So when I hurried to do laundry this morning, I should have known better and just ‘got there when I got there.’ The lady at the Candy Store was chatty, and it took her an eternity to count out my nine dollars’ worth of quarters. When I was fifty feet from the MAX and it left without me?
I sat next to either a sketchy stripper or a hot homeless gal, I couldn’t tell which. She was doing her makeup from a large duffel bag while we waited. Seventeen minutes later, I was on the MAX, two stops away from the laundromat and my next two hours of amusement. Oh joy!
I shared the laundromat with a skinhead and his also-stripperlike girlfriend. They didn’t seem to be doing laundry. They sat there, eating a jumbo box of butterhorns and played with their phones. Stepping outside only to smoke, they appeared to have no legitimate reason for being there. None of my business…
I put an extra quarter in each dryer, figuring six minutes would be mold insurance. (“We must NOT smell like must!”) I played on Twitter, texted a couple buddies. Mostly I enjoyed the uninterrupted solitude. The Neo-Nazis were being vewwy-vewwy quiet. Bless you, smartphone inventor! I folded at a leisurely pace, and, since no one was inside, I changed clothes. Clean jeans, favorite black pocket tee. I added a clean hoodie for insulation, and got back to overthinking the folding of the wardrobe.
As I stepped out of the laundromat, I saw the Green Line pull away. Great, now I had seventeen minutes to walk three blocks. I stepped to it. I have learned that all that dickin’ around can get you distracted to where you miss the next departing bus. I occupied a bench, and almost nodded off. Another seventeen-minute interlude, accompanied by the dulcet tones of Paul McCartney and Wings. We gonna get hi hi hi…
After an eternal wait, the train came. I dragged my black-bag-disguised granny cart of clothes into the handicapped section. Opting to stand for the two stops, I scanned the train car. I was still sleepy from dozing at the bus bench. I smiled at the pretty young lady walking my way. She seemed persistent in making eye contact. She kinda looked like, no way…
It was Angel.
“HI!” She nuzzled up next to me, and kissed my cheek. I reciprocated, suddenly feeling like a genius for changing into clean clothes at the laundromat.
She looked darling as ever. I hadn’t recognized her when I’d scanned the MAX car, but as soon as I saw her twinkly smile I was warm and fuzzy as ever. My train stop came way too soon. I told her, “I’ve been thinking about you a lot lately. Now I’m gonna go home and think about you some more…” I gave a love-pat to her squeezably-soft backside.
If I’d caught that first train I’d have not seen her. So I offer a hat-tip to the gods of random, who managed to reward my patience with a hug and a squeeze from someone I’d been missing terribly. I had a spring in my step, and suddenly I wasn’t sleepy anymore.
Blessed by an angel with butterfly wings.
I remind myself each day how blessed I am. As the years tick off and the end approaches, I wonder if this is the last stop? Will I come back somewhere else in time, hopefully the future? I kinda doubt it; this sorta feels like a one-shot deal. But I dare to dream.
A lot has happened in the span of my lifetime. When I was a kid, if you had a phone it was attached to the kitchen wall, and everyone in the neighborhood knew your business. (It was called a party-line, and you had to wait your turn.) You could also listen in. Our neighbors were boring, but I pretended to be Gene Hackman tapping wires and spying on ne’er-do-wells. I’d record their conversations because I could. Now I have a phone I can watch TV on, make a movie on, play cards on… My dad would be blown away. He dated on horseback.
As technology advances, I try to keep a grounded view. I keep a couple acoustic guitars, a harmonica or twelve, and a set of bongos, because YouTube won’t have my favorite songs available if the lights go out. I think we have a manual typewriter in the shed; I should dig it out. But finding a ribbon for it? Note to self: Buy a few spiral notebooks to go with the dime-bag of ink pens Lucy bought me.
OTOH, I can tell you where my bus is with a couple taps of a button. I have 300 or so TV channels to choose from at home, and I could take those channels on the road with me, and watch them on my phone. Thing is, I catch myself chastising myself for staring at my phone when Mother Nature’s beauty presents itself to me. I should be staring out the window, gazing stupidly into space.
But I can do that when the battery on my phone dies.
I wasn’t quite that broke, but I had just finished getting all my bills current. Mortgage, credit card, bro-in-law/weed-card loan, etc… I had about ten bucks left, in the aforementioned configurements. It would be enough to get me dinner and a ride.
She got off work at 6:30. Knowing I would go insane and smoke waaay too much weed while waiting, I chose to meet her at the airport. “How about we meet where we used to play Scrabble. Security gate D?”
We have developed an open-door policy. If she wants to go out, we let her. Bathroom accidents are virtually non-existent, and to call her in all we have to do is wrinkle a bag of Cheetos. (She’s not particular; crunchy or puffy is fine. No Flamin’s tho.) She crashes head-first into the back door, sending it flying open. It sounds like a police raid.
Sometimes she just wants out to chase Django. Django may be old, but he’s got a mean left hook. He’ll drop three jabs on Luna before she knows what’s hitting her. They have an okay rapport, but Django gets respect.
Luna’s not against trying new things. After initial trepidation regarding the bathtub, she now loves wash time. But the latest fun and fascination?
She’d been coming in and out, saw the stuff on the ground, curious but not thrown by it. But when it started falling from the sky? Welcome to the land of confusion!
