William Matheson (nova_one) wrote,
William Matheson

69. The Wandering Dog

I’m sitting in my apartment sipping on a Thai beer I got on sale Sunday at Jupiter. And I’m sitting in my new chair!

I’d been chair shopping for the last two nights, and tonight I felt ready to make a purchase. So I started walking to Fuji Grand – I’d need to carry it home, so biking was out of the question unless I wanted to have to walk back again another day just to get my bike.

I got to Circle K and waited to cross the road. On the other side, waiting to cross to my side, were a baseball player on a bicycle and a little Shiba Inu. As we passed, I noticed it wasn’t on a leash. It followed me for a few steps. I decided not to freak out – I’m afraid of dogs, but I felt like I could ‘take’ this one if it came to a scrap. I continued on my way and went up the bridge.

There, I went fishing for red herring.

I wish writing was more like real life. It would be nice to be able to just dump lots of vivid scenes into a story without having to consider the expectation that it ought to lead to something. A gun that’s sitting on a nightstand ought to be fired by the fourth act – that’s the rule.

As I crossed over the top of the arch, I heard a jingle behind me. The dog had followed me halfway across the bridge. I tried not to notice it.

Soon I heard jingling again, but this time it was bicycle bells – the gang was going out to eat at Fuji Grand, and they were on their bicycles. They all noted the dog, and some spoke to it, and then they kept on going.

At the bottom of the bridge, by now in Kitajima, I crossed the road again (the bridge has a sidewalk on the north side only). The dog crossed, too.

I went along for a bit more, wondering what would happen if it tried to follow me right into the mall. I also thought about what it must look like to be walking along with an unleashed dog.

I guess someone else thought about that, too, because a little white kei truck (a bit like this) pulled into a parking lot I was walking past. The driver got out and asked, “Is this your dog?”

“No, it isn’t. I think it’s a stray.”
“Well, you know, it’s very dangerous…” I’m still not sure what he meant by that.

He got out some wrapping twine with the purpose of making a makeshift leash. After a few minutes I asked him in a tentative manner if that meant he was taking responsibility for it. He said that maybe I should, but I had to tell him that I couldn’t. I have no place for it, and I don’t yet speak Japanese, so I wouldn’t be able to find the owners. I felt kind of bad about it, though. To his credit, he accepted my inability to take care of the dog, and after he got a hold of it and tied the twine to its collar he said he’d put an ad in the newspaper.

I was just going to leave the dog to its own devices. Maybe that’s not the right thing to do, though. If the same thing happened in North America, would I take it home and feed it until the owners claimed it? I’m not really an animal person – someone I sort of dated a year and a half ago said I hated animals, and compared to her I think she had a point. I have a heart, but I guard it viciously, even cruelly – I’m happier without the responsibility.

Speaking of which, the kids at school are starting to get to me. I actually kind of like the little grommits – I mean, I’ve always treated them as fairly as I could and sometimes too permissively (read: carelessly), but now it’s to the point where I kind of miss them when I’m not at work. They’re like… well, I don’t know what they’re like, because I’ve never experienced anything quite like it. I’m even tempted to stop counting seconds and pennies for their sakes, at least sometimes.

The people I work with have been good, too. I’m being encouraged to cultivate confidence, and I haven’t recently had any reason to feel like anyone’s out to get me.

For me, confidence comes from experience – I can’t just conjure it up. But we ought not to have to – with the right kinds of informative experience, we can learn on the front lines what to do in almost any given situation. It takes a lot of failures, and sometimes the involvement of others to do things like point out what you should be observing and how, and it takes patience on all sides… experientially-informed confidence is the best kind in my opinion, and it can really help one turn a so-so situation into a successful venture.

Confidence. I hope this isn’t just my Thai beer talking.
Tags: animals, chairs, dogs, furniture, japan, shopping, work

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