Wish I'd Said It

Weeds are flowers too - once you get to know them.

- A. A. Milne

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

WWB Excerpt & An Incident (Issue #158)

Walking With Benny: 12/04/07

I realized last night, on our evening walk, that I’ve written very little about them. Most of my focus has been on our morning ambles. There’s a reason or three for that.

Often, and particularly since switching to Daylight Savings Time a month or so ago when I started writing this thing, our evening walks are in the...wait for it...dark. My main sense, unlike Ben’s, has been severely constrained. My ears don’t have a whole lot to do either, as the wildlife is usually quiet, settling in for the night. Consequently, I rarely see or hear anything of particular interest.

Ben is as active as ever. His nose, through which he perceives most of his world, doesn’t need light. He trots from side to side in front of me, covering as much ground as possible while still managing to tug me forward. His nose is glued to the ground like a canine minesweeper. To an onlooker, I might look like a blind man sweeping his 15-foot-long, animated-at-the-end cane.

Since my senses are far from overloaded with outside stimuli, I find it easy to slip into a contemplative mood on these evening excursions. Sometimes, I’ll consider the morning’s walk. Did I miss anything - either in the telling or the remembering?

Occasionally, I’ll find myself recalling a particular moment but see it in the different light that time and altered circumstance often conspire to inspire. Each time you see something from a different angle, you are adding to your knowledge of it. Added lore should lead to greater wisdom. Or, as is usually my case, it becomes another canape added to my smorgasbord of useless trivia.

Perhaps things will be different as the days lengthen again and more and more evening walks take place before the sun sets. We’ll see.

Anyway, last night began as a picture-perfect postcard of a Christmas Eve. Heavy, but still fluffy snowflakes drifted in a gentle breeze, romanticizing the streetlights.

A moment later, no longer protected by a row of houses on the left, the west wind slapped us with a gust. Those fluffy flakes of a moment ago now packed some sting when they smacked cheeks and eyelids.

My legs reminded me early on that I had abused them just that morning, thank you very much. The southern part of the path, which Ben and I take every evening, is less-traveled than the northern one. So I was breaking fresh ground in crunchy snow again and my thighs weren’t too pleased with me at all.

I focused on putting one foot in front of the other while hurling thought bolts at Ben, pleading with him to start shivering and turn back for home.

He was a very bad dog and paid me no nevermind.

By the time we got back on the sidewalk, a half-hour later and a scant hundred yards from home, my legs were jelly. And the sidewalk, under a fine coating of new snow, was very icy.

“Oh crap,” said my thighs, in a manner of speaking.

Luckily Ben couldn’t garner any more traction than I, or even his wee frame might have been enough to topple me. Or tow me. He looked like he was exercising on a treadmill and I was as wobbly as a two-year-old ballerina.

But we made it home without mishap.

This time. They did say it was gonna be a long, cold winter.


So I was leaving the Beer Store yesterday, having returned some empties. Approaching my car, I noticed slush had built up in the wheel wells. I was surprised I hadn’t noticed it before and kicked out the offending crud on the front passenger’s side. The stuff in the rear passenger wheel well had really solidified and required several mighty kicks before it finally loosened and fell. The rear driver’s side was easier and I headed to the front to finish up.

It was then I noticed a splash of colour in the back seat. Leaning closer, I peered inside. Wrapped Christmas parcels. Strange. I didn’t recall doing any shopping, let alone wrapping.

And the woman staring at me from the passenger’s seat at the front wasn’t at all familiar either.

Oh crud.

I had just slowly circled and kicked the heck out of someone else’s car.

Don’t you hate when that happens? I blame tinted windows. They’re the work of the devil. And why is it that everyone has to buy a silver car just because I have a silver car?

The laughing driver, another lady, returned as I was slapping my forehead and miming my apologies to the woman in the car. Over my stumbling sorrys she not-at-alled and thanked me for ridding her of the accumulated ice and snow. When I peeked over a moment later, before pulling out of the lot, I noticed she and her friend whooping and hollering in a most unladylike manner.

Rascals must have gotten into the brewskies early because it wasn't that funny.


Bruce Robinson said...

My first new car was a dark grey mettalic Mercury Capri. After that, the cars went to white, blue, silver, white and red.

The motorcycles were red, black and dark grey mettalic. I still have the last one. It was such a good match, in my mind, to the first new car.

My wife has always owned red cars. When one of the kids bought blue after high-school, out he went. We had replaced the red minivan with a red minivan, and added a red Mazda and red buick.

