b Papa Dog's Blog: Some Stories I Didn't Quite Witness

Papa Dog's Blog

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Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Some Stories I Didn't Quite Witness

I’m the first to admit I don’t have much in the way of reportorial instincts. Like anybody, I see each and every day strange little bits of comic behaviour or tiny fragments of unknown human dramas. I make note of such scenes but rarely investigate any further. This is surely a handicap as a writer, but it’s the way I’m wired – I feel the odd voyeuristic impulse, but am too indifferent to the stories of strangers to make a real go of it. The best I can say is it keeps me out of trouble. Most of the people I know who are given to following up on the weird things they see also complain that they are nut magnets. Res ipsa loquitur, as they say down at the bowling alley.

Here’s an example: this morning at work, I was just finishing my morning business in the men’s room when one of the office codgers burst in, strode purposefully to the sink, pulled his baseball cap off his head, and started to fill it up with water. Surely, there was a story there. Surely anyone with an interest in chronicling the absurdity of life would want to stop and watch further, maybe even ask a pointed question or two. Not your Papa Dog. I finished washing my hands and left. I had work to do, and do it I did – wondering all the while about that Chuck hat full of water. Now I’ll never know. I can’t very well stop the codger in the hall tomorrow and ask, “Hey, remember yesterday when you were filling your hat up with water in the bathroom? Why was that?” The time to ask was while it was happening, and that window has forever closed.

Here’s another: last night as I was leaving work, I stumbled into an altercation in progress. A stereotypically clenched-faced uptight white guy was confronting the security guard in what I would have to term high dudgeon, though I’m not really positive I know what that means. It certainly looked like dudgeon to me, and it definitely seemed higher than most. He was slamming his fist on the guard’s desk. I thought at first he was joking in some way, but the guard’s reaction immediately said otherwise. He backed up, assumed a defensive posture. He said something about not giving the guy whatever it was the guy wanted. The guy shouted something belligerent, then whirled around and stormed out of the building, pausing at the door to favour the guard with an upraised middle finger. “You are my witness!” the guard exclaimed to me. “He did a finger at me!” “Huh,” I said, sliding my ID card over the scanner. For a brief flicker of a moment, an awareness of my responsibility to fathom the truth lurched into place, and I mumbled, “What was that all about?” but the guard was too busy checking my name and the time on the card scanner readout – the better to secure my services as a witness later – to even hear me. Just then the angry white male huffed back into the building, so I decided to leave in case there was gunplay. Plus Mama Dog was making Cock-a-Leekie soup* and I had to hurry home to find out whether or not I disliked it.

So I guess I can’t pretend to be much of an observer of the human condition when I generally have other things to do. But for whatever it’s worth, you can count on me to tell you frankly about the moments I almost saw and all the partial details that, honestly, I might have misheard.
*Probably not the recipe she used, but what do I know? It turns out I do like it, whatever it was.


Blogger Twizzle said...

I'm like you in that I don't care much about what other people do or are doing, even if it looks interesting. The exception, however, is anything illegal. I love watching from our front porch a bust take place in the neighborhood. I mean, I don't love that our 'hood occasionally attracts a riff-raffy element; but, when I see a couple of cops cuffing some woman screaming, "I din't do nothin'! I want my mother!" I become quite the enthusiastic rubbernecker.

I also get a certain satisfaction from deliberately NOT looking at or paying attention to someone who's obviously TRYING to be noticed, or making a scene.

Glad you liked the Cock-a-leekie soup. Turns out the recipe I made was nothing like the one you linked to... no barley or potatoes... but it did indeed contain cock (chicken) and leekie (leeks).

9:10 AM  

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