are scarily similar! I needed a good laugh today. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Anonymous said...

When do you feel like yourself? Eating sugar or noting impressions and writing the words in your head? It's clear you are a writer even when sugar blots the impressions and words. But I bet you write more often without the sugar.

Vickie said...

Such a long time since you have written this type of post. I have missed it. Your eye to detail is like mine. But your writing is so far beyond mine. Beautiful, a real gift.

Anonymous said...

PJ, Minnesota:
I hope it's the walking blogger! I loved reading this. I wish I had a dog, but I've neither the energy or the yard for one, so I have to live vicariously. Good job!

Unknown said...

Thank you for the slice of your world.