Up until a few days ago, we were puppy-sitting my younger son’s crazy little dog – Wolfie Junior. OK, sorry Sylvia, he’s not crazy per se; he’s just really busy and needy and he bites feet and faces and eats paper and slippers and everything he shouldn’t, but from what I’ve heard is pretty normal for dogs, but which also (according to Charles) is MY fault. He’s not like that at home apparently.
Now, you have to understand, I am not used to dogs – having to constantly tell them to leave these things alone and to STOP sticking their nose in my underwear. Jesus, cats don’t need the reminder. Nor am I used to letting animals suffer needlessly in crates if I can help it. And this dog does NOT like his crate. So like the softy that I am, I’ve just been either staying home with him, or making my daughter or other son or husband do the same, or taking him everywhere I go. Yeah, he’s being totally spoiled.
Anyway yesterday, I had to go with my daughter to the bank to pick up a form that she needed for work. She wasn’t sure what to ask for, so I agreed to go with her. Of course, having the dog complicated things.
In no uncertain terms, she said, “You ARE coming IN with me. I’m NOT interested in looking like an IDIOT because I don’t know what I’m talking about.” Young people and their pride – sheesh.
“OK, so this is what we are gonna do,” I replied, feeling a little like I was about to embark on special ops assignment. (I feel like that a lot when I’m with my daughter.) “Now, since everyone else is busy, Wolfie Junior is going to have to come with us. So I will take him for a long walk before we go. Hopefully, he will poop and pee along the way. Then I’ll come back and we’ll immediately go over to the mall. You’ll need to be ready. This will be an extremely time sensitive thing. When we get there, we’ll leave the dog in the car just long enough for me to come into the bank with you and explain to the teller what you need. Then I’ll run back out and wait in the car with Wolfie Junior while you get it. He should be OK for those three minutes. Unless there is a long line, and then…oh god…”
“Wolfie will be fine, mom,” my daughter cut me off. She does not possess my excessive mothering tendencies – yet.
Big deal, you say. You were not about to do something particularly challenging. Dogs go with their owners (or grand-owners) to different places all the time. They can just sit in the car for a few minutes and wait if someone has to go in somewhere. It should be absolutely no problem. Wrong. Not with THIS dog.
1. I had to go into the bank – I couldn’t talk to the teller through the glass obviously. And no, I couldn’t just relay the details to my daughter and have her explain it. I couldn’t even write down what she needed and have her give the note to the bank person. NO. I HAD TO COME IN. THERE WOULD BE NO ALTERNATIVE. My daughter can be difficult that way, and as much as I didn’t want to upset the dog, I didn’t want to upset her even more. Heaven knows, I love my daughter to death, but that “sugar and spice and everything nice” poem wasn’t written about her. If you’ve been reading this blog long enough, you’d know that. Tess’ tenacity, her demandingness, her spunk, moxity, and doggedness will serve her well in other areas of life, I tell myself. It just won’t help when she has to go into the bank to ask for a particular (and to her, unknown and relatively confounding) form.
2. I had Wolfie Junior – the dog whose bladder and bowels involuntarily evacuate the moment he gets upset or even marginally scared or nervous, like when he’s already freaked out that his parents have left him for ten days, or when someone might try to leave him alone and go say, into the bank, or both. Clearly, we don’t vacuum at our house when he is around.
3. I had my neurotic husband to think about as well. See, he has this thing about cars – like when it comes to them, he thinks you must be able to lick off the floor otherwise he will shun you, saying that you drive a “piece of shit trash can, how could you let this GD thing get so dirty, it’s really quite deplorable”. So if an animal – any animal, even a cute little white puppy – were to desecrate the interior of one of our vehicles by any means, you can imagine the reproach. Like I need more of that.
Wow, what a family, you say. Why do you all have to make life WAY more difficult than it needs to be? It’s a condition. We can’t help it. It’s like psoriasis – worse when stress levels are high (which they always are), and not a damn thing a person can do about it, unless you move to a warm climate and give up milk products and all other pleasurable food items, example chocolate. Not.
OK, what happened next? you ask. Sure, now you want to know.
