Out into the world.

Together, Cristi and I have had cold and flu-like symptoms for about two weeks. She went first and then I followed. Now that she’s getting better, I’m in the thick of it. We’re disgusting creatures. If we ever get well again, someone should fumigate this apartment and repaint the walls.

In the meantime, I’m missing work and distracting her from getting her job done. Neither of which are good things. I finally called the doctor yesterday and he got back to me promptly with a prescription recommendation that “should keep my flu from getting any worse.” At this point, if someone told me smoking crack would make this nasty condition go away, I’d hit the pipe as soon as I could find the product. I’m sick of being the sick guy.

Of course, prescriptions require trips to the pharmacy. So we formulated a two-part plan: Cristi would run to the grocery store for rations and I would hit Walgreen’s for medicine. Naturally, I opted to take Woody along because he’s sweet and he really likes riding in the car.

A few minutes later, the pharmacist handed me the magic pills that should eventually make me better and I headed back towards the car parked at the grocery store next door. Knowing Cristi would probably take a while at the Safeway, I decided that Woody and I had some time to kill and therefore we should take a little stroll down Mission.

For those of you who don’t know, 30th and Mission is a lively section of the neighborhood. Buses. Cars. Cyclists. Pedestrians. Homeless people. Angry homeless people. Drunk homeless people. I wasn’t sure how the little dude would react, but I leashed him up and headed out.

First we encountered a Greek woman. She approached slowly, saw that I was smiling, bent down and hugged Woody. “He’s so beautiful, I lohve heem…I used to have a black one just lyke heem.” She had treats.

After that, we met two guys with German accents. One of them said he’d just had a black lab mix shipped from the east coast and that Woody looked just like his dog. Usually not into men, Mr. Woods was all over these two and eventually wound up flipped over on the sidewalk while they scratched his belly.

Then we made our way about half a block down to the hardware store where a city bus was unloading. Five or six similar encounters followed. People came up and overwhelmed the little creature with compliments and friendly pats on the head. He took it all in stride, shooting each person a warm glance and an expression that suggested they may get a little more attention if they’d brought treats.

It felt like a small parade and Woody the strange dog from Southern Missouri was the star. It could have been the random assortment of cold medicine running through my system, but the whole thing put a little lump in my throat. Raising this little puppy over the years has been a lot of work. There were times I thought he may never adapt to the world. Yet, in that moment, with traffic buzzing by and city noise all around, he was perfectly comfortable soaking up all the attention he could get. He seemed normal.

A proud father, I suppose. The irony being that the guy probably needs to go outside right now. So enough with the poetic dissertation—it’s time to walk the muse.


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