Last December, my wife made a left in front of a blue pick-up and drove away with more in damage dollars than the car was worth. (The pick-up was totalled, but he shouldn't have benn going so darn fast!

The previous June, we had a dumped a temporaray visitor at our house, a blue Toyota wagon, for a blue Ford Fusion to be driven by the next eldest son from his new abode to his new JOB!

We converted the damaged Buick Tank into a 2006 Ford Five Hundred with AWD and a CVT! It was mine to drive. And the color grey perfectly matched my Honda Goldwing Motorcycle and the departed Capri.

Last week, my wife was receiving negative feedback from the 95 Caravan. She fell for a 2007 Chrysler Town & Country Touring. I drove the caravan home to get the seats and and clean out twelve years of stuff in the nooks and crannies. One the way, the transmission downshifted to first while travelling fifty-five miles per hour and stopped shifting anymore. At the house, the recalcitrant side door finally opened. I cleaned out the junk and used both hands and a foot to try to close the door. It about fell off the van, becoming disengaged at the rear slider. After much pushing and shoving to the accompaniment of blue language to make the evening warner, the door latched. Pretty much. I drove back to the dealer in first gear.

The next day, my bride drove her new van to work and parked in the elementary school faculty parking lot. At the end of the day she walked to parking alot and was faced by four, side-by-side, Chrysler Town & Country vans, each one the same shade of silver as the next.

It is snowing right now in Baltimore, so, Frank, during your evening walk, if you don't mind extending a bit, please clear the snow off her van. I'll return the favor at my first opportunity.

Hilary said...

Love the Benny tales. Walking With Benny is going to be a best-seller, one which I can't wait to read in full.

Do try to lay low on the car-kicking though.

Frank Baron said...

Bruce, I got an extension and managed to reach your wife's van. Cleared it off pretty darn good too, if I do say so myself.


Not hers?

Sorry buddy.

Thanks Hilary. You DO understand you'll have to buy a copy right? ;)

Kappa no He said...

I'll buy a copy too! I always wonder when my scent hound is hot on the trail of something (probably that frisky poodle he's always showing off for) if a dog ever stubs his nose. I mean, it's dark, they're moving quite fast and not even a milimeter above the ground. I'm waiting but as of yet, no luck.

Yea, it WAS that funny. He he.

Stace said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
MagnoliaGirl said...

Reading about Ben is making me remember the little dog Raymond that was in my life for a few years. I can just see you two merrily traipsing along...

I have a grocery store habit where I shove off with someone else's buggy, muttering about something I believe my shopping companion has tossed in without my knowledge--then I realize I've got the wrong cart--I've gotten quite a ways a few times. There are just SO many more things to think about in a grocery store when the overhead tunes are particularly groovy!

Frank Baron said...

Kappa, I'm sure they bonk their nose pretty regularly but they're too excited to care. And thanks, that's two potential book sales! Look out NY Times bestseller list! ;)

MG, I'm so glad I'm not alone in the cart-stealing department. I manage to walk off with someone else's every couple of months. :)

Stace said...

I've never really had that problem. I've never owned a car myself, and cars owned by people who've driven me around seem to be fairly distinctive. Now I own a little red scooter which is kind of hard to miss!

Anonymous said...

I'm far behind in reading, I came back now to read the tyranny of positive thinking, interesting and a relief !

Frank Baron said...

Stace, you've also never had that problem because it snows in Oz about once every thousand years. ;)

Hiya Hildegarde. Nice to see you again. :)

Stace said...

Frank, that is also true. A minor point! Actually the first and only time I've ever been snowed on was in the UK. Although there are places in Australia which get snow every winter, I'm just not in one of them yet!

Reb said...

Well, at least you noticed the presents, you could have got into the car, then noticed the passenger!
Love the Benny stories, can't wait for the book.

Frank Baron said...

Thanks Reb. That makes 3 three guaranteed sales already!! ;)

Joanne said...

Loved the story about the walk with Benny. Absolutely loved the car kicking story. Priceless!!!

Frank Baron said...

Thanks Jo. :)

Moby Dick said...

I like taking my dog to the park with my daughter too. Due to daylight savings time it gets dark very early and I don't want to go to the park in the dark (that rhymes).

Frank Baron said...

I suspect our dangers differ Ironside. My only concerns after dark are slipping into the icy waters of the creek or breaking a leg and not getting help til morning.

Hilary said...

Which is why you should quit pooh-poohing the idea of keeping your cell phone with you. :P

Frank Baron said...

Sometimes I do. :P