b Papa Dog's Blog: Rambles on an Evening's Rambles

Papa Dog's Blog

A Thing Wherein I Infrequently Write Some Stuff

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Rambles on an Evening's Rambles

I forgot to bring my granoly* bars with me today and had to go over to the deli for a Rice Krispies square. I was very surprised when I got there to find Mr. Northfield reading a paper at one of the patio tables. In fact I did a triple-take. I hadn’t seen him in a couple of years, and it had been some years before that since he worked at my office, so he was very much out of context. Like seeing your math teacher at the supermarket. As it turned out, he was headed for my office anyway to see E the BAG, so we walked over together and I told him all the news of the poker group and showed him the stuff I’m working on.

After work, he came over to the East Bay and met Baby Dog for the first time. We went out to dinner at Shen Hua and he insisted on picking up the tab. That’s all wrong, of course, since we’re the hosts – but it was a nice gesture. He told us about life up in Mendocino County and how the rampant marijuana cultivation results in a ghost economy that permeates through the straight life, with a certain segment of the population paying cash for everything, and businesses that would elsewhere deal with commerce electronically – surveyors, for example – ending up with large wads in the office. According to a friend of Mr. Northfield who works for the County, there’s a taxation plan in place, ready to go into effect the minute marijuana is ever legalised. Wishful thinking, but proactive.

Baby Dog was already grumpy by the time I got home at 6:30. She had skipped her afternoon nap and was really not in the best humour for an outing. Mr. Northfield never got to see her in ordinary little bundle of charm mode, but he seemed taken with her nonetheless. She was downright cranky by the time we left, and we took her into the restaurant in the stroller rather than putting her in a highchair, figuring she might fall asleep if left recumbent. Sure enough she did, snoozing through the meal. Unfortunately, she woke up as we were winding down, and it looked as though that might have been her afternoon nap and we might have a couple more hours to put in to get her to sleep for the night.

We parted ways with Mr. Northfield back at the house, and I took Doggy Dog out for a walk, my customary stroll to the mailbox and back. At the northeast corner of a familiar intersection, Doggy Dog stopped for a whiz and I noticed a guy across the street behaving strangely. He was walking back and forth in agitation and seemed to be whispering to himself. We walked quickly to the corner, stood looking across the street, but didn’t cross. Then he turned backtracked a few doors, muttering all the way. Doggy Dog and I moved along in the opposite direction. Every time Doggy Dog stopped for a pee, I’d glance back and see the guy still within the same three or four house lengths from the southwest corner of the intersection.

We made it to the mailbox and, bound compulsively to my accustomed route, I crossed over to the crazy man’s** side of the street and headed back in his direction. I scanned ahead for his bright white shirt, but couldn’t see it. I figured he’d finally retreated to his lair.

When Doggy Dog and I reached the southwest corner of the intersection, I thought I heard somebody saying something, but couldn’t make out what it was or where it was coming from. When Doggy Dog finished his business, we walked on and soon I spotted the crazy white-shirted man seated on the steps of one of the three houses in his proscribed area. He was apparently talking to me, though not looking at me. Something like “Hey brother how ya doin.” He bounced up to his feet and I figured I was going to get panhandled, but all he said was, “How are you doing?” “Good,” I said, “how are you?” He put his hand out to shake, saying, “My name’s Jason.” Reflexively, I shook his hand and told him my name. Stupidly, I didn’t make one up. At least I stopped myself before telling him the dog’s name. No sense giving a crazy stranger that measure of power over an intimidating but easily commanded beast. I waited a beat for the request for money, but it didn’t come. I walked on. As I did, Jason said, “Oh...one more thing. I never disrespect children.” “That’s good,” I told him. But in that moment I went from mildly annoyed at the unwelcome interaction to creepingly paranoid. What did he mean by that? Was he some creepy pedophile stalker? Did he know I have a child at home? The rest of the walk I kept looking back to see if he was following, but I never spotted him again.

Baby Dog was crying when I got home. She had failed to fall asleep after nursing, but was clearly very tired. I put her on my lap in the rocker and sang her to sleep. A lot of noise from the next door neighbours drifted through her window, but it didn’t seem to bother her. It’s been miserably hot the last while, but has finally cooled off a little. It seems kind of like there’s been a little more craziness on the street because of the heat, but maybe it’s just that a greater pool of potential crazies has ventured out. The girl’s asleep now, the dog’s content, and it’s time for Papa to call it a night.
*paul – not a typo.
**Like, at least slightly crazier than the guy who has to walk exactly the same route every night for no good reason.


Blogger Judy said...

Wow, just reading about white-shirt man kind of creeped me out. We have access here in Texas to the sex-offender database...if you do, too, you might want to do a search in your neighborhood. I do it from time to time here.

2:42 PM  

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