I just got back from my brisk morning walk with Maalik. Half an hour into our walk today, a white van slowed while approaching me. Now – I’m always a little leery of vehicles I don’t know stopping to chat. Something about my writer/freakazoid imagination assuming some maniac with a stun gun will try to take me down or something. But when I saw a logo on the side I relaxed – probably asking for directions, I thought. When I saw the guy smiling at my dog I assumed it was because he just witnessed me hugging my good ol’ Maalik (which sounds weird – but I was giving him props for not chasing a squirrel across the road when I knew he wanted to).
So here was this van with a logo pulling up, smiling at me and my dog, and he stops. Two cute young guys – maybe 25 years old – sitting in the front seat staring at me in my morning walk attire – yoga pants, unbrushed hair, hoodie, no bra. It could’ve been worse – I could’ve been in my other go-to walking outfit – which is pajamas with unbrushed hair and no bra. And I need to digress for one moment to defend myself, because I know some readers (not naming names, Mom) might be appalled that I wear pajamas in public – but here’s the thing: nobody around here cares. I walk down this road and meet up with farmers covered in cow crap, and elderly people who haven’t brushed their hair yet either. On occasion, someone will stop on their way to work who acts neither surprised or amused – either because they’ve seen it too many times to be surprised, or because they’d be doing the same thing on a different day. I’ve seen more of my neighbours in P.J’s or covered in kaka than I can count. In this community – casual is the appropriate word. I might even venture to say it straddles on weird. Heck – just last weekend my hubby was washing his car in a T-shirt and underwear, when our neighbour came over to drop off some maple syrup. I was up on the porch writing (in my pajamas) and mocked him for standing there unabashed in his gotchies. We all laughed, and then they just continued the conversation. Yeah, okay – weird may be the word – but I’m just saying, walking in pajamas isn’t so odd when you live in Boonville.
So back to the cuties in the van.
“Does your dog have a leash?” the one asks.
Of course I have a leash for my dog. It’s buried in my van somewhere for when we take him someplace that actually does require a leash, but down my country line? No – I have never walked him with a leash down this road. That’s when I look at the logo. Crap – it’s a town van. So I lie.
“Yes, of course,” I say. “Of all days for you to see me… I just had to run something to my neighbour – she broke her leg.”
So – here’s the thing – my neighbour did break her leg, but I didn’t take anything to her. In fact, I heard about her leg from the farmer down the road and I haven’t even stopped in or sent a card. So not sure why that’s what I blurted, except I was standing in front of her house and that’s what came out of my mouth. I might go to bad neighbour hell for that fib.
“Well Ma’am,” he says, and this is when I become painfully aware that I am bra-less and unbrushed, and therefore a ma’am. “Your dog needs to be on a leash at all times when you aren’t on your property, okay? You wouldn’t want him to get hit by a car.”
“Oh no, of course not. But he always stays right with me.”
This is another lie (reread above why I just gave my dog a hug). This is also the cue for me to look down at Maalik, but he isn’t beside me anymore. He’s wandered around the other side of the truck and being petted by the driver. Doh! Damn dog!
I gave up on lying, just apologised and said I’d be sure to have him on leash from now on. Well, I guess I didn’t really give up on lying though because I won’t be walking my dog on leash either. But I will probably have a leash in my pocket in case they come driving down the road again and decide to fine me for my resisting, rule-breaking, lying ways. They might even fine me for not wearing a bra. So now – between the bear spray, the dog deterrent, the fog horn, the cell phone and the leash, I’ll look more like Batgirl with a belt full of tricks than a pajama wearing dog walker. I guess I can be thankful that I’m at least no longer a city dweller where there are more rules I’d be breaking and people I’d be offending.
I guess that’s what a girl gets for trying to burn off her Easter indulgences.