So, I’m out walking my dog, this morning trying to think up a new song or write some poetry or something, when I see this woman standing next to a circle of chairs. Ordinarily I entertain myself with the irony of tending to the fecal needs of a lower life form and end with a thought something like, “Dogs can’t be that stupid because look at who is cleaning up the poop!” But the circle of chairs in the water drenched grass of the park was pretty compelling because of what could potentially happen if someone sat down in one of those chairs. I mean, the grass is REALLY wet because of the rain last night.
I moved on because, I was walking my dog and because I didn’t want to look like an idiot staring at her and her chairs. As I passed I noticed there was a younger woman with her, hanging something in a nearby tree. Also, there was a little dog. I’m not good with little dogs. They are too frantic and unpredictable. Another reason to keep moving.
Nica, my dog, weighs about 50-60 lbs., making her a medium sized dog. She is basically happy so long as there are things to smell, people to hold and scratch her and regularly provided meals. She’s just a cool mellow dog. When I sit, she sits. If I start moving equipment to the car she helps. If I swat flies she barks and yelps until I get them. I don’t like little dogs and neither does she. It’s not group baggage, just something we have in common.
We continued our walk on past the ladies, the mystery chairs, and the little dog. I had my phone with me and though I thought about calling someone, I opted not to. I started thinking about how I wanted to do more art. Make more art. Write Poetry. Write a song. Do more gigs. I knew that I was on the crest of a really big META-conversational wave but I just let it roll. I just didn’t feel like turning it off. And that was part of the META conversation. I was thinking about how I have been reluctant to create because I don’t like what’s coming out. Recently, I haven’t liked the subject matter that is inspiring me or the quality of my product. I thought to myself, “Actually, that’s kind of been true for me as an artist since I began “Art-ing”.
Nica was pooping for her second time which means that it’s a good walk. She doesn’t feel rushed, she’s relaxed enough to express herself in the manner to which she is accustomed. I was, once again, forced to consider that she and her kind might be the superior life form. I am using MY superior intellect to gather the feces deftly into the pink doggy bag with little white heart shapes that I just bought at the Walgreens, when I noticed 2 African American women in a John Deer mini-tractor collecting trash. It was a beautiful day. The sun was shining. And they were chatting and laughing—and working. I wonder to myself if they are being paid—when we all notice the faint yelling—and yapping.
Now, the park was not crowded, but there were people here and there. People of every walk of life, seriously. That’s the way the park is in Chicago. Everyone uses it. They use it because it is well maintained on the Northside and most other areas, to the best of my knowledge. They mow it, and clean it, prune and landscape it—they being the city government and us as the taxpayers. We all then, make use of the park. With that kind of age, gender, economic and racial diversity it would be a statistical improbability if nothing interesting happened. And today, nothing did. Unless you want to count the fact that this little dog ran up to these ladies cleaning the park and started barking like crazy at them in their John Deer tractor.
I thought to myself, as I reigned Nica in, “I can’t stand small dogs. They are too frantic and yappy.” And of course, typical of small dog owners—the leash is nearby but not, ON THE DOG. The woman jogging past me is Asian. The Big dude ahead of me in the red T-Shirt trying to calm the dog down, is white. The two people walking around Nica and me are Hispanic and elderly. The woman hanging the stuff in the tree is a young blonde. And the person who finally corals the little yappy dog and puts a leash on it is an older white guy who looked like Mark Twain. I am an African American male walking a Pit Bull mix on a leash. There are several species of trees and shrubbery represented in the park—I don’t know about the grass but I know that it has some weeds in it and moss. So, pretty diverse.
As, I thought about what I might write it occurred to me that there were so many ways to take the actual happenings of this peaceful day and make them ugly. You can do that when you tell a story. You can fill it with your own biases and prejudices, or someone else’s for that matter, and spin it into something ugly. You can replace the simple joys of being human with fear and anger. I mean I could have done that if I had wanted. I thought about that on the way home—how will I tell this story and why should I? WWND– What would Nica do?
The guy apologizes too much for the dogs barking. The ladies in the John Deer tractor, understandably, can’t stop smiling and laughing at the little dogs indignance and willingness to protect his loved ones even in the face of a clearly superior foe. They smile and wave, he waves back, the man not the dog. I smile and wave at the ladies in the John Deer mini tractor and the man. The ladies near the circle of chairs wave. I wave back. We all smile. Little dogs are funny. They just are.
I walk past many more people on the way home, smile, say good morning and keep an eye on Nica. She is afraid of little dogs. I protect her from them even though it’s pretty comical. She can, in fact, swallow them whole the way she did that skunk the other night. She is afraid of little dogs. She just is.
I commit to writing something for FB when I get home because I want to free myself to be in the creative space. I plan this story and I plan to leave my biases out of the story. Because really, I don’t know why they don’t put their dog on a leash. On the whole, small dog owners don’t. But I would rather no one knew about my small dog and dog owner bias. It embarrasses me. And I have friends with small dogs.
Some things you should know:
- I’m not perfect—I’m human. The two things are synonymous.
- No one attacked anyone in the living of this story. Every person in this story was in fact smiling at the time of these events.
- The police are in the park all the time. They never bother anyone and were not needed in the living or re-telling of this story.
- I didn’t get to see anyone sit in one of the chairs in the mushy grass and fall on their asses and get soaking wet. I would have found it entertaining if they had done so. I am not ashamed of this.
- Being human is complicated but sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.
It is a really beautiful day outside; the people of the world can be pretty cool—you should go for a walk.