I return from the wild and frozen North!
It was a strange land, full of Canadians and tea shops and space needles and restaurants that have Happy Hours at eleven in the morning. It was a good vacation. I am exhausted in all the right ways, and properly disappointed to find myself back in my bleary little life in my little grey city.
Funny story: it wasn’t grey when I left it. In the five days that I have been gone, autumn has arrived and punched the face of my fair town, leaving it reeling. People are wandering the streets unsure. Is it winter? Should we wear coats? Is it going to keep drizzling? Will it pour? Will the clouds burn off? Should we all wear shorts today? This means that from the window of my new office I can see all sorts of fantastic and confused wardrobe combinations as the pedestrians roll by, staring at the sky with a mixture of disappointment and ire. My favorite so far has been the college girl with short shorts, gladiator sandals, and a gigantic pink puffy coat with the fluffy hood up around her ears.
All I know is that it’s raining and it’s going to keep raining. The Ten Day Trend in the newspaper doesn’t say anything productive anymore. It’s just a picture of a mad scientist gesturing wildly towards his crazy weather machine, with the setting permanently stuck on “FUCK YOU ALL”.
Anyways. Enough about the weather. I’m currently compiling our photos and our experiences into a nice cohesive pile, but in the meantime, I figured I’d share my recent dose of ‘cute’.
So, a woman in the office, Cindy, occasionally brings in her son. Daniel is four, has white-blonde hair, and has occasional bouts of shyness that can usually be cured by squirming around, rolling on the ground, or maybe standing on his head if the situation gets entirely too serious. In the past few months, he’s gotten gradually more comfortable in my office, and so the last time he visited he spent a good ten minutes commenting on the many different colors of paper I had, and my impressive quantity of clipboards.
All of these things are very important to a boy his age.
So today I was happily typing away, working through a price reduction on one of our properties, when I saw the tip of a tow-head peeking around the door frame. This was accompanied by the face of a little green stuffed dog, who peeked around with equal curiosity. I waved. Both faces disappeared.
There was a moment of silence, and then Daniel wandered nonchalantly into the room with the toy Basset hound clutched in his hands, did a somersault on the floor, and then walked up close to the edge of my desk.
“Hi,” I said.
“Hi,” he replied.
“You have a dog,” I commented.
“He’s green,” he responded. “His name is Hushpuppy.”
“That’s a good name for a dog. What kind of dog is he?”
I continued typing, and finally hit ‘enter’ with a satisfying click that sent my price reduction burbling away into the internet, off to all of the realtors who would be interested in such a thing. Daniel woggled his head from side to side, examining the window from different angles.
“I need to tell you a secret,” he said finally, leaning his chin on one of my computer speakers. He spoke with a doe-eyed sincerity, and pronounced ‘secret’ as ‘secwet’ which is so stereotypically sweet that my face nearly melted off in the burst of searing estrogen that ensued.
“Ooh. Okay. Tell me,” I demanded.
“My dog, I had a dog, and at home, the dog, my dog that I had, he got cancers, and he died, and his name was Bernie.”
“I’m very sorry,” I said, and I meant it. “That’s a very sad thing.”
“Yeah. But now there’s a dog and it’s a new dog, and it’s a brown dog and she barks and barks and the cats go AAAAAH and it tries to bite them, because we have two cats inside and a cat outside but all the cats want outside with their collars and the dog barks and gets them.”
“The dog gets the cats?”
“It gets their collars. Sadie wants to take their collars away.”
“Is Sadie your dog?”
“Yeah, the new dog. Not Bernie.”
“Ohh. I understand. Why does Sadie want to get the cats’ collars?”
“Because because because uh.” Daniel considered this. “Because the collars, with the collars, the cats don’t get lost. Even if we leave for a long time the cats will know they stay where…uh. And Sadie is mean, and he wants the cats to get lost.”
“But that would be sad!” I said, fishing a little package of mints out of my desk drawer. I shouldn’t give random children candy, because it’s creepy, but he was cute and I don’t even like mints. I dropped one into his hand.
“It would be SO SAD!” he yelled. “The cats would be sad and we’d go ‘Oh no oh no oh noooooo,” and he dissolved into a wild fit of oh noing on the other side of my desk, disappearing from view. After a moment, his hand reappeared, waiting for another mint. I gave him one. He chewed on it noisily, stood, and looked at me.
And then he ran away.
I heard him talking to his mother, Cindy, in the hallway.
“MOM I talked to the girl. I talked to her for TWO MINUTES.”
“That was very polite.”
“Yeah, I told her Sadie bites cats.”
“Did you tell her how many clipboards you have?”
I could hear Daniel’s gasp of realization.
He reappeared in the doorway, with Cindy close behind. She began hunting for a file that she needed in my cabinet.
“He was very excited to see all your clipboards last time,” she said. Daniel was dancing.
“Really?” I said. I addressed him seriously. “Do you have clipboards too?”
“YEAH I HAVE SO MANY CLIPBOARDS. I HAVE LOTS. I GOT TWO OF THEM.”
“Yeah? What do you do with them?”
At this point he was seized by another uncontrollable fit of shyness and had to go hide behind the copier for a few minutes.
“Do you draw on them?” I called over to him. He squinted at me from under the bypass try.
“Draw on them?” he asked incredulously. “Pff. NO. I draw on PAPER.”
My boss had to come into the office to see why Cindy and I laughed so hard for so long.