b Papa Dog's Blog: Slow Motion Day

Papa Dog's Blog

A Thing Wherein I Infrequently Write Some Stuff

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Slow Motion Day

I was tardy leaving the house today and just got tardier as I went along. I had decided to take a CD along with me to work now that I’m able to make use of such things. I grabbed one off the stereo, an album I like but feel like I haven’t fully saturated myself with yet, and was briefly puzzled to find the case empty. I made myself late right then, standing by the door and pondering the mystery. Finally, I realised that I had put the disc in the car stereo when we went down to Saint Babs for Ho Ho, and apparently it had been there ever since. I made myself a little later fumbling around in the trunk of the car for the CD thing, transferring it to the jewel box, and getting the box into my case. So I was late. At least I’d have something to use to drown out the voice of anybody at work who wanted to redundantly point that out to me.

The wet weather had left the BART system running behind, too. The San Francisco train arrived at Rockridge five minutes behind schedule, with no hope of making up lost time. Trains were stacked ahead all the way to the Bay and across, and the farther we went the longer it seemed to take. The train operator kept apologising over the intercom, which I suppose might have been a solace to some commuters, but it was just an annoyance to me. Every time he came on to say he was sorry for the delay and to thank me for my patience, I’d lose my place in my book and have to start all over again.

(A digression while we wait for the train to move along: I’m simultaneously enjoying and being annoyed by the book, because while the subject matter and the era depicted are of great interest to me, the author employs a narrative device that never fails to disappoint. Supposedly, the story is being spoken into a Dictaphone by Roscoe Arbuckle in the last days of his life. I always think that if you’re going to write a novel that is supposedly a transcription of a spoken record, you should try to make it sound at least a little bit like something somebody might say out loud. Instead we have sentences like this: “The swarthy character poured more whiskey and grunted,” or one beginning, “On this scalding April day...” Nothing particularly wrong with either of those in and of themselves, but who would ever say them out loud? Certainly not a drug-addled old vaudevillian.)

At least the book passed the time, and at least the train wasn’t too crowded. When it’s packed and the train’s moving that slowly, it becomes intensely claustrophobic before long. As it was, I even got to sit down after 12th Street, and closed my eyes for a little waking snooze after I’d finished a chapter. After a long passage of little stop-and-go lurches, five minutes late at Rockridge turned into 25 minutes late at Embarcadero. I’d spent more than 45 minutes making a journey that normally takes 20.

When I got to work my in-basket was empty and presumably nobody had noticed I wasn’t there. Woo hoo.

I’ve been wearing my cowboy boots since the rain, to save wear and tear on the Eccos. They’re not the cushiest footwear in the world, and by the time I got to the office my dogs were already barking. “Hell with it,” I thought, and kicked them off, luxuriating in my sock feet at the desk. Mama Dog called just then, and I told her I had freed my feet. “I should get some slippers for the office,” I said, not entirely joking. “Go to work, kick of my shoes, and pad around the office in slippers all day.” I imagined myself going down to the store on the ground floor in my slippers. It had a certain appeal. One time I went slipper-clad to Safeway with Ambrose. Had to show him that there is in fact such a thing as non-non-dairy whipping cream and that it is in fact stocked liberally in major grocery stores before Mama Dog homicided him. Long story. And yes, that was another digression.

In the afternoon, slow motion caught up with me again. Network access became unreliable. It slowed down my work, but worse, it slowed down my goofing off on the Internet. I was buying Baby Dog a couple of new cloth books to go with Velutinous Apian and Compatriots. I had to reload the page about six times. I wouldn’t be surprised if dozens of the things show up in the mail over the coming weeks.

Once I left, at least my return home was speedy and dry. Unfortunately, little girl was already asleep by the time I got home. I was looking particularly forward to seeing her tonight – I mean, even more so than usual – because she’s added a new bit to her repertoire. She’s started saying “dadadadada.” Not meaning me specifically, but it’s very novel to hear the new combinations of consonants she’s able to make. It’s like she’s had a little verbal breakthrough the last day or two.

Mama Dog made lemongrass chicken for supper. She made the same dish the other night when the Pirates were over, only back then it was called lemongrass tofu. At the time, I pointed at the recipe hung on the fridge and said, “They spelled ‘chicken’ wrong.” I was only kidding, but she took me up on it.

After supper and dog feeding and dish cleaning and suchlike, we got about half of Maria Full of Grace watched before I decided we’d better pause so I could get this and some freelance work done. No sooner had we risen from the couch than Baby Dog started to cry, so I got to see her a little bit tonight after all, although not in any humour to say “dadadadada.” Still, when I picked her up and whispered in her ear, “I bet you didn’t even know that Daddy was home, did you?” she stopped fussing and smiled. Mama Dog gave her a little snack, and after I shushed her not quite to sleep but at least to calm. I think in the time it’s taken me to finish these last few paragraphs, she may have fallen back to sleep.

Now it’s time to post, then do the freelance cal, then go to sleep. Maybe tomorrow I’ll take Vol. 2.


Blogger Brownstein said...

I'm glad to hear that you're digging into 69 Love Songs but am surprised a bit that you hadn't gotten it before. That album had a big effect on me. I really liked the idea of reflecting on the various facets of love through these various songs. It was the direct inspiration for my own small booklet 12 Rejected Valentines.

5:39 AM  
Blogger Brownstein said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

5:39 AM  
Blogger Twizzle said...

Papa Dog,

I hope that someday you'll turn the anecdote about Ambrose and the non-non-dairly whipping cream into a full-blown blog entry unto itself.

Mama Dog

8:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've been lounging in socks at the office for years. I take my runners off as soon as I get in and leave them loose, so I can quickly slip them on, should I need to leave my cubicle. Although, occasionally, if I'm too lazy, and I'm not going too far, I'll just walk around in my socks.

paul Anonymous

7:43 AM  

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