Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The Flaneur That Was

I wish I was writing this when I was wide awake and halfway sober. OK I am sober. The one brandy warm water didn't do much and I didn't feel like a second or third drink although Louis and then Mark urged most pressingly.

Sometimes you just don't feel like drinking. So what can you do?

I went to Backyard for the first time in weeks. So much so that Mark greeted me with:

"You haven't been here for two years? Where have you been? Down South?"

And I replied: "Two years? Now I know you're Indian. If I had doubts before."

(For those not in the know, Indians tend to exaggerate. Everything)

Mark has come up with a new song. His own. Music and lyrics. It was really catchy and he said, "This one's for Jennifer."

I listened and couldn't identify it but liked it anyway and later when he came around he told me. His own song.

All I can say is wow.

So I went there alone because none of my peeps were available and because when no one is available and I want to go, I go anyway. But the Monday night crowd is as familiar as an old blanket that kind of smells of you, you know one part perfume, two parts sweat...

Anyway, I seated myself at one of the "good command of the stage" seats and then saw Louis who was sitting in what was my favourite place in the whole of Backyard. He beckoned for me to come join him so as I said, Backyard on a Monday night. Full of familiar people. Of course some are the familiar people you don't want to see, like the skinny model who has the hots for Mark and shoots me this contemptuous look as she sails off to play pool, her hair falling in perfect waves around her perfect little skinny face.

Mark catches me glancing her way and says: "Yes, she irritates me too."

Although I'm not sure he means it. Probably trying to be nice. After all, I haven't been here for two years, so must be nice to me. Not many people scream, stomp and cheer like I do.

Fans. Can't put a value on them.

So I say, hey, guess what? My days of bumming are over.

And Mark says, really? where?

And I say, The Edge. I start Wednesday.

And he says, OK. Well congratulations. Where is it again?

And I say, opposite the Curve.

And Louis (who is drunk by now, polishing off half a bottle of Chivas Regal) tells me about various people in the bar. He asks about one. Tells me about another. Gets really agitated when some young girls and old men start dancing.

I watch the cliche playing out on Jerry's newly installed wooden dance floor and will myself to just be. Not have any judgements about it. After all, everyone is here to have fun. And people are probably having the same reaction to me sitting with Louis and chatting with him. Married man. I'm chums with his wife. I ask why he didn't bring her. He says she has to wake up early for work. That sort of thing. So we just chat. But someone from the outside looking in could have judgements about it.

And it's been a hectic week. I've had NST chasing me for two stories which sort of divided like amoeba into four. The thing was, two was impossible. Four was simple. And manageable. You know how paradoxical some of these paradoxes are.

Arnold is back with me. I took him back. He had settled in at the shelter (except for a fight which he instigated with one of the younger newcomer dogs, in which he came off worse, much worse) and kennel cough. He was mad at me at first. After all, I had abandoned him. He stayed by the gate for two days and howled. Sabrina ignored him. And then, hungry, tired and heartsick, he went up to her. And she fed him. And little Arnold transferred his affection. When I came, he saw me, jumped up to lick me once, and then went back and stuck close to her.

What did I expect?

I bundled him into the car and he climbed all over me trying to look out of the window. He hadn't wanted to leave the shelter. He didn't trust me anymore.

When we got home, he ran up and jumped on Dadda. I was surprised that the D-man got a much more enthusiastic reception than me. But, whatever. I had stopped along the way to buy him some food - rice and meat. One thing Sabrina said was that no matter what was wrong with him, his appetite was good. Very good. Arnold REALLY loved his food.

Funny how he was always so fussy with us and left half his food or turned up his nose at it, no matter how expensive. This has changed. I filled his bowl with rice and meat and Arnold went for it, with a vengeance. He left the bowl clean.


Sabrina also told me that Arnold was somewhat of a Houdini. He would jump and nudge open the bolts on the gates and let the other dogs out into an area they were not supposed to be. Then he would bark to alert her (she would be doing something inside and he wanted her to come out) and she would come out and herd the dogs back in, wondering how they got out. It happened a few times before she caught on as to who was the culprit. After which she tied him up. And the mysterious gate-openings promptly ceased.

Last night he slept in my room for the first time since he came back last Tuesday. And he coughed and hacked all night and threw up in the morning. So I took him to the vet. Who doled out cough mixture and antibiotics. I wrestled him to the ground and fed him both when we came back. He's stopped coughing so much. And the awful discharge in both his eyes (which has been there since I picked him up) seems to have lessened.

He's mad at me now as I forced some more cough mixture down his throat when I got back from Backyard. There he was tail a-wagging to greet me, and here I was, evil with the yucky syrup and the syringe. A dog's life is full of trial and tribulation.

Like cough mixture.

And horrid little pills.

And being spanked for chasing and pinning down the schnauzer and dragged home in ignominy.

And being abandoned at will.

First one. Then the other. Nothing is sacred anymore. And you can't trust anybody.

After I've clicked publish, I'm going to see if I can coax him back to my room and soothe his storm-tossed spirits.

So yeah. Arnold's back. New job. It's been a busy week.

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