Who Let the Dogs Out?
I finally got chased by dogs today. Other cyclists frequently talk about being chased by dogs and it never seems to happen to me. I was starting to get a complex about it. Am I such a wreck that I can't even get a dog to chase me? Of course, it doesn't help that I spend so little time on the bike these days that any dog that wanted to chase me would have to get in his car and drive over to Whispering Pines Trailer Park and chase me around whatever crappy trailer I am trying to put back together.
Back In the Game
Yes, it is true, Miss Jo the Trailer Park Manager had to bring me back out of retirement. The New Guy she hired to replace me made a noble effort to Be Me but let's face it. There's only one Me.
Not counting the Voice, the Voice said.
"Shut up Voice. You don't count. And you're getting me confused."
It's So Easy Anyone Can Do It
The funny thing about carpentry is that the better you are at it the easier it looks. Take a set of stairs for instance. Nothin' to it, right? What could be simpler? Hah! The New Guy's first effort was so dynamic, so artful, so creative that it drew fascinated attention from every tenant in The Park. Plus the fact that the NG's artwork was being displayed on the side of the Blonde's trailer. This...creation was nailed to the side of the Blonde's trailer in a feeble effort to replace the rotten steps that had collapsed beneath her and Miss Daisy the Yellow Dog at bath time. (Not the Blonde's bath time. Miss Daisy's. The Blonde takes her baths inside now, and has ever since we moved into town. I do miss bath time in the country, though.)
Hey! Eyes Up Here
While Blondie and me don't always agree, she has always respected my skill at cutting pieces of wood into various shapes and then nailing them back together so that they are a stairway or a house (or even a nice juicy pile of money when I get a bunch of other guys to cut and nail with me).
“Look at this crap,” she said, gesturing disdainfully at the NG's work. “You can build a better stairway than that even when you're drunk. Which is a good thing since you...”
“Yes, yes, Honey,” I said, interrupting. “But I'm sober now and I must confess, looking at this work here before me is sobering indeed. Don't try to use these.”
“Oh, don't worry. I wouldn't go near that thing. It made Toby bark.” Toby the Trouble Puppy has grown in size quite a bit since his rowdy arrival at Whispering Pines but his brain seems stuck on “Puppy”. In this instance, however, he was quite accurate in his assessment. Those steps made me want to hike my leg and bark like a dog.
It Ain't Over Till It's Over, Rover
Later that afternoon I was sitting at my table and running my fingers listlessly over the keyboard of my computer. I had a nice clean blank screen in front of me but I also had a nice clean blank brain inside of me. Nothing was happening. Then I saw Miss Jo coming across the parking lot. Now something was happening. Miss Jo has a determined and purposeful stride that gives her the look of someone on the way to kick somebody's ass. She was coming towards my trailer. Our last meeting had been alcohol fueled and less than pleasant and I looked around for a place to hide but it was too late and she was on the porch.
“Can we talk?” she said.
“Of course,” I said, “And I'm sorry about the other night. You don't really remind me of a...”
“Whatever,” she said. “That's water under the bridge. I want to know if you want your job back.”
“Well, Jo, I don't know. I saw those stairs that Your New Guy built and I have to confess, I just don't have it in me to do that level of work. You gotta remember that I'm only a carpenter. That guy is an artist and apparently an idiot savant, only without the savant part.”
“I'm never going to hear the end of this, am I,” she said.
“Never. And I demand that all my demands be met.”
“Tim Joe, half of those demands are illegal and the other half physically impossible. And you're too old for that kind of stuff anyway. I don't want to be responsible for giving you a heart attack.”
I found this intriguing. The only demands I remember making was to be allowed a little more bicycle time and a new deal on my trailer rent. And a new hammer.
“OK.” I said. “Where do I start?”
“Where else? Replace those stupid stairs. That Ex of yours is threatening to call the Building Department and the newspaper and PETA and anybody else she can think of that might give me more heartburn than I already have.”
“Yes, ma'am,” I said. “By the way, you didn't happen to write down any of those demands I was making, did you?'
But she was already off the porch and on her way to another meeting. With the New Guy, no doubt.
No One Here Gets Out Alive
So once again I find myself crawling around tearing out rotten floors, re-framing collapsed walls, building simple but functional non-artistic stairs and generally picking up where I left off. And getting so little time in on my bicycle that I can't even get chased by a dog.
“I'll chase you, Dad.” said Toby the Trouble Puppy.
“That's good of you, puppy, but I don't want you chasing bicycles. And dog's can't talk.”
That's what I was going to say, said the Voice.
Whispering Pines Trailer Park and Asylum