Today was another extremely hot and humid day, and two figures away from the triple digits. The air conditioning from the small convenient store on the corner of seventh felt therapeutic against my skin. I stood there admiring the large Bob Marley picture on the wall while enjoying the cool atmosphere and was thinking that the store manager might have to go throw me outside to get rid of me. Obviously I wasn’t the only one or thing, thinking that way.
A girl and her Boxer Collie mix breed walked in, she joined a short line and I noticed admiringly, that the moment the dog’s leash went loose it sprawled out comfortably on the floor and closed its eyes. I couldn’t help gawking adorably in awe as like everyone else at his tall, poised structure covered with a well-groomed velvety brownish tan shag coat and easily decided he was one spectacular sight. While I wouldn’t want one for myself, I would definitely walk this one sometimes, I thought.
I chewed away at the gum I had bought and the customers after me were all gone now. The girl stood looking thoughtful with a pack of sanitary napkins peeping through the thinness of the faded white plastic bag she held. I could tell she was contemplating the heat and the rest of her journey. Her face was oily and she looked exhausted. I bet she was regretting her walk with such a terrible heat wave hovering.
I stared interestingly at her vividly uneasy appearance and then at her dog sprawled out in a totally opposite mood, so undisturbed and peacefully sleeping. Several minutes had passed before she took up his blue and yellow twisted cord leash and gently tugged it. The dog didn’t even stir so she momentarily pulled at it to attract its attention.
By this another line was filing out and getting closer to where the dog had laid motionless. Now the girl was silently upset and whispering in a firm tone: “Let’s go Vinny. Let’s go Vinny.” The dog didn’t budge even with her hands on him gentle shaking him. She cracked an apologetic smile at everyone and said, “He’s never like this.” She shook her head and impatiently poked Vinny to get up. He was making a fool of her and she was kind of looking embarrassed, more like pissed to me.
Finally Vinny opened his eyes and she cracked a smile of relief. “Let’s go Vinny.” She urged impatiently. She poked and tickled him to get up but Vinny still didn’t move. I was totally amused now and so were all the other patrons. Probably ‘Minutes Away Food Mart’ was the only little convenient store that allows pets for ten minutes. It was written boldly next to the Bob Marley picture on the wall and I guess that was all the time one needs to get their purchases. It was a little expensive to shop there so patrons as myself mostly buy an item or two that really was needed.
The manager, no doubt had been watching the show all along, got out of his secluded tinted glass cubicle and stepped briskly towards Vinny and his temp. The dog didn’t even look up and I felt pleased that now I had good reason to linger for a while longer in the convenience of a cool air without feeling like a squatter.
Unlike everyone else, probably I was the only one who already knew the reason behind the dog’s behavior. Simply put–Vinny was just trying to escape the terrible heat too. Christ the dog is sensitive enough to understand good from bad temperature.
The manager firmly poked Vinny to get up, but the dog just looked at him for a second then turned his head away while the poor girl pleaded and pulled at the leash. The manager akimbo, tapped his foot impatiently and told the girl firmly to lift her dog out of the store.
Vinny was more than half her size, probably over 70 lbs and it was already tormenting enough outside plus carrying a big dog was unimaginable. I had to stifle down an outburst of laughter as the poor girl panted and struggled to lift the stubborn dog up. She was glaring at Vinny as she stumbled outside. The manager shook his head in disbelief at the unusual situation. Once outdoors and back on the road the girl roughly dropped Vinny to the ground. The dog reluctantly but skillfully landed on his paws. I’m sure she wasn’t taking Vinny for a walk any time soon after today, I thought in much amusement.
The poor and middle class are the most likely to feel the effects of the decision at the end of the fiscal cliff saga…let’s remember it’s a season of sharing, loving and giving.