Well, we followed the plan as outlined. I took the dog for a long walk. He pooped and peed. We then went to the bank. I went in with my daughter – leaving the dog in the car. The line wasn’t long – thank goodness. I asked the teller for the form. I then ran back to the car, and my daughter waited for it. To my great pleasure, the dog hadn’t shat anywhere. He also hadn’t gotten stuck between the windshield and the dashboard trying desperately to follow us. He hadn’t hung himself on the steering wheel – not sure how he would have done that, but he didn’t. He was alive and well, and the car was clean.
Exhaling a big sigh of relief, I settled into the driver’s seat – Wolfie Junior on my lap – and waited. I even put on Kanye West’s All Falls Down to soothe us both. A few minutes went by and Tess still had not come out of the bank. Another five minutes passed, at which point, I began to worry. No surprise there, you say.
It was then that the wildly-exaggerated ideas came pouring into my head. I imagined that my daughter – my one and only daughter – had had some kind of medical emergency inside the bank like a heart attack, though she’s really too young for something like that, but maybe the stress of her hard-drive recently smashing to the ground had done it. Or maybe, she’d had a seizure – oh wait, she doesn’t have those. Or maybe, she’d fallen while walking from the counter to the door – slim chance, I know, but maybe someone had spilled some water on the floor there. Or maybe, in the time it took for me to get from the bank to the car – like ten seconds – a robber had come in and was holding a knife to her throat, because sometimes, she can be kind of lippy, and after he’d demanded everyone’s money and she told him to go fuck himself, he would’ve been pissed.
Yeah, I know – I have a squirrel’s brain.
Trying to keep my cool, I figured I’d take the dog for a short walk outside at the mall. I did that, and then came back to the car where I gave the poor little sweetheart some water – from his little portable doggy water bottle – because he was probably thirsty from so much physical expenditure and strain. I also gave him a dog treat that he later threw up at home.
Note to Charles and Sylvia: Wolfie Junior doesn’t do well with peanut butter doggy cupcakes even though the lady at the pet store said that most dogs LOVE them.
And I waited. Twenty minutes, and Tess still hadn’t come out of the bank. And yes, I’d texted her and called her numerous times already. No answer. As if you think I wouldn’t have done that.
The death and mayhem images were getting worse.
I thought maybe the robber had decided to take her hostage – like grabbed her out of line because (even though she’s lippy) she’s also pretty, thinking he could get some good money for her – after which, the balaclava-wearing assailant would drag her roughly through the back door of the bank yelling, “Everybody, get outta my way or I’ll slice this chick’s heart out!” I imagined him putting a sack over her head and jamming her into the trunk of some pseudo-police car (because wouldn’t it be smart for a bad guy to try to pretend to be a cop so people would be less likely to infer any kind of suspicious activity), then quickly realizing the magnitude of hellfire that my daughter can unleash when she sets her mind to it (and even when she doesn’t), the robber finally throwing her to the ground and speeding away, all disgruntled, bruised, and scratched up.
Funny, it was at that very moment of rumination that my daughter came sauntering out of the bank. She was still alive. Mixed feelings of “thank god, she’s OK, we’ll still be able to go shopping together” with “what the hell was she doing, probably something completely unnecessary” filled my head. As she got into the car – the puppy attacking her face like he does to everyone upon greeting – I said, “So what happened? What took you so long?”
“Stupid bank people. After you asked the guy to give me the form, he had to look into my account, which he found was apparently still a ‘junior’ account, which apparently had to be changed to an ‘adult’ account, which apparently meant that I had to go see some lady in the back. And you know what happens when you get sent to ‘the back’ of the bank – it takes fucking forever. It was like ‘blah blah blah, you need an adult savings account, blah blah blah, we’ll take $50 out a month and put it aside somewhere else, blah blah blah, you should be rich by the end of the year.'”
“Well, that’s great news,” I laughed sarcastically, slightly hopeful. As you can gather, my daughter doesn’t always listen to the details of things. Alternatively, if indeed, she ends up rich by the end of the year – and with my family, crazier things have happened – then I won’t need to buy her ridiculously expensive hair products anymore. She can buy them herself, and stop giving me the excuse that “black girls just need things like that”. One can only hope.
And if you liked that, you might also like this: