Monday, July 28, 2008

The Interloper

Dotsie is doing her very best to ignore the new puppy as if it just doesn't exist. So much for my dreams of the maternal instinct coming out in her, as she shows the young 'un the ropes & suddenly her life will once again have a purpose, like those women who became mechanics in the war, kerchief and all. It's actually just short of downright hostile. I see her watching me as I praise Bean for peeing outside, in the dirt patch by the little oak tree. I can see the eyes rolling back in her head and an "oh please, you're pathetic" expression on her face. I didn't know dogs could do disdain so well. But poor girly -- first her great friend and mentor dies and now there's an interloper. Ruth, who's -- how should I put this -- um, Boutros Boutros Gali need not fear for his job; Ruth, who lacks the diplomacy gene, said "God, Briar died and then you bring a female puppy into the house, Dotsie must be ready to slit her throat." I'm trying to treat this as one would children. My theory is that there's a new baby in the house so then all the more reason to take the older one on fun little one-on-one adventures and day trips. For example, today she came with me to Santa Monica Pier to pick up Minks, and leaned out of the car as if she were Brigitte Bardot on a daytrip to St Tropez, sans headscarf, while sunburnt tourists in t-shirts proclaiming the city they were staying in oohed and aahed and pointed at her. Dalmatians are the dogs that everyone wants to touch, perhaps because they imagine each one a Pongo or a Perdita. So the one who used to be my tiny dog is now the big dog in the house and she towers over Bean, is almost twice her size and is marching about without much of her usual puppy-ish energy. She's behaving a little too Elder Statesman for me, trip to the beach notwithstanding. I am, it must be said, wracked with guilt. Tomorrow Amilcar is coming to chicken-wire the garden, because I've discovered that the sturdy iron railings are spaced just wide enough apart for a wily little spotted pup to squeeze through. I hope I'm not turning into my neighbor up the hill, who transformed his yard into Colditz with liberal use of barbed wire. (His poor dog is nowhere to be found. I fear she may be no longer.)

Funny how one gets caught up in the moment and turns into a tourist for a few drunken days in a new place. I have of course both a t-shirt and a sweatshirt from Nantucket but am very glad I didn't buy a shell mirror or a set of shot glasses with etchings of the lighthouse on them, but I was sorely tempted. (I nearly even bought matching rope bracelets for all my girlfriends). There were a lot of very reddened tourist families walking down Hollywood Blvd today as I returned from my trip to Target for filing boxes. They looked very disappointed in their denim shorts and their sparkling white trainers. Apart from the handprints on the street, what else is there on Hollywood Boulevard other than a parade of shops selling S&M gear, and whole bunch of meth heads and crack whores? Poor things were probably imagining glamorous actors and actresses at every corner, a cornucopia of costumed stars and a facade from a 50s movie, complete with soda fountains, five & dime stores, and diners resembling the Brown Derby. Instead, it's dirty and sad and the end of the line for dreamers. Surely there should be a guide book written that would piss off the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce by giving stern advice on visiting, and certainly taking one's whole bushy-tailed family, to such a place. I almost got out of my car at one point when the sweetest family ever, probably from Iowa (although I hate to be stereotypical-ha ha) was looking so desperately downcast and morose that I wanted to lead them by the hand to El Matador beach where the rock pools are so pretty or the very top of Runyon, where the city is spread out before you (and from that distance still looks beautiful in its smoggy orange glow). At the very least, I wanted to drag them to Zankou Chicken in Burbank for the very best sandwich they'd probably every tasted.

But I am entirely off-point. The impulse buy of the squeaky squirrel toy (an homage to my brother) was probably not very well planned. Dusk doesn't really hold its same magical appeal punctuated by the high-pitched & rhythmic percussion of a furry dog toy.

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