The night before my mom flew to California she stayed at my house so she could be closer to the airport, and so she could drop off her favorite child dachshund, Goliath, who would be spending the week with his favorite cousin Suzanna while Mom was away. Goliath is one of those perfect dogs: he’s cute, he does what he’s told, he doesn’t chew on the furniture, he doesn’t mind staying outside, and he is madly in love with you. Yes, YOU. Yes, I know you haven’t met, but it doesn’t matter. Mere minutes into your relationship he will sit at your feet and gaze up into your eyes Keanu Reaves in…any Keanu Reaves movie.
His only fault, if you can call it that, is the barking. Now, my mother lives in the city limits, but her town is in the foothills of Virginia where it’s not uncommon for one’s driveway to appear to go straight up into the heavens, making it seem as though your house is not really IN the city. This is precisely the situation with my mom’s house. Hence, Goliath is not used to actually seeing cars pass by on a regular basis, and when a car does come near the house it means said car is most likely in the driveway and deserves to be barked at in all manners of ferocity. MY house is on a level cul-de-sac, and while there is certainly not a steady stream of traffic during the day, there are apparently a few people who come and go with regularity. And every time they came and went, Goliath barked at them. A lot.
Or so says my neighbor. I should mention that I love my neighbor. I couldn’t ask for a better neighbor. She is kind and funny and friendly, but not nosy, and we have always had a mutual respect for each other’s privacy, needs, and concerns. But last Monday she was waiting for me when I pulled into my driveway, and she was pissed. Apparently she was working from home on a “report” and had a “deadline” and she “simply could not concentrate for the barking.” I was quite clear on these points, because five minutes into the conversation she had mentioned those three facts about 89 times. And every time I responded, “I’m sorry, but he’s not staying in the house while I’m at work. He’s leaving on Wednesday. I’m sorry.” What I really wanted to say was, “You know, there’s a Panera just up the street. They have free wireless Internet. I’m sure it would be a perfectly quiet place to work.” But I was in a hurry and kept moving closer and closer to my house in an attempt to convey my disinterest in continuing the conversation. After all, there was nothing left for me to say and I did not want to grow increasingly angry at a person whose company I normally enjoy. Meanwhile, the entire time this conversation was taking place, Goliath was gazing up at my neighbor with a look of pure adoration on his face. See above. No wonder he’s Mom’s favorite.