Wednesday, September 20, 2006

The Most Dangerous Place on Earth . . .

Is between Hugo Chavez and a camera. Honestly, I'm all for making waves and understand that keeping yourself in the public eye rarely hurts, but this dude is an attention whore. And of course, the media, when it senses sensationalism, immediately jumps and dances at his bidding. My advice? Ignore him. At some point, he'll see he's not drawing crowds or notice, and after a brief stint where he goes out in public wearing no pants and juggling chainsaws, he'll stop hogging headlines.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Out of the Frying Pan

On our nightly walks, we always pass by the rehab house. Whenever I walk by, these guys are constantly tinkering, painting, or refinishing something in the house. And thanks to the lovely weather here lately, they’ve started eschewing air conditioning.

Normally, I would have no problem with this – for a long time, I’ve felt we’ve turned into a society of A/C wimps (I say as I feel the cool air from the window unit wash across my face). However, there’s one big problem with my neighbors’ position.

A roughly 100-pound problem that hangs out the screenless front window of the house and growls and snarls at us as we walk by. Normally, I'm not afraid of dogs, but this one disturbs me. A lot. Every night, his pitch-black body defies gravity as ¾ of it is suspended in space, following our every move. I can almost see the drool dripping from his jaws, and I feel the hackles rise every time, as my trusted watchdog gleefully ignores the fact that six feet of thin air separates us from becoming lunch.

Lately, I’ve taken to crossing the street. He hasn’t lunged at us yet, but I figure there’s little to be gained by tempting fate. Besides, this way I’ll at least have a few seconds to compose myself and face death as it charges me, rather than cry and scream hysterically as the dog jumps me from behind.

Or so the theory goes.

Sunday night, we cross the street, right into the path of Stan. I don’t think his name is Stan, but I have to call him something, don’t I? Stan is a little stocky, with a doughy, constantly smiling face, black hair with flecks of gray, a thin mustache, and glasses so thick that when he looks west, he can check the traffic on the Golden Gate Bridge.

Stan is also crazy; harmless, but nuts all the same.

We’ve crossed paths before; he usually tries to aggressively befriend Trudy, who slinks behind my legs while he tells me of some exploit. Normally I smile, talk to him for a minute or so then we move on.

But Sunday was a bit different. Rather than try to pat Trudy on the head, he walks straight up to me and says, “She saw me! She saw me!”

Not knowing if he was referring to Trudy, God or some other undefined she, I came back with the brilliant “Really?”

“She did! I ran away! I have penis-sized nut!”

What do you say to that? “Well that’s good!” I said, slowly edging away, hoping he wouldn’t show me his nut or anything else.

We crossed back to the other side of the street, free from other dogs and passers-by. I had to wonder if Stan was doing some peeping somewhere, or maybe I misheard him. I don’t think so. All I do know is that between vigilant guard dogs, guys walking their ironing boards, girl fights, and 12-year-old pimps, walking the dog is rarely boring.