So this morning I took the girls in for their pedicure . . . we get to the vet at 9:39 am and it's 40 degrees outside, the last cold morning of spring really, and we check in at the desk and take our seat on the pews, yes our vet got a hold of some old church pews for the waiting room and well, the dogs love them. My girls are nervous, and they jump right up on the pews to sit as close to me as they can, not like my boy hound, he takes everything in stride, but the girls? They have to go in the car together or not at all.
So I'm sitting there, flanked by Pansy on my left and Luna on my right, and this gal walks in the door with her lovely elderly yellow lab and some kinda bouncy elk hound mix, and the first thing I notice is she's dressed entirely wrong for the chilly morning. She's got white capri pants and a billowy shirt and flip flops . . . and a tan, and painted toes, something I aspire to but never have, really brightly painted toes, and then I hear her announce to the ladies behind the counter, "We just got back from a Cruise. Oh, I feel so wonderful, so wonderful. I had a massage every day, do your hear me? Every day!" And then she turned to us, those of us waiting in the pews for our turn - dogs quaking in their coats, wondering if this will be the day that they'll just be left here, abandoned, never to go home, and just how big are those needles going to be? And what will they stick in my ears today? And I'll try not to pee on the scale, but there are so many cats, so many cats! If they would just get rid of the cats, I might be able to get through this whole thing without embarrassing myself.
. . . so she turns to us, and her billowy shirt and her capri pants are understandable now - she came straight from the gang plank to the vets, no time to get back into her civvies, and she zeroes in on me and she says, "Have you ever been on a cruise?"
"No, no I can't say I ever have . . . " as I put my hands on my hounds, thinking about what might happen next.
"Well, I highly recommend Royal Caribbean! They're just the best! I had a massage every day!" She sat down on the pews nearby and her dogs were very polite, they stayed on the floor, unlike my two, who must have their paws on me as they await their fate, the pedicure and the scales and the cats you know? And so we are now formerly introduced, "This is Polly, short for Polly Wog and this is Chloe, she's 16, 16! Can you believe it?"
"No, no I can't, she's remarkably youthful looking, " I say, and I was telling the truth.
"I'm sorry to make everyone so jealous, " she says, "I mean aren't you all just sooo jealous of me? I went on a cruise!"
And this is where I couldn't help myself, I just couldn't, "Oh no apologies necessary, I lived on Bermuda for two years, I used to watch all those ships go by, day and night from my house." And the billow in her shirt went a little flat and she cocked her head at me and one of the ladies behind the desk said, "Oh! I cruised to Bermuda once! Did you love living there?" And I said it was fine, just fine, and best in the Off Season and then I wanted to tell her how miserable I thought all those tourists looked when they stumbled off the ships in town, but that wasn't right for the moment, and then Mrs. Capri Pants began to tell me about the years she lived in California, about the beach she lived close to, back when Chloe was a pup and how she married her husband back in 1996 and they went to Alberta, Canada in the Off Season, how cheap the hotel was and there were hardly any people there at all, and she liked it that way, because she didn't go to a place to see people, you know?
I know! And we all went quiet for a moment and the dogs shifted in their seats and finally, a door opened and the vet tech called, "Luna? Pansy? You can come in now . . . "