Wednesday, 23 May 2012
Most people say 'good morning, lovely weather' when you encounter them on a lonely street - well, that is, if they don't walk by you looking everywhere but in your direction. But when you have a dog, it’s a definite factor that makes you have to talk to strangers, and okay, the weather is unseasonably inclement thereby averting that particular cliché this morning, but here's a conversation that's seen me giggling since I came in from my first walk of the day - talk about inspiration for a character in one of my books. But be warned, it's pretty disgusting, so leave now if you're all about bluebells, fireflies and butterflies.
"Is he friendly?" a woman in a baseball cap shouted from half a mile away above the traffic noise on Broadway; people driving to work and the students on their way to UBC packed into any number of hi-speed number 99 busses like refugees on a banana boat, a rush hour on a road that runs right through Vancouver that's akin to a black hole vortex.
And even though I knew what she'd said just by the very predictability of it, my piss elegant sensibilities showed their annoyance that someone as refined as me would be expected to scream back on the street to tell her that my miniature schnauzer, freshly groomed and on his lead, was in fact social.
"Excuse me?" I said, cocking my ear, getting closer and showing an obvious irritation, not really one for talking to strangers anyway, let alone first thing.
Getting closer, I saw she was part Native American and perhaps fully lesbanian, everything about her unabashed too, from body language to dress sense, a person who knew exactly who she was and no problem displaying herself to the world. Admirable; despite being a very private person who loves to keep you guessing, I love people like that. Some way behind her, a scruffy looking dog whom I was concerned might run out onto the main thoroughfare, as some dogs do when they see another regardless of how well trained they are, was busy sniffing in the tufts of weeds outside an apartment block that needs knocking down, if you ask me.
"Is he friendly?" She repeated in that what might be considered a red neck Canadian working class accent.
"Yes, but, yours isn't going to run out onto the road when he sees him, is he?" I said, me being a little bit of a dog whisperer; predicting how it might react, her little dog still sniffing something or other, yet to notice us.
"Acht, he's been hit once before, eh... he knows better," she said completely unconcerned, which made me laugh inside; already able to tell who this person might be; her sense of humour all too rare, one that could've even been Scottish - might've been, actually; many Natives in Vancouver, apparently, with some Scottish blood in them (usually from their grandfather, for whatever reason).
And sure enough, little scruffy came toddling along; his nose soon up the nether regions of my dog, sniffing him with an urgency as mine tried to turn around to do the same, resulting in that never-ending snaking, nose-to-tail thing.
"Is he a Schnauzer?" She said, a gruff element to her voice, to which I replied politely that he was, "Half Pomeranian and Yorkie", she said pointing at hers, "fat little bastard, old, twelve, getting bald, doesn't know if he's comin' or goin' eh... how old's yours?"
"Three and a half," I said, completely amused, my morning grimace turning upside down now as I watched the dogs compete in their pissing competition against the newspaper deposit stand outside the convenience store, the old Korean lady inside straining her neck to try and disapprove through the bars on the window and a plethora of telephone card posters.
At that point Scruffy started licking up the amber/yellow pee-pee that'd formed a little puddle in a crevice on the ground, and the woman just looked at him as he did, completely unconcerned. Now, I'm well aware that you shouldn't really touch someone else's dog, let alone push them in case they snap at you, despite the fact you might otherwise be Dr Doolittle, but I couldn't help myself; I would never allow my dog to lick a jaggy nettle (as we call stinging nettles in Scotland) in case it'd been peed on, never mind the sting, let alone drink from a fountain of it.
"Eew, don't do that puppy," I said, gently trying to push him away, but Scruffy's focus on the pee entirely, he refused to budge. "God, dogs are so disgusting sometimes," I said, trying to walk away in an effort for the woman to do the same if only to stop her dog from drinking the pee-pee. But she didn't; just standing there waiting until it'd finished, and then she laughed.
"Hah... I'm sure most men would want to do the same thing if they thought they could get away with it," she said, as I raised my eyes at her, not sure if I'd heard right, outside of the entire male species just being insulted, what kind of person says that to anyone, let alone a stranger they just met?
"Uh, I don't think so." I said, clearly wanting to leave now, finding myself actually contemplating what she'd said because I'm a deep thinker, already pretty sure I could probably find some truth to it, if I was so inclined, on the Internet. (I'm not.)
"What's his name?" She said, insisting on keeping me engaged.
"MacGregor," I said.
"Ooh that's sophisticated," she said, and pointed at hers, again laughing heartily. "Poochy."
I laughed all the way home, and still giggling at her complete candidness to the point I had to write it down here.
Don’t know if I could spend a whole day with someone like this, but I am sure I could create a wonderful character from her if I did. And I'm pretty sure Poochy probably has a very good little life - a true 'dog's life', as it were - regardless of his disgusting habits.
Who say's I'm a snob?