Thursday, June 15, 2006

A Beautiful Sight!

A bike ride along the lake on a hot summer day. A posse of skater boys slogging up the hill on their boards. I am coasting down with the wind in my hair. I pass 30 or so hot faced fellas skating in a band under the glaring summer sun. That’s a lot of skaters to see in one place. An assault of the senses, they continue to go by. 50 red cheeked dudes, ages 10 to 35, pushing down the trail, their collective wheels roaring loudly. 200 guys with long, hair and dirty jeans, propelling themselves onward on all sorts of boards and wheels. 500 men and boys, with their hair glued to their faces with sweat, skating together.

Ten minutes and over 2 miles later, the skater procession keeps coming. All in all, a parade of nearly a thousand boys on skateboards. All unseeingly unaware of the power in their numbers, most unassuming youth.

It’s a scene from a movie. A seventies movie, its film has faded with time, too much cyan and magenta. Its stars all raw and pure, a mix of innocence and corruption. Salty, sweaty air, the wind and their wheels a loud howl in my ears, the sun searing my skin and broiling my blood. A spectacle to behold! I am giddy with delight. My 14 year old self would have been blushing.

Friday, June 02, 2006

The Lost Sock

When I was transferring my laundry from washing machine to dryer, I discovered that a tiny baby sock accidentally had been washed in my load. It must have been separated from the washer’s previous batch. (I pictured a baby doing his own laundry. Imagine a baby sized washer and dryer! It’s too much to bear.)

I decided I would dry the little sock and leave it on the counter for its owner to claim. My heart melted into a puddle when I felt its thick white cotton in my hand. Imagine teensy toes nestled inside the sock. My ovaries twitched.

When it came time to pull my warm dry clothes from the dryer, I inspected the sock once more. It was so warm and soft and fuzzy and it smelled so clean and fresh. I pictured it laying unclaimed on the soap-sticky laundry room counter. Surely the building supervisor would sweep it into the trash after too long. I couldn’t bear that thought. So I did a very emotional and perhaps inappropriate thing: I kept the sock.

When I got up to my room, I felt happy with my decision. It is unlikely that the owner would have realized that the sock was missing until it was too late. My apartment (albeit babyless) is the best home for this little lost sock. My satisfaction was cemented when I found that it fit perfectly on the paw of Asta, my wire fox terrier stuffed animal with the name “Asta” embroidered on the colorful kerchief around his neck. I’ve always loved to hold onto Asta’s front paw, I derive a lot of comfort in that. Now it is especially warm, soft and squishy when squeezed.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

My Dark Secret

I have a dark secret: I stalk my neighbor’s dog. His name is Toby and he’s a wire fox terrier. The dog, that is, not my neighbor. My neighbor is a nice elderly man named Mark. I know this because when I first introduced myself to Toby, Mark offered his name and address. Mark is married to Anna who is equally warm to strangers such as me.

Toby is a good dog. He has curly white hair with caramel and grey spots and a cute black nose that wriggles and sniffs. He has a little clipped tail nub that wags when he’s petted. He likes to walk on a leash, bark at squirrels, walk over to groups of people to see what all the fuss is about, but mostly he can be found patiently watching his parents as they stop to talk with other neighbors. On the rare occasion when Mark and Anna are taking a walk without him, he likes to sit in their front window and watch them to make sure they're okay. His two front paws will be rested on the windowsill and his little nose will be fogging up the glass. He can barely reach the window. That is my favorite glimpse of Toby and the scene I watch. I've been known to ask my sweetie, Chris, “What goes on in that house?” prompting him to reply, "Toby lives there." Maybe, I do that every single time I pass his house? What's wrong with that?

Mark doesn’t know that I am infatuated with his dog. Sure, I’ll stop him on the street every time I see him. I’ll admit, to get Toby’s attention, I often make high pitched squeals that only a dog can hear. All right, I spy on him out of my 4th floor window and run down the stairs to the street, where I’ll coolly walk by him as if I’m going about my business and just happened upon his company. But Mark doesn’t know all of that.

Of course, I’ve told Mark and Anna, on numerous occasions, that I love wire fox terriers and have loved them ever since I saw the famous movie dog, Asta, in the 30’s screwball comedy, The Thin Man. But they are both aging and do not remember my stories, thus. I’m casual during my encounters; When Mark points to his apartment and tells me to stop by anytime for the name of Toby’s breeder, I crane my neck and ask, “Now, where do you live again?” as if I haven’t figured out this information on my own and pass by his window daily to spy on his pup. To be safe, I'm sure to lament that I’m not allowed to have pets in my apartment. Nor do I have the time to care for a puppy, I'll say sadly, hoping he'll offer to let me come by and play with Toby.

But, Toby knows that I love him. Although he doesn’t think I know he knows. I can see a twinkle in his eye every time I see him. When I walk past him, he nonchalantly sniffs my leg. His tail perks up and his head cocks to the left when I’m within his eyeshot and, on occasion, he’s even looked up to my fourth floor apartment window.

I mean, really, does it count as stalking if the Stalked is also in love with the Stalker??! No offense to sweet Mark and Anna, but Toby and I are meant for one another and we both know it. He just doesn’t know how to say it yet. But he will. Oh, he will.