Confessions Of A One-Year-Old: The Dog PeopleThomas Beller
Today my dad put me in the back of the bike, and we went to the part of the park with the hills that my sister is so into. Except it was that special kind of day where all the dogs show up.
My dad is always as surprised as I am when this happens. My sister goes bat-shit about the dogs and gets off her bike. They have her well trained on the subject of dogs — she gets weirdly shy in all sorts of situations socially, sticking her face more or less up my dad’s ass while the person he wants her to say hi to stands there wondering what is going on. But when it comes to dogs she overcomes this shyness and goes up to whomever is holding the leash and says, “Can I pet your dog?”
So we are all off the bikes and the dogs are off their leash and I am, too.
Not that my dad puts me on a leash. Though I have heard my mom discuss this in a semi-serious way: We should put him on a leash, etc. It’s the same tone with which she sometimes talks about putting a “chip,” in my sister’s ass.
Have no idea what a “chip” means.
Possibly like in a cookie. But my sister is not a cookie. Though I should point out that maybe there is some connection between a cookie and an ass, because everyone in my family likes to bite my naked ass. There. I said it. I am ensconced in a family of butt munchers. It’s kind of shameful. Admittedly, I like this a lot and laugh like crazy. It feels good to have your ass nibbled. I suspect getting people to do this becomes more difficult as you age. At fourteen and a half months, though, I am in my ass nibble prime. They can’t get enough of it. I laugh and laugh and think, “Wow, guys, you must be crazy. I was sitting in my own shit half an hour ago and now you are biting my ass.” But it feels good. It tickles. It’s nice.
At first it was just a few dogs and their weird owners. By weird I don’t mean that there is anything wrong about them, exactly. But there is definitely this thing about The Dog People — when they speak to other, non-dog people, they are always a bit extra excited somehow, like they are speaking to people in a language they recently learned and are excited to try it out. It’s like they are recruiting you. I think mostly they know my sister loves the dogs and they like to see her petting and loving on them. I love the dogs, too, but it’s different.
First of all, for whatever reason, the dog people on that hill mostly have small dogs. Personally, I love a giant dog, the more gigantic the better. It’s comforting. But the congregation of dog people on these random mornings have the little trembly fluffy ones, mostly, or the ones that look like a hot dog. And I am into those dogs, too, because I am so much bigger than they are.
So my dad’s bike is leaning against the fence. I have that god-awful helmet off my head. My sister’s bike is way over there in the middle of the road. She still her helmet on and is petting some dog she knows on the hill. Meanwhile this weird little guy with an orange ball in his mouth totally has me smitten. And I have to get that ball. In this way I suppose I feel a certain kinship with the dogs — we all like balls. My dad has spent the majority of our one on one time rolling balls at me. Or sometimes he hold me on his hip and shoots baskets, which I admit is kind of fun, though when he gets into it and starts doing spin moves I experience what I believe is called whiplash.
At any rate the little guy with the orange ball turns out to be a puppy, which is always bad news because that are “bad with kids.” This is not a phrase I ever hear, per se, but I do hear that a dog is “Good with kids,” all the time, “great with kids,” “Loves Kids,” etc, so it stands to reason that there must be dogs who are “bad with kids,” “awful with kids,” “hate kids,” etc, though I refuse to believe this. I think just about everyone loves me and except for one or two assholes I have encountered in the playground nothing has ever challenged this assumption and I hope nothing ever does.
My dad airlifts me away from the orange ball guy. But then he starts calling over to my sister who is some distance away now just going all crazy love on some dog, and a pack of the little guys comes by. It’s like the migration of cattle of something, but much more yappy. And I am swept up in the excitement. I wasn’t aware that the dog people congregate explicitly for the purpose of a group walk. I hear my dad say something to this effect and a woman replies, “They’re pack animals.”
My dad starts calling my sister’s name again. The thing about my sister is she is into testing the limits. Sometimes it’s a beautiful thing to see her hit them — she goes a certain distance away, to be literal, and then you see her get a bit scared. This happens in other ways, too, which is why she is always getting a time-out in the big chair and has to sit by herself while she blows bubbles with her spit and licks her palms. So my dad is calling out to my sister and suddenly I am on a big adventure with this pack of little dogs. They are so welcoming! Their tongues hang out and they look at me and I realize, they are looking up at me! I am bigger, if not faster and, just as amazing from their point of view, I think, I am a human being who is unquestionably in just as good a mood as they are!
Then all of a sudden the dog people intervene, everything stops, and some lady is trying to pick me. My dad is jogging over. I look at the lady like, “Why? Who are you?” Then I think, “Why not?” Arms up, she bends down.
“No, no, I got him,” says my dad arriving, panting.
So I get pulled from the big dog rally, and watch them go off ass waggling down the road to the other big hill near the rocks my dad lets my sister climb sometimes while he holds me. In no time at all the dog party is over.
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