b Papa Dog's Blog: Things I Done Bin Readin

Papa Dog's Blog

A Thing Wherein I Infrequently Write Some Stuff

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Things I Done Bin Readin

It’s been an extremely slow couple of days at work, so much so that I’m finally making headway again in the stack of antediluvian newspapers. As I’d hoped, I’ve made it into September. If I remember correctly, I’ve finished up to September 3rd, in the midst of the Conference of Villains in NYC. That Zell Miller was apparently quite a firecracker. Some kind of cracker, anyway.

I also finished Skeletons on the Zahara a while back and have started in on Dubliners, by James Joyce. I picked this up out of a “Free” box in front of someone’s house during a dog walk, mostly because I’d always meant to read “The Dead,” but never had. In fact, I’d read next to no Joyce in my life, just a few scattered passages from Ulysses and one short story, “Araby” – which happens to be one of the Dubliners – which I read when I wasn’t going to college. “Araby” appears fairly early in the volume, and it was kind of a treat to re-read it for the first time since I was 18. I was surprised to find how well I recalled it, though I suppose it’s really the ending that I remembered most. If you don’t know it, it’s a story about a young boy befuddled by adolescent romanticism who moons hopelessly after the neighbour girl that he doesn’t really know. I was struck on this re-reading by one exquisitely perfect line that comes fairly early on: “I had never spoken to her, except for a few casual words, and yet her name was like a summons to all my foolish blood.” There you have pretty much the whole story in one sentence. Every little bit of self-deluding childish yearning that the story tenderly illustrates is distilled in those couple of dozen simple words. He was pretty good, that Joyce. They should teach him in schools or something.

The best thing about working for a living, I’ve decided – other than perhaps the paltry but twice monthly remuneration – is the look on Baby Dog’s face when she sees me enter the room, gawping at her and crying out, “Daddy’s home!” She always breaks into a big grin and wriggles with delight. Tonight was a bit of a gyp in that regard – she was down for a nap when I came home. It meant we were able to eat dinner a little more peacefully – lovely chicken, thank you Mama Dog – but I missed my big greeting. As it happened, I was the one who went to her when she woke, so I sort of got a make-up greeting there, but she was too sleepy and grumpy (and Doc) to register that I’d been away, let alone that I had returned, so it wasn’t really the same. I guess I can wait for a proper greeting next Monday night. That’ll be the next opportunity because today is my Friday, and a five-day weekend commences tomorrow. Gran is visiting again, so I expect to be left to my own devices a lot for the next few days. I have no plans in particular. There will be story time. Tummies will be tickled. Diapers will be changed. Baby Dog will vanish behind a napkin and then miraculously reappear with the flick of a wrist. Other than that, you got me.


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