I realize after a few minutes that I have been sitting in a living-cringe position. The waiting room at the doctors’ is crowded and every now and then the bored and somewhat hostile low-level buzz is perforated by a dog’s mighty WOOF. Let’s stick to the facts, because it’s my dog. He’s outside being massive and friendly – and being naughty, and getting rewarded by every stranger who passes and gives him love. I haven’t figured out how to get my dog not to bark when he’s tied outside, and I’m inside somewhere. Because he is SILENT AS THE GRAVE at home and doesn’t bark for any reason whatsoever (even when the children want him to) but then he does this!
So anyway, how I handle the dog doing his thing is I pretend it’s not my dog and I don’t know whose dog it is. But I am sitting in a defensive posture because I’m just waiting. Every now and then a patient walks outside and praises him and calls him a Sweetheart and then leaves the outer door open so a few seconds later his WOOF reverberates through the whole building. I don’t want to step out and close the door because he’d see me and he might think he’s getting what he wants.
I sit for an hour and fifteen minutes before I know I have to leave, no doctor today. I talk to the receptionist then I step outside and pack up my bike and an older woman approaches me: “Is that your dog?” And I wait to hear an admonition or something but instead she says warmly, “He’s so faithful.” Right, like he’s a Goddamned Champion! An even older man follows right on the heels of this woman, tottering and walking so unstably with his arms out so he looks like a small child, he trips towards us and his eyes are open in surprise, whether at my magnificent dog or because he’s about to fall I can’t tell before I turn away. This woman, then, catches him up and I swing my leg over the bike and my dog and I are off.
I’m home and I flush some medicine and I feel better about that. And I make a pot of coffee and light a candle and say some prayers.
I write a list of things I want to get done but I lose the list.
I gather the kids up and climb in through the passenger side of my car. My driver’s-side window shattered the other day and any time I move the door a bunch of glass settles deep inside and makes unsavory crunch-noises. It will get fixed soon enough.
I take the children to lunch somewhere they really like and I feel a little bit better than I have been.
We take two walks out through The Flats and back. The first walk is so hot I strip down as much as is decent. The second is in the gloaming and swarms of gnats accost us. We walk past a dark car and a woman inside, crying. I know her. She rolls the window down and greets me. I ask if she’s Okay and she shakes her head No. But she puts her hand up and signals I leave. I place her back where I found her and I walk on. I say a prayer for her but I walk on.
Home and I run a hot bath and make hot tea.