(I'm on vacation, but it's summer. Repeat time! Please enjoy me digging out this old, tired post from back in November.)
Last night I got home from work right around the same time Marvin did, and again I'd like to point out the part where Marvin is an elementary school teacher. Why is he coming home at 6:00? Is there a second shift at school that I do not know about?
At any rate, I was being greeted by Tallulah in her usual indifferent way. It is hard to adjust to dog greetings after a lifetime of coming home to cats and being greeted by this:
Francis: Big Hair home. Maybe she feed us. Winston: Who?
And yes, I do understand that Francis weighs 782 pounds. And that he is trying to wedge Winnie into the wall so he can grow wider. Don't even ask about the orange extension cord. It was a Marvin project thing.
If you don't have a dog, let me try to describe the greeting process. Remember in Gone With the Wind, when Ashley was missing in the Civil War, and the best they could hope for was that he was a prisoner somewhere? The war ended, and Scarlett and Melanie, who had so little themselves, spent all day feeding and bathing the soldiers who were trudging back, to see what was left of their own war-torn homes. One weary day, they saw another soldier coming up the road. Scarlett complained that there'd be another mouth to feed that night, but Melanie clutched her throat. She stepped forward, even more pale than that anemic namby-pamby mousy thing usually was. I never did identify with Melanie.
Suddenly she DROPPED her mending. She jumped down the steps. She ran, ran as fast as her skinny, so-needing-Jergens-tanning-lotion legs could carry her, because she knew that down that road, it was Ashley! Ashley! Home from the war at last! He was safe! He was alive! Her Ashley! She ran all the way, THREW herself into Ashley's arms, not even able to believe she was seeing him again.
That is pretty much how Tallulah feels every day when I get home.
It was in this state of rapture that Marvin found Tallulah and me last night. "We are just going out for a walk," I said. "Come with us."
I know I have mentioned before that Marvin is no speed demon about leaving the house when you want him to. First, he had to change his shoes. Who is he, Mr. Rogers? Then he had to take off his tie. Then he had to drink some water and write a personal letter to Vladimir Putin and sew a few patches on the Amish quilt he's been working on. You can imagine Tallulah, who is only 11 months old, was getting a little twitter patted. She already had her leash on, and she was doing that annoying jump up and try to walk herself thing with the leash, and when you try to take it away from her she thinks you're playing tug-of-war. Girlfriend was keyed up.
As for me, I still had on all my work clothes including my heels:
Do you enjoy my art shot of the heels?
I took Tallulah outside to wait for Marvin and when he finally got outside, he said, "Let's get her harness, because it is important that I take 45 MORE years to get going on this walk." He headed inside, and Lula was prancing around like a stallion, smiling and biting her stupid leash and generally driving me berserk. I tried to wrestle the leash from her, and somehow?
I dropped it. I dropped her leash.
There was one split second where both she and I both said "Gasp!" and we looked right at each other in wide-eyed shock. That is right before I saw the back of her blond arse turn to dust as she screamed down the road.
I have always worried about what would happen if I ever somehow lost grip on the leash. She is the fastest runner at the dog park, and she is kind of shrimpy, so it's sort of impressive. I like that she runs fast, when she's all safe in a fenced-in area. Now she was loose in our neighborhood, and I had these towering wedge heels on.
In obedience school, they taught us to call them excitedly, that maybe they'd come back thinking we had something good.
Tallulah! I called, in a voice I hoped sounded like I was a hot large Lab male, with dangling steak earrings.
Puleeze. She did not even tell me to tell it to the paw. All I could tell was that she was running through everyone's back yard, because one after one, all the neighbor dogs would commence to barking. WOOF!woof woof woof. Then the next yard BARrararararar!
I started off down the road in those ridiculous heels, running like Mariah Carey. "Tallulah! Come here Tallulah!" I kept trying to sound chipper, like they told me in obedience school. I was trying not to sound hysterical. Finally, Vladimir Putin's best pal showed up. "I've lost Tallulah! The leash slipped out of my hand!"
"&*($%%*!" said Marvin. "How the @&#&#$ did that happen? $&#&**(!"
He started running in the neighbor's back yards, yelling for the dog. Suddenly, Lula tore into someone's front yard, and Marvin LEAPED into the air after her, like Joe Namath, because Joe Namath is the only football player I know of other than that Refrigerator person, and because the only football player Marvin can name is similarly Joe Namath, he also missed Tallulah and came crashing onto the neighbor's lawn.
"&*($$^$#!" said Marvin. "I ^***&^$$ had her!"
At this point, Marvin's hysteria made me get my mother's calm, you-are-insane-and-I-know-it therapist voice. "Honey," I said soothingly, "I wonder if you could not curse on the neighbor's lawn."
The next 20 minutes were spent with us following the sound of that dog's tags tingling through back yards, because it was black as pitch out and we couldn't see a thing. We split up at one point, and as I stood teetering in my heels, I saw a poor cat in a yard, and I said, "It's okay, kitty. I know a dog is loose, but I promise it likes cats." The cat came right over to me, and IT WAS WINSTON! He had been following us the whole time! He was looking for Tallulah, you could tell! He was looking toward the sound of the tags. I adore that cat, I always have, but I have never loved him more than I did last night. I scooped him up and teetered home with him. I knew I couldn't catch that dog.
I sat on the front porch with Winnie for a while, and at this point had decided we were going to lose Tallulah. She was going to get hit by a car, for sure. I was never going to want a dog again, and I was already trying to think of how to convince Marvin that I meant it. This was too awful.
Then I heard those tags tinging.
There she was, gallumping like a beat mule, her leash soaking wet and dragging behind her. Not to be obsessed with Gone With the Wind, but she looked a lot like that poor exhausted horse Rhett got the night Atlanta burned.
She sauntered right to our door, panting and smiling. I grabbed her up just like Melanie did and oh, I wanted to scream and yell at her, but at obedience school they said we have to make sure they're glad they came home. I took her stupid leash and wrapped it around my hand 950 times, and went to find Marvin. There he was, half a block away, and he had like 12,000 neighbors behind him. It looked like that scene in Frankenstein where the townspeople all come out with torches and pitchforks. Or a Verizon network commercial, where you're on your cell phone and all those people are behind you.
All the people whose back yards Tallulah and Marvin had run through had come out to help. They had flashlights and dog treats. I said, "Here she is!" and some kid ran up and hugged her. No one could believe she just came home on her own, with her jerky self.
I sorry. Kind of.
This is why I have a new invention. It is the dog magnet. You put a powerful magnet on your dog's collar, and then you have a giant horseshoe magnet at home. When your dog does this, and scares the PEE out of you, all you have to do is go get the horseshoe, point it outside, and your dog is SUCKED UP onto the magnet.
It beats the Lean Cuisine Vending Machine all to crap, doesn't it?