She looked around, up and down. She looked to Sister for reassurances, who acted like it was as normal as anything. So did Luna, until a snowflake hit her in the eyeball.
You haven’t lived until you’ve seen a puppy get angry with the snow. She jumped, barked, looked to see who was sprinkling this shit all over us? After a few seconds she mellowed out, and returned to the house looking like she’d come down with the world’s worst case of dandruff.
She’s got it under control now. She plays in the snow just like she plays in the mud; balls out. (Well, in a manner of speaking.) She’s still not big on visitors, but she’s keeping the house safe from squirrels and snowflakes.
There has almost always been a dog in my life, and not on purpose. As an adult, I couldn’t justify taking responsibility for another life when I couldn’t control my own. And I’m too selfish. But, others have dogs, and like children, you can get the effect without signing on for life. I’ve always enjoyed other people’s dogs.
Growing up, we had an old Australian Shepherd that was the coolest, mellowest ol’ dude. He would run the fence along the backyard, chasing the neighbor’s car. (We often wondered what he would do if he actually caught it?) That, and not-so-gentle rebuffs of his companion dog’s homosexual advances, were the only times we saw him get his gruff on. Most of the time it was a big-dog grin and a hummingbird-like tail.
Major, the ‘gay companion’ to the elder statesman, became ‘that way’ after Dad “fixed” him. Major never reproduced after the boot and the knife; he showed no interest in females after that, either. Major was half pug, half Chihuahua, and if you’d spit on the ground he’d go lick it up. He was the coolest city dog a country boy could own.
Of course, you know about Sandy, beloved canine matriarch of our home the past few years. She served us well, and we miss her. But there’s a new lady of the house.
And she’s all country.
2016 has been one hell of a rough year, and it’s not over yet. Mrs Brady died last night. Damn. (Florence Henderson, not my Mrs Brady. She works at the weed store across from Rain’s.) I have lost friends, and mortal luminaries from the music and video world have gone to the great beyond.
So far, death has missed my immediate friends and family. Praise cheeses!
I am thankful, so thankful, for that. And a few other things.
A celebration of life was held in our backyard this morning. It was attended by Sister and I, as well as animal representatives Luna and Django. Luna, the ADHD-addled teenager, was all over the place, not understanding what was going on but having a great time helping. “We’re digging holes in the back yard?” Luna loves the dirt, and she loves rootballs that resemble human hearts. With her all-black coloring and demon-eyes, watching her rip and tear makes me proud, and a bit nervous.
I would use a three-pronged prospector’s pick to loosen the clay, until Luna would get nosy. Then I’d shovel some dirt out, toss an empty plastic bottle across the yard and shovel some more, before Luna would come dashing back to the top of the dirt-pile, knocking a bunch of dirt back into the hole. At one point I would pick with my left hand while she attacked the shovel in my right. Some days this might make me cranky and impatient, but today I was enjoying her insolent distractions.
The time had come to bury Sandy.
With all the upheaval in our pet world, I am happy to report that things are settling down. I think everyone is getting used to each other.
The one who’s had issues the longest is the patriarch cat, our furry leader of leaders in the great outdoors, Django.
Man, you don’t know the half of it.
Luna is the newest addition to the family. She came from a home in the country, a crow’s flight from where Sister and I grew up. Luna had several puppy-brothers and sisters, and a Mama dog, so her move to the big city was probably a scary thing. (“All of a sudden, there I was, surrounded by colorful humans, a grouchy Mama-dog, and a bunch of cats that hate me!”) Luna won the humans over immediately. Sandy the Auntie-dog is adapting well. Django? Well, he’s working on it…
Say hello to my leetle frenn. This is Venus. (Or Luna. Jury is still out, but I prefer Venus.) She is part boxer, part Labrador. A Blab.
She’s cute and tiny and sturdy for a puppy. She’s taken to Sandy, who is proud as a new mother. She’s showing Venus the ropes, including the pecking order. If you don’t want your own carrot, Venus, don’t try to take Sandy’s. Sandy takes her carrots seriously. If the Guinea pigs get a carrot, so does Sandy. Interlopers will have their face eaten off. Venus learned this right out of the gate. Yipe yipe yipe!
Venus has learned to use the yard already; only one household mishap. She seems to sleep a lot. I wonder if she’s been eating green scraps off the floor in Sister’s room? Not the case. Apparently she keeps quite busy during the swing-shift hours, a doggie after my own heart.
It was a happy Sunday for me. I had a visit from a very special friend or two, who walked the city with me during lunch hour, and brought gifts of clothing and weed. (A really nice glass promo pipe and a gram or two of some fine icky. They don’t smoke much.) I found an airtight comtainer, and upon arriving home I took said pipe and icky into the front yard for the Perseid meteor shower show. I saw nussing. Nussing! But I had a wonderful time playing the harmonica and cuddling with Django, who decided for the first time ever that he wanted to curl up on my lap. He was most gentle, but his claws got to my leg eventually and I had to send him walking. Still, I could feel the love.
In all, a wonderful day. And now I have Monday and Tuesday off, to find some kind of amusement and get rid of all the pent-ups before Wednesday. That’s Next Call for responsibility.
Besides the little dog outside my door, that is.