Tuesday, June 10, 2008

My Sacraficial Lamb Barks

Dot is the greatest dog I could ask for. She's funny - but that is really her only redeeming attribute. She makes me laugh.

Which is her saving grace, because she causes me so much grief pretty much on a daily basis.

Here she is sitting in her favorite chair, earlier this evening. Moping. Seriously moping. And possibly dieing. All because she drank the nectar of the gods.

My neighbor across the street is a tiny, elderly Asian woman. I have lived here for three years and have never once, not one time, had a successful conversation with this little person. She is nice enough - she'll give me the occasional wave or nod - but she isn't very social and doesn't speak much English, so long ago I resigned myself to the smiling and nodding. She does a lot of work out in her yard, which I suspect is meditative for her because she rarely looks up. She can spend - literally - three and four hours at a time squatting down and slowly pulling weeds from her grass by hand. It's a thigh-busting squat that she can maintain for hours.

My mom was visiting once and she went outside to get something out of her car after dark, and came back inside totally amazed because she had been startled by the little woman across the street hunched down pulling weeds in the dark. You've got to know my fun-loving mom to appreciate the humor here, but after yelling out "Whoa!" when she was startled, she shouted out "Wow, how can you see what you're doing?" and of course didn't get an answer, which made it all the funnier.

But I like my elderly, tiny, 4-foot Asian neighbor, whose name, I believe, is Li. She's peaceful. And calm. And she keeps a nice, tidy yard. She's one of the characters that adds to the crazy quilt fabric of my neighborhood, and I like it that way.

Best of all, she has this big, old stump in her yard that she uses alter. She leaves all sorts of things on the alter, but it always includes something to eat and drink. Sometimes there are other things - like figurines, or coins, or little pieces of paper with things written on them. I love her alter and I spend lots of time wondering to whom she is offering her gifts. What are her thoughts, or prayers, as she leaves these things. I love the connection she has with nature, so I usually pretend that this might be a fung shui practice, or an act of gratitude, for the gifts of the natural world.

Dot and I have walked by this alter every day for three years.

But this evening we're walking by, and Dot decides it's time for her to go. She usually doesn't go on this lawn so I'm a little surprised given what a creature of habit Dot is. As I'm bending down to pick up after her, I'm not paying any attention to where Dot is going, other than I know she is pulling on her extend-a-leash. I get everything cleaned up, look up, and was mortified to see that I had let Dot pull her leash out so long that she was EATING EVERYTHING ON THE ALTER.

I dropped the poop bag and, for some reason, decided to scold Dot using a stage whisper! What was that? Why didn't I just tell her "no!", in my normal voice? I guess I felt like Dot was desecrating something sacred and I shouldn't shout out in church, so instead I'm in the wide-open outdoors whispering "NO! DOT, NO! DROP IT! PUT THOSE CHOP STICKS DOWN! STOP! GET THAT SAKI CUP OUT OF YOUR MOUTH!". Well of course, Dot totally destroyed the whole thing. Knocked every item off of the tree stump and drank and ate whatever food was in the little dishes. You have to know Dot - she didn't care one bit that I was throwing a fit - she was having a great time!

I still don't know why I was so paralyzed, but I didn't know what to do. I felt like such an idiot standing there, but I was really embarrassed and the whole thing just felt WRONG. Like my child had tagged the outside of the First Baptist Church with purple spray paint. Your dog can't just go busting up into someone's alter and eat all their stuff! That isn't right!

I felt weird touching everything, trying to put it all back. That felt so...personal. So I decided I needed to say a little prayer that went something like, "God, please apologize to whoever is supposed to get this!"

And then the absurdity of it all hit me and I started to laugh. Uncontrollably. Which looked even more strange. I didn't want little, elderly Li to think that hoodlums had been messing with her Chi, so I felt the need to tell her what had happened. Tell her as best I could given that we don't understand each other and haven't had a real conversation in three years.

But she didn't answer her door. Her car was there, but she didn't answer. Maybe she wasn't home, or maybe she was watching me out of a window. I don't know. Instead of letting it go, I felt the need to go home and write a little note that said, "I'm sorry my dog disturbed your offerings". I left the little note on the tree stump under the tiny gold Buddha.

To make matters worse, Dot started acting sick about 30 minutes later. She threw up twice. I started to get really worried about whatever it was she ate and drank. As Dot moped around, I called the Vet and felt the need to EXPLAIN THE WHOLE LUDICROUS TALE. The Vet was sort of silent - probably overwhelmed by my over-the-top drama more than anything else - but he basically said to watch her for another hour and if she didn't seem to perk up to bring her in. He suspected that she might have eaten raw rice or maybe alcohol (Saki?), which didn't sit well on her stomach.

Sure enough, Dot wasn't down for the count for long, so I think the gods forgave her and spared her life. I should have taken a picture of the little alter, but going back with my camera would have been more than I could deal with.

I'm hoping that on our walk tomorrow Dot will tear up one of the bunches of fake flowers from the garden that my other neighbor "planted" over the weekend, or that perhaps she'll pull a pair of the ENORMOUS granny panties off of the clothes line of the lady down the street.



  • At 6/12/2008 , Blogger Emig Family said...

    I love Dot. She's a cartoon character who has come to life. She really should have her own line of cosmetics or something similarly Diva-esque. Give her a gentle pat on her curly head for me (since she'd snarl and nip if I tried to do it myself.)


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