by Frances Edstrom
After our walk on Sunday, the dog-who-must-not-be-written-about flopped down on the kitchen floor and said, "Well, that was certainly worthwhile."
"That's a curious choice of words," I said. "One time after a rousing jazz concert, I heard the woman behind me make the same observation. The rest of the crowd was full of the energy of the music, and she was acting like she'd found a new toilet bowl cleanser."
"Well," he said, "English is my second language, you know. Perhaps what I meant was that it was satisfying."
"That's a curious word, too, something you might say after a good meal""
"Oh, really, how would I know?" he said, his voice dripping with sarcasm. "I would hardly call those little pieces of cardboard you feed me satisfying or a ‘good meal.' How about ‘enriching?' Is that word good enough for you?"
"Enriching? I think of enriching as an educational or cultural experience," I said.
"Well, that's exactly what I mean, then," he said.
"What? Walking around the lake is like going to the Louvre and seeing the great masters?"
"Exactly!" he said. "You've got it. It's like seeing the great masters!"
"This ought to be good. How do you figure that? All we do is walk around on the bike path."
"Ah, yes! But what else do I do?"
"You cower when another dog comes towards us?"
"No, no! Not that. What else do I do?"
"You stop and sniff every old dog poop along the way. It's disgusting. I thought people had gotten better at picking up dog doo, but the minute the snow melts, you can see that the sides of the path are one long depository of dog excrement."
"Oh, I beg to differ. It's not disgusting at all! It's sensory heaven! It's smelling the old masters. The smells are intoxicating, powerful."
"Dogs must not have much of a life," I said.
"As much as anyone can on the end of a leash," he said. "You humans must leave us some sort of avenue for self-expression, don't you think?"
"I thought you expressed yourself quite well barking at Josie and Charlie's new little black puppy. Very ferocious, that barking."
"Excuse me! Now are you going to give me tips on mentoring? You can't start them too young to understand the communications system," he said. "It's vital to our survival."
"And here I thought you were only barking like a maniac. How foolish of me. You were using your communications system."
"Don't be so snide. You don't even know what we're saying. You'll never crack our code. For all you know, we could be planning an insurrection. We could take over the world! Then just think what the bike path would look like! Ha! It would be ‘enriching' beyond your wildest dreams."
"That's good enough reason for me to call the Park Dept. and suggest more ‘trash' containers along the bike path. I've had enough enrichment, thanks."
"Stop getting nose prints on the window."
"Wait until you're at work," I thought I heard him say under his breath.