Losing the ability to talk to other people….

So I took Anu down to the 2nd floor terrace of our condo for his afternoon constitutional.  A few weeks ago we had a mortifying incident where he escaped from me and proceeded to go bonkers over a kid with a small bicycle who was fooling around on the terrace.  Not at the kid, at the bike.  But it went on forever – even after the kid dropped it Anu kept circling the bike and barking at it like he suspected it of being a particularly malevolent, sentient-type bike that was just.about.to.display its true colours – y’know, like picking itself back off the ground and attacking me, the kid, and Lior … very proactive of him, really.

I couldn’t get him to stop barking and come back to me no matter what - and I am not exaggerating when I say I think ten minutes went by with me hugging the kid’s shoulders (he was terrified, poor thing) while trying to say sternly and authoritatively – “Anu, no.  Stop.  Down.  Sit.  Come.  Leave it.  Go play.  Stop.  Down….”

I know it was a long time because in the end we were rescued by a woman who lived on the THIRD floor, heard the ruckus, looked out, and correctly interpreted we needed help.  The second she walked out Anu abandoned the bicycle and ran up to her, tail wagging.  Very careless of him.  I swear the bicycle wheel had just started to turn on its own and there he goes, turning his back on it ….

Anyway, the incident was both embarrassing and incredibly frustrating, and is always at the forefront of my mind when we go out to … promenade (my husband and I are always coming up with new euphemisms because Anu keeps learning the old ones and our painfully casual conversations when he gets home from work about whether or not Anu has “had an adventure in the wilds today?” prompt an excited, deafening round of barks).  So today it was the first thing I thought of as I snapped on the lead and Anu excitedly twirled around Lior and I on his way to the elevator.

[Now let me just back up a bit and say that just this morning I was thinking about the fact that I’m doing DARN GOOD at this at-home-mama thing.  I’m out and about and I haven’t once screeched at at my husband for having NO IDEA how hard I work at home.  I think I’m still interesting and engaged in the world, at least a little.  All those things people say about women who go out in public with spit up on their shirts and can't stop themselves from cutting up other people's food into bite-sized pieces ... lies, all lies.  I have got this shit DOWN!  Y'know what they say about pride, right?  Yeah.  I was pretty proud of me until about an hour ago.]

So today we head out to the terrace and I see two young boys who appear to be having a wrestling match on the opposite end of the green.  I look down at Anu, who looks a little too interested in joining in as the referee of said match, and tell him, “Nope, sorry pal, you’ll have to stay on your lead for now.”

We start walking around the opposite side of the terrace.  Anu keeps dropping his ball in my path and cocking his head at me like “Hey, this is how we play, remember?  What’s your deal, lady?”

“Nope, you’re staying on lead.  There are kids on this terrace.  And you know kids,” I continue, conversationally, feeling lighthearted and witty – “It’s all fun and games, and then out of nowhere, one of them pulls out a bicycle.”

Anu shakes his head, looking very unimpressed by this absurd thought, and goes to “waltz” with some flowers.

At this point another woman comes bounding (literally, bounding) out the door of the terrace with her dog, who is off leash.

Now for the non-dog owners out there, having your dog ON a leash in a leash-free area means that your dog is NOT good with other dogs, to the point that it may be dangerous.  The woman, observing Anu’s state of captivity (or rather, the nearly taut length of leash disappearing into the bushes where Anu is still “interacting naturally”) immediately leaps to the conclusion that Anu is one of those unfriendly dogs and says “Oh, sorry,” and reaches for her dog to put him back onto the lead she has in her hand.

“Oh no,” I hasten to reassure her.  “No, it’s fine.  He’s fine.  I just … I thought there was a bicycle.”

The woman looks at me quizzically and then looks towards the other end of the terrace, where the boys now appear to be engaged in a cartwheeling contest.  Not a bicycle wheel in sight.  Her face, when she turns back to me, is both kind and concerned.  The sort of look I’d expect to give someone I run into at the mall who is dressed in slippers and a bathrobe.

“No, I just thought … You know, that there might be a bicycle.  Someday.  Soon.  Or maybe hidden, but – there could always be a bicycle, right?”  My voice gets a little high at the end, and I can feel desperation creeping in.  Anu got it.  Anu knew what I was talking about, and yet even he’s no help, sitting there, looking polite and friendly and not at all like a psychotic dog who suspects that all small objects with wheels harbor capabilities for acts of mass destruction, which is kept in check only by furious non-stop barking, by Him, Anu, mankind’s only protection from the evil bicycles.

She gives me a rather tense smile, then calls her dog.  “Sammy.  Sammy!”  Then again, urgently – “SAMMY!  HERE!  NOW!”

She snaps the leash back on and heads back off the terrace without looking back. 

I *barely* suppress the urge to say “Was it something I said?”


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