I spent a few days at my daughter’s home last week house/dog/cat sitting while she was out of town, which meant I had the company of her dog when I went on my walks. Billy, a blond, four pound scruffy little fellow, is a terrific walking companion. For such a little tyke he can really keep up the pace, which is saying something because I do not stroll.
“I can’t take it anymore! You NEVER listen to me!”
These words reach our ears as we approach a T in the road. To our left a couple appears: tall, stoop-shouldered male, late 30s, right foot in a walking cast, and a short female, a little younger than the man, body shaped like a keg, cigarette in one hand, plastic cup in the other. The road dead-ends to the left so we have to turn right, requiring Billy and I to pass in front of the approaching couple so we can get to the other side of the road. I start to say Good Morning, but my words are cut off by the Keg On Legs.
I realize these are barrels and not kegs, but the shape of the barrel is what I need you to see to get the proper visual. Besides, Keg On Legs sounds better than Barrel on Legs.
The hollerer would be the 110 liter one.
No metal strapping, only a wide leather belt around the middle.
“You never listen to me!! Never!! How many times do I have to tell you that I need to get out of that place? Really! How many times do I have to tell you??!!”
Six more apparently, because that's how many more times she claims he doesn't listen or care that she's living where she's living. (For his sake I sooooo hoped it wasn't under the same roof as him, but I feared that was the case). The man says nothing, just keeps plodding along, eyes focused on the pavement. Billy's reaction to her angry words is run around to my other side, the furthest from her, and become one with my ankle. The four of us are now parallel, on opposite sides of the street. I pick up the pace, forcing Billy into a doggie trot, not wanting to be an aural witness to what sounds like an escalating one-sided argument.
Now. Here I must say something I have said before: Never have I, nor will I ever, understand the person who makes public something that should be private, or that they should WANT to keep private. The whole air-my-dirty-laundry thing. I get how being in the “heat of the moment” with tempers spiking and emotions on high boil can be difficult to abruptly stop---if you're of the age where you chase friends on the playground during recess---but people old enough to pay taxes should have more control over when and where they have their fits. I get embarrassed for the person who goes off like this woman was, as well as for the person who's getting the lashing, of course, but especially for the eruptive one because they're demonstrating to all the world what a profoundly thoughtless, idiotic human they can be.
Four houses beyond them I could still hear her. Still the same rant with an added "What I wouldn't give for a drink right now!!"
My thought was, You?? Isn't HE the one who must be needing a drink? And I wondered if frustration hadn't led him to kicking a wall, resulting in a broken foot.
So Billy and I finally escape the tirade, cross the street to the high school and its lovely, freshly mowed lawn. He explores all the scents dogs are privy to, chases an ambling bumblebee, barks at the enormous sign with the school mascot emblazoned on it. We're moving along at an easy pace, enjoying the coolish air, clear sky and blessed stillness. Several minutes later we turn to go back home and I freeze. The Keg and her beleaguered companion are crossing the road, coming right at us. There's no escape route, or escaping her haranguing. The script hasn't changed but her volume has upped because the man is lagging far behind and she wants to be sure he doesn't miss a word.
I snatch up Billy and jog back to my daughter's house. He looks as relieved as I feel when we reach safety behind locked doors. As he laps up water, I say to him,
"All that complaining about him not listening to her and that's all he did because she gave him no choice!"
Billy looks up at me with a watery doggie smile then races across the room to joyously attack a squeaky toy. The chubbiest one in his arsenal of squeaky toys.
I wondered if he imagined the toy to be Keg Woman and himself her down-trodden companion and what he'd like to do to her if he could just clamp his jaws around her.