Sat down to write to you today. This is what came out. I was tempted to turn it into poetry. Maybe it is. Anyway, hello from Long Beach… And happy 2012!
The first half of our walk around the block, I am thinking about work. Finding work. What I will write to whom and how. I start to develop a cover letter in my head. The dog darts back and forth across the sidewalk. Leaves crunch. Tree to shrub, sniffing all the way… “Dear Sir or Madam, I am writing in response to your request for applicants.” He stops predictably at the corner, by the lamppost, does his business, steps away and huffs, scratches at the pavement while I clean it up… “My experience in not only administration but also in sales, management, and training/teaching should fulfill nicely all of the job’s requirements.” We cross the street.
Coming back down the other side, he does more of the same. By the time I see a man—with two dogs, 150 yards or so away—he is crossing the street, then passing us. Filou smells them, then hears them, then sets his sights on them and leans into his huff and scruff. Though the street between us is not wide, the man and I do not speak. I am thinking about how much information to give in my cover letter. Do I mention my time in France? How there were always so many people on the streets? How that last day—on our way up Rue de la Roquette to buy new rings so we could put the old ones in a drawer and move on—how that German Shepard came after him, sensed his fear, and began to snap and snarl. How I lifted him into my arms and that German Shepard kept after him, sniffing his backside, and how those punk-rock homeless guys just stood around laughing and I didn’t find the French to yell at them. « Elle est ou, sa laisse ?! Control ton chien, merde. » No « monsieur. » They would never call me madame.
The man across the street probably would speak to me, if I spoke to him… or even looked at him. I second guess my etiquette. Rue de Lappe was a different crowd, cluttered and drunken at night, high heels on the cobblestones. You try not to make eye contact, which is hard when you like to watch people like I do. Only in the morning was that street ever quiet, littered with broken glass and a feel of propriety. Paris wakes up slowly, especially Rue de Lappe. But I was thinking about work, about rewriting my resume for the fourth time this year. I was walking the dog and letting the coffee sink in.
When we get home, the Rose Parade is being rebroadcast. The surfing bulldog on the most anticipated float of the year can’t catch a wave. The wave maker seems to be giving them troubles, but the TV is on mute so I’m not really sure. No troubles this year, please. You, up there. Maybe a budget trip to Paris, a couple of part-time jobs to cobble together. A little spare time for writing, lots of reading. I don’t ask a lot. Maybe I should.
But I was talking about walking the dog, how it’s different here.