Sunday, April 22, 2012

dog stories

Elai at Work

Elai is from the Philipines.  The other day at work, I asked her, "Ey, what's your favorite animal?" She tells me she likes birds.  She tells me she likes bright birds and the pretty sounds they make.  She says she hates dogs.  I laugh and think, how can you hate dogs?  clearly she hasn't seen this one:

She says that back in the Philippines, dogs run wild on the streets in packs.  They bite at you, chase you.  They're not domesticated.  And the ones that are, are only loyal to their masters.  They don't look at people as superior.  She tells me she's been bitten a few times by wild dogs.  I think of the Modest Mouse song, 
and I picture little kid Elai running down a dirty street, chased by wild dogs, crying and screaming as they bite at her skinny little legs.  
  Later that night, a customer came in with her stupid lap dog, walking around on its leash, dodging in and out of the prepared foods island in the deli.  She took it to the customer bathroom with her, next to the sandwich bar.  She then proceeded to sample while the dog just hung out, sniffing and eating anything it found on the floor.  All I could think about was how strange it must be for Elai to see this dog in this context, a born enemy to her, walking around as it pleases, eating samples it feels entitled to, allowed to move where ever it wants, in and out of Elai's place of work where she had no choice but to keep quiet and smile as it nipped away at her.  


  I go to Lincoln High with my dog to toss the ball around and lay on the grass.  We go after school gets out and nobody's around.  Sometimes, there is a woman with two small dogs who collects recyclables at the school after everyone's gone.  Her dog lunged at my own as we walked by once, so I stay clear of them.  
  I was leaving as she was arriving to make her rounds.  I eyed her dog, noting it was an old guy who was fiercely protective.  I knew that if he got near enough, he might not back off and my dog, who is pretty hefty, would put a dent in him.  I pick up my pace and move away from them.  As I do so, the lady calls after me, 
"Is there something wrong?"  
I answer, "Nope."  
She says, "Are you sure?  You got a problem or something?"
I say, "No I don't."
"Well, you look like you have a problem.  Don't be looking at me like you got a problem!  You don't know me, lady!"
  To which,  I turn and face her, head moving side to side, shoulders squared off, "You don't know ME!  Don't be talking to me like you do!"
She responds, "You're looking at me like you got a problem!"
I say, "I wasn't looking at you, I was looking at your dog!"
She says, "What?  What was that?"
I say, "I was looking at your DOG!"
  She is quiet for a second as I turn and walk on.  Then I hear, "I'm sorry."
I don't respond, I just keep walking, laughing at how silly I was.  She says again, "Lady! I'm sorry!"
  I say, without stopping, without even looking back, "Yeah...I'm sorry, too."

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