Friday, 18 June 2010

Black Dog On My Shoulder

So, I was meandering home from work via a circuitous route to take in the sun , and I ended up walking through a park. Lovely scene as you’d expect with the populous winding down & easing into the warm weekend. One of the features of the park (sort of by the Women’s Hospital/ Crown Street area...) is the assault-course / ‘exercise station’ layout wherby there are about ten stop-off points with bases that allow or encourage you to do exercises.

Never seen anyone utilising these, although I have really not carried out too rigorous observation either....I hope someone does though because its a good, inclusive idea – and its really not going to ever be me. Anyway, there were kids playing football, tramps passed out on the benches, dogs on the loose – your classic park scene. One dog in particular caught my eye because he was collarless, and looked very unsure of himself, pottering about with even less sense of purpose than the most unmotivated , no-real-plan mooching pooch can usually summon. Even his sniffing was unconvincing & didn’t seem heartfelt. Nice looking chap he was though, dark brown & black mottled with the gormlessness all good dogs really make work for them.

“i’d love a dog” i mused and then pottered on and out of the park.

As I crossed Crown Street and turned back to mine along (i think its called ) Brampton Drive it quickly became apparent that i was the only person on the street & my path was blocked by two 7/8ish year old girls, one on a phone. I don’t know if everyone’s first thought in these situations is “oh, here we go...this ten second stroll is now going to be horribly drawn out perjury” at the slightest possible hitch in smooth passage, but for better or worse it was mine. Of course I had my headphones on and was blasting out the summer sounds – at this point it was ‘Heaven Is A Place On Earth’ ratcheted up to 20 (not 11 – because the settings on my MP3 go up to 20 AND because Spinal Tap is the most over-rated thing of all time) and clinging to the hope Belinda Carlisle’s glorious emoting would somehow make these urchins vanish.

But no, that so often used “plan” let me down here, as the closer i got the more obvious it became that the kids’ were mouthing at me. Again, it probably doesn’t reflect well on me as a person that my gut reaction was ; they’re abusing me. Me – a respectable man waltzing along in my shirt, tie & work garb, with some classic 80s power rock booming out – what could they really have taken against?? Why would they any young ragamuffin hate me and want to spend their time heckling me with immature taunts?
Having resigned myself to just shuffling past & taking their barbs & insults, the nearer I was it didn’t look right- they were definitely speaking rather than cursing at me and unless they were disguising it brilliantly, there really seemed a lack of malice. Another big internal sigh – okay, lets see what’s going on. Headphones reluctantly , resentfully removed....if they spit at me & laugh I’ll kill them....

They were obviously upset about something & grating on each other in their distress. What’s going on ? I asked, because the last thing that should happen would be that this dynamic took on a prolonged aspect. “we’ve lost our dog...(I’m tidying up the speech on their behalf here, imagine lots of pauses & mumbling if you want)....miss’er ...we’ve lost our dog (they never said miss’er either) ...he’s collar ...mum is looking for him....she cant see him..”
So...yeah? You see the link coming? Delighted to be of some help (after in my head discounting the revenge of withholding the information in retaliation for their earlier perceived meanness) I reassured them that barring a quite big co-incidence I divulged his probable location. The one holding the phone had obviously been keeping in touch with her roving search party during this and she excitedly relayed the news : “oh......mum...I’ve just had an idea.....I just thought....have you looked in the park? He could be there...”

Scheming, acclaim-hogging little cow! “HER” idea!? Brazen too – I clearly heard the whole betrayal. Naturally I was taken aback by her nerve. Some front.
If the mum, on the receiving end, if the call was recorded on her phone, because she’d been on the line the whole time , and if that was analysed minutely, using the most high-tech NASA style sound examination techniques , like they do in the (not the cartoon, which is unimpeachable) iffy Transformers movie & the much better Luther ( current popular reference point reference shoe-horned in, check!) I could prove it too & have Lil’ Miss Smart Arse discredited & broken down in the dock under weight of scientific proof and wailingly admit who the real ‘idea’ stemmed from here !

But i didn’t. I didn't seize the phone & embroil myself in further debate. I smiled, plugged the headphones in and walked away.
It did occur to me that, if your dog goes missing & you live 500 metres from a park – should it really take a complicated pseudo walkie-talkie system, the intervention of a sceptical, hesitant stranger & your (lying, serpentine) daughter to come up with the suggestion that he might have got there??

Anyway, I hope they found him & got him back. But the moral of the tale is, over-ridingly ; whatever you do, you never get the credit!