Stories and sundries from last week:
7:15 am (driving to work) question: Why hasn't anyone made a modern adaptation of Lysistrata, a la such teen classics as 10 Things I Hate About You?
7:50 thought: I wish I had perfume that smelled like eggnog.
It's pretty clear, already, how this day will go.
Me: I'm totally the teacher that sits in her room and rocks out to Prince on her prep period.
Me: Wait, what teacher is that?
So my roommate Lisa and I go to see a movie, but as usual she's running way late (for no real reason) and we arrive at the theater 20 minutes after the 5:30. We decide to go across the street first, for dinner, and catch the 7:00. She parks her little Rav4 in the movie theater parking lot (which is HUGE), and before we can go for dinner, she has to stop and put her jacket on, so she sets everything down on the hood of the car and I wait, patiently, distracted, amid the xeriscaping. We go have dinner, the waiter flirts with us and gushes about how much he loves Blue Moon beer (my favorite), whatever. After dinner, we walk across the street and through the parking lot to the theater, where we buy tickets, sit through about 17 previews, and then the movie (the incredibles, cute).
The movie ends around 9:15. Lisa and I are sitting at the end of the row, and I scoot out of my seat immediately so the other people can get out, but Lisa spends like five minutes digging in her purse. I finally coax her into the aisle, where she continues to block people and dig in her purse. "I can't find my keys." "Maybe you could look in the lighted hallway?" I suggest. Okay. We sit down on a bench and Lisa pretty much dumps all the contents of her purse out, but no keys. She leaves her purse with me as she goes back into the theater to crawl around on the floor looking for her keys. Ten minutes later, she comes out of the theater shaking her head. No luck. We go to the lost and found, and though it's full of keys and sunglasses (and someone's social security card!), Lisa's keys aren't among the found lost. "Back to the restaurant," I say. Suddenly, Lisa looks at me in panic. "I put them on the car. When I put my coat on." She bolts out the door and starts running through the parking lot. Confused, I follow. "I hope my car's there! I hope it's still there!" she yells.
The car is still there. Sitting on the hood of Lisa's car are her keys. Sitting on the hood of the car, in a crowded parking lot, for almost FOUR HOURS. We should all be so lucky.
I went out to feed the hawk tonight (mouse soup, because we keep all the frozen mice in our freezer and the best way to defrost them quickly is to boil a bowl of water & drop the mice in) and saw that the gate had blown open in the wind. I realized I hadn't seen the dog in maybe 20 minutes and a deep sense of dread filled my stomach, because he has this tendency to wander off and get really immersed in his own projects (sniffing grass and chasing rabbits, generally) and then get lost, like a little autistic kid who's kind of deaf.
I run through the house to see if he's maybe hiding in one of the bedrooms or putzing around the backyard, but he's not, he's not anywhere and the sun's setting quickly and he's nearly impossible to see in the dark. I put on a pair of sandals and go running into the front yard, up to the top of the driveway where I have a better view of the yard and the neighborhood, all the time whistling and calling for him. I don't see him anywhere, so I start wandering up and down the street, yelling and whistling and worrying about how all the neighbors are looking out their windows at me with a mixture of pity and disgust, like you'd look at the resident crazy homeless person who you try to feel bad for but really you wish they'd get off your front stoop, and I'm also worrying that someone's picked up my perfect dog and realized instantly that he'd be the greatest pet for their eight-year-old twins or maybe they'll sell him to some evil scientist to do experiments on him and I'll never see him again. The sun's setting, and I'm feeling increasingly crazy and desperate but trying to keep my cool, remembering the time last year when he wandered off and I screamed like a madwoman for a half-hour, only to have my neighbor come over and say that the dog had been happily sitting on his front porch the whole time.
It's getting pretty dark and I jump in the truck to drive up and down the streets looking for him, knowing that it won't do much good but I can't just settle down and wait for him to get hit by some teenager joyriding in his grandmother's caddy. I'm driving up and down the streets with my window wide open, going about 3 miles an hour and screaming and whistling through my window, and then stopping in embarassment when some nice old people on their nightly constitutional give me a panicky, frightened look like at any moment I'm going to jump the curb and come after them.
I drive all the way to the top of my street and all the way down, and by now it's almost too dark to see anything, but at the very bottom of my road I see some glowing eyes on the street and whistle at them. A very nice, very calm dog trots up to my truck and I apologize to it, telling it that I'm looking for a different dog and sorry to bother him. He wags his tail and trots up the street, and I continue driving, feeling increasingly crazy and increasingly desperate, but by the time I'm halfway around my very large block I've settled into a feeling of quiet resignation, planning in my head how to explain to Lisa when she gets home and later to my family how Zeke ran away and I'm a horrible person and he's probably in some lab as we speak, being shampooed with some horribly abrasive experimental new Pantene product. I cruise back down my own street so slowly that a truck gets frustrated and passes me just as I reach the driveway, so I have to wait until he gets around me to turn down it, but when I do I see three dark shapes waiting at the bottom near the house, and my heart leaps and catches. I creep all the way down the gravel driveway, thinking about how ironic it would be if I ran over my own dog just when I've found him, and I see in the glow of the headlights that one of the three dark shapes is, indeed, my dog. Another of the three runs off into the yard, quickly disappearing into the tumbleweed and yuccas, but the third shape stays.
It's the other dog, the one from before. It waits until I get all the way down to the bottom of the driveway, watching Zeke, watching me, and then wags its tail at me and starts trotting up the driveway. I know this will sound completely insane, like I've been living in New Mexico too long and really should get back to the midwest where no one talks matter-of-factly about "spirit guides" or "manifestions," but I truly got this strange sense that this other dog had found Zeke and led him home, and then waited to leave until it was sure Zeke was safe. I made Zeke jump in the truck with me and then called after the yellow dog, "Thank you! Thank you for bringing Zeke home!" The dog stopped in the driveway, looked back at me, wagged its tail like a wave, and disappeared into the night.
and the sequel:
-- one, that the third dog in the driveway managed to get locked into our backyard, only to be discovered cowering and shivering in the bushes around 11:00 that night with a terrible injury to his jaw (so sad! SUCH a sweet dog!) so Lisa and I managed to drag him out of the yard across this street to his own house, where his owner (blinking and groggy and none-too-happy to be awakened) didn't even thank us for bringing him home. It was a weird dog night.
-- two, apparently my roommate can communicate with animals, um, psychically, and she later "heard" my dog saying "What's the big deal? I was just hanging out with my friends."
seriously, you just have to laugh.
Lisa: Melanie was telling me about this movie we should see.
Me: Oh yeah? What's that?
Lisa: I don't know, something about this geek who's stuck in the 80s. Just like you!
Five more days. Five more days.
-- Five more days to push against the wall of apathy (my own!) and get all the grading and cleaning done.....
-- Wait a minute, I have a full inservice day to "work on grades" on the 3rd! I don't have to get anything done!
-- No, but wouldn't you feel better if you had all your grading done before the holiday, so it wasn't hanging over your head those two weeks?
-- Yes you would.
-- But I don't want to do any work this week! I want to kick it with some eggnog and claymation tales of reindeer and dentists!
-- It will be worse if you don't do it.
-- Way worse.
-- Wait a minute.... Jimminy, is that you? I thought I squooshed you under my boot in college!