Welcome me back from our maiden trip to the dog park, where no one has a name except the dogs.
As I said a few weeks ago, I'm still using training wheels in the dog owner scene. Today was no exception. After hauling Shack around town for an hour, I thought I'd reward him by taking him to the dog park up the hill. He hasn't been able to go yet, because he didn't have all of his shots. Now he has all of his shots, though he is still not "fixed," which, I found out today, is something that is mentioned casually in the dog owner scene as an explanation for dog personality quirks.
You may not learn people's names in the dog park, but you'll learn all about their dogs, how they deal with their dogs, the dogs' tendancies around other dogs, and exhaustive deconstructions of dog behavior. And everyone knows everyone else's dog's name.
Faced with no other options, I faked it. I reminded myself to ask the name and age of each dog, to at least appear to be listening to all the stories -- made doubly hard by the fact that it was cloudy at the time, offering me no sunglass-generated eye ambiguity. And since I recently learned that, 6 inches tall or not, Shack should not be jumping up on other dogs, I offered up a seemingly perturbed "Shack! Down!" each time he jumped.
But really, who cares if he jumps? He's 6 inches tall. The other dogs don't seem to care at all. I guess the Jawa and I will find out tomorrow when we begin "puppy class."
Sandra Bullock will not be there. I just packed her into the Volvo for her weekend spa trip with her wacky and creative friend Carrie Bradshaw. Many years ago in Seattle, Sandra Bullock was actually Carrie Bradshaw's boss. Now she is our good friend, sometime stand-in babysitter and the sole remaining single woman in our social circle. Each year they go on this spa trip to Calistoga.
To prepare for her trip, S. Bullock raided my CDs of every title recorded between 8 and 10 years ago, plus "ABBA's Greatest Hits." Then she went down to the cheese store and bought some creepy-looking slimy stuff that I would never eat, happily telling the girl behind the counter that "It's not for 'you guys,' it's for me!" She came back, threw the cheese into her "bistro basket" (looked just like a picnic basket to me, but such is the wondrous and sometimes unintelligible Sandra Bullock vocabulary) and drove away, smiling ear-to-ear.
She'd had a rough week.
This leaves the Jawa and me together for the weekend, with a piggyback appearance by the Shaman for a Saturday sleepover. Cue the commercial for Polaroid cameras where the father and son are rolling around in Autumn leaves, riding bikes and then playing catch. Or at least buying a new pair of Vans on Haight Street, riding BART and going to Berkeley to see the Lawrence Hall of Science's new installation, "Grossology." Parenthood, I continue to argue, not being the same for everyone.
One scene you will not see this weekend is the one where the father and son team up to create some wonderful dish for dinner. Imagining the Jawa and I in aprons, happily sauteeing something atop Sandra Bullock's prized Viking range can bring only shocked outrage and/or barely tolerant eye-rolling to those who know us well. Imagine instead the father and son sitting at a picnic table outside WhizBurger, or emerging long enough from the 24th Street BART station to grab a burrito somewhere. That would be a much more accurate picture.
Shack is completely comatose following his dog park debut. His legs are twitching, though. Even in his sleep, he's still running. When we arrived at the dog park today, he was so excited that he peed on himself twice. I think, though, he was only the second-most excited being I've come in contact with today.
The most excited person I talked to today should be crossing north on the Golden Gate Bridge with her friend Carrie Bradshaw right...about...now.