|You can tell the bear is trying to escape.|
I really shouldn’t have been in a bad mood. Three weeks ago I started a new job, and I completely love it. I make double what I made at my last job and everyone I work with seems to love being there. For these first few weeks, I have actually looked forward to going to work.
Weird, I know.
But there is a tournament series going on, which means the poker room is busier and they need us to work more shifts. I am now halfway through thirteen straight days of work.
I don’t care what kind of job you have, thirteen straight days is annoying.
What bothered me the most, however, was the fact that the Flyers played their first game of the second round of playoffs yesterday. At work, there are televisions broadcasting the game in every direction, but it just isn’t the same watching the game out of the corner of my eye while dealing hands of poker. Aside from the Game 1 and Game 3 (which I went to) of the first round, I have had to watch every playoff game at work.
To top things off, traffic was moving slowly on West Chester Pike, and various annoyances had led me to walk out the door later than I wanted, so there was a growing fear of being late for work.
So there I sat at a red light, fatigued from being overworked, antsy for traffic to get moving, and daydreaming of watching that afternoon’s game at home with a beer.
As the red light changed to green and the river of cars began to trickle down the road, a dog’s head popped out of the backseat window of the minivan in front of me.
This isn’t a particularly compelling event. Dogs are always popping their heads out of cars.
What was different about this dog’s head was the fact that it didn’t belong to a living creature, but rather a stuffed animal.
As traffic mercifully moved faster and faster, the dog became braver, sticking more of his body out, revealing the torso of a Dalmatian with its front legs acting as humanoid arms.
The hands of a child contorted the dog’s head to peer over the ledge of the window to see the whizzing street below it. Then the hands twisted the head to gaze forward to see where they were headed and to take in the wind.
We slowed down -- the minivan and my car -- and we came to a stop at another red light. The dog took this opportunity to wave to the people in the car that was sitting next to them. Then the dog turned backwards and, with the help of the child’s hand, waved to me.
It was at this point that I laughed gleefully, completely thrilled that I was included in the show. I waved back, although I did not notice any little human eyes witnessing my salute.
Apparently they had, though. Because at this point another dog peered out of the right backseat window and began waving with the assistance of a different set of tiny human hands. Not to be outdone, this dog waved and blew kisses.
* * *
I remember doing this very thing when I was a child. I had a Snoopy security blanket, with which I was inseparable.
|This is the exact version. Mine is frayed, though and has |
huge holes from years and years of
Snoopy and I went on many adventures together, but one adventure that he got to go on without me was his exploration out the car window. I imagine it was an exhilarating experience for him, but it was equally thrilling for me.
The joy was two-fold.
For one thing, I was doing something naughty. I knew that I was not supposed to stick my hand out of the window, and even as a child I understood that sticking my stuffed animal out of the window was an inherent provision of the aforementioned rule. Getting away with such mischief was exciting.
Secondly, I wasn’t just holding Snoopy out the window.
I was Snoopy.
I was seeing what he saw and feeling what he felt. As a human boy, I could not stick my head and body out of a moving vehicle, so I had to extend myself to my stuffed dog’s head and body as he experienced the world at 50, 60, 70 miles per hour.
Looking back, it amuses me that I can’t remember a goal of this “game.” Snoopy wasn’t trying to escape anywhere. Nor was he looking for anything. Yet it was vividly etched in my mind as an epic adventure, even though the only action was sticking him outside of the car.
Perhaps the thrill came from the fact that there was a chance that Snoopy could fall out of the car and be forever lost (although, that was a very slight chance, due to my death-grip on my best friend).
When I had determined that his mission was complete, I pulled Snoopy back into the secure confines of the car and hugged him tightly.
We had made it through the ordeal and he was now safe and sound in that special tender embrace that could only be shared between a loving owner and his most beloved toy.
* * *
The turn signal on the minivan began to blink and before I knew it, the van was turning into a gas station. I sped up a bit as it turned to enable the kids to see me waving, but I wasn’t fast enough. All I could see was the dog rotating 45 degrees clockwise and counterclockwise, so as to simulate dancing.
I didn’t see how old they were or if they were boys or girls. I didn’t see if they were completely entranced with their animals and each other, in their own little bubble, or if they were giddy with laughter at a reaction from a person in another car.
As I drove on, I realized that it was a good thing that I hadn’t seen the kids.
Because everyone knows that good puppeteers lose their power when they are seen.
For all I knew, I had just seen two stuffed animals come to life, catching the breeze from a car ride on a nice day, sniffing the outside world, perhaps pondering escape.
Just two dogs with owners who love them and treat them just like real dogs. Owners who use them as an extension of themselves so that they can see the world from a different set of eyes. A set of eyes that is not confined by seatbelts or windows.
A set of eyes that is not held back by minivans or parents.
Yes, a child’s imagination is the only place where stuffed dogs can have real-dog adventures, but for that car ride, that’s the way I saw it too.
The way I used to.
And honestly, when you can look at the world this way, who cares where you watch the hockey game?
Linking up with Dude Write. Go over there and check out some awesome male writers with some great stories to tell.