Thursday, March 12, 2009

This should come as no surprise

Silly me, telling you that my next post would be happy. Tut, tut.

Yesterday began simply enough. Todd’s truck was being repaired, so he took the car to work—which always makes me feel trapped. The kid and I woke up later than normal (that was nice!), hung around, played a bit, watched Sesame Street, and then decided it was warm enough to go outside. The sun was beaming, the sky was a glorious shade of blue, and we donned our jackets and stepped onto the porch.

It was a pretty day, but the wind was whipping. We ended up huddled first in the protected sunken driveway, and then on the sunny porch that is somewhat shielded from the buffeting gales. We finally gave up and went inside. The whole time we braved the cold, I was wondering where Todd was. He was supposed to come home for lunch, thus returning the car, and then I would take him back to work after lunch and he’d ride home with a friend who lived near the car-repair shop that had his truck.

He didn’t come. And he didn’t come. And a twinge of worry crept into my tummy. We started to eat a late lunch without him. And finally, I heard the garage door. He was home.

And I knew, as he climbed the steps toward me, that we had become a statistic.

I knew from his face, from the unspoken apology in his expression, from the stiffness of his gait. I knew before he ever said, “You don’t need to take me back to the office.” I knew.

No one yelled or cried. We were amazingly calm, although I realized my hands were shaking as I finished making my sandwich. It’s not as if we’re the first to have this happen, and I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t been half-expecting this for the past year. We kept ourselves slightly perky, to belie our trepidation for our little boy’s sake. Daddy told him he’d need to find another job, because he wasn’t needed at this one anymore. And our attentive boy commented, “So 3 people lost their jobs.” Which means he’s been listening carefully—because yes, last week’s scary announcement at Todd’s job involved a layoff of 2 other folks from a sister company.

We finished lunch in mostly silence, while I tried to distract the kiddo with questions about preschool. I don’t think he was fooled, but he seemed to appreciate the conversation.

Then we all climbed into the car for the long drive to retrieve the truck, a haul even without traffic, and we timed it perfectly to coordinate with end-of-day traffic. To make matters worse, there’d been a misunderstanding between mechanics and while one had told us the truck was finished, in actuality it was not. We paid and loaded ourselves back into both vehicles, knowing all the while that Todd would have to turn around and make the same stupid trip the next day.

As I followed my boys through the streets of that small town, making our way toward the inevitable hell of rush hour around Pittsburgh, we stopped at a red light and I found myself gazing around at various store fronts. One place was an embroidery specialty store (now, honestly, do you see that surviving this economy? What a shame.) The store had a large window with a low, wide ledge, and I noticed motion on the ledge. Awww! There were two adorable pugs, watching the traffic, their funny compressed noses tilted slightly upward as they gazed at passersby. I looked at the light to make certain it had not yet changed to green, and then I glanced back at the storefront.

The dogs were copulating.

Yep, right there, in the window of an embroidery store. So inappropriate. And I guess I shouldn’t assume that the male dog was accomplishing anything—I was not close enough to be sure of his success or lack thereof—but the “under-dog” had resigned herself to the activity and was just trying to outlast the event. She looked distracted and weary. She knew there was no use fighting or trying to escape; she was just waiting until it was over. When the light changed to green, I pulled away, leaving the dogs to their scandalous window activities, and the thought that was foremost in my mind was this: I guess everybody gets theirs at one point or another.

The moral of the story? Sometimes you’re “top dog” (not to be facetious), and sometimes you’re the other dog.

3 comments:

chris h. said...

Oh, Mel. What a story. Your unfortunate sighting couldn't have been more timely -- or fitting. (Big sigh.)

Mel said...

Yeah, it seemed almost as if it had been staged, it was so utterly perfect for capturing that moment.

Hope they were fixed. ; )

Joyce's Art Stores said...

Hi Mel: Your comment on my blog has brought me back to yours and your DELIGHTFUL writing style! You should be making money with this wonderful talent you have!!! Everything is well written, down to earth, and highly entertaining. I could see your work in a newspaper or magazine as a regular column. I'd be a fan!