Difficult people

It’s become my routine to walk the dogs to the coffee shop every morning. I often pass a large bus filled with barking dogs on the way home. There’s no signage on the bus, so I asked the driver one day what the deal was.

He told me it’s a doggie day care bus that takes dogs to a farm. I watch immaculately coiffed women wearing expensive exercise gear give their fur babies to the driver in the morning and, I presume, collect them again in the evening.

The immaculately coiffed women often hand the bus driver Gladwrap-covered plates. My next question to the driver will be: are the treats for the dogs or you?

Actually, that might sound rude. I’ll just sticky beak instead.

As I pass the bus and the immaculately coiffed women, I wonder whether the fee for this service would equate to a decent daily wage for me.

It’s a funny old life that I live in well-heeled suburbia.

I meet a lot of the same characters on my morning walks. There’s a bloke in his mid-80s whose wife died a few months ago. Before she passed away he told me how hard it was to care for her. He didn’t think he could do it, but he managed to keep her at home with him until almost the end.

He doesn’t know what to do with himself now that she’s gone, he just walks and fights with his neighbours and walks some more. He’s pretty quick on his feet for an octogenarian, but his eyes are sad.

He loves to pat my dogs, so they start dragging me down the street whenever they see him in the distance. He has a bit of a reputation for being a cranky old bloke, but we get along fine. Difficult people are my specialty, I can usually win them over through sheer force of will, hard work and humour. Although, every now and then I strike someone who steadfastly dislikes me on sight. I struggle with it and worry about the flaw that might be the cause. I know I should simply shrug my shoulders and move along, but that’s not how an over-thinker’s mind works.

The old man finds me entertaining – he asks for regular updates on how my renovation is going and shakes his head in consternation at my answers. I also shake my head in consternation about STILL not being able to use the shower after five months. It has been a very long haul.

In the meantime, I am trying to make the place look stylish, without spending any money. My grandmother’s old leadlight cabinet was dusted off yesterday and positioned next to the velvet sofa.

The youngest does not approve of the cabinet. She reckons it doesn’t “go” with the rest of the furniture. She’s a harsh critic.

The living room really needs an enormous rug to anchor it, but enormous rugs come with enormous price tags, so the room will just have to look bare for a while.

OK, I’d better get up and go for that daily walk.

PS Speaking of women in exercise gear and dogs … I came across this wacky exercise video on YouTube …

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