Sunday, February 22, 2009

Overheard around town, part trois

This is apropros of nothing, but could there be anything grosser than a chocolate chip bagel?
I mean, why?
I ate one at work by accident, and the combination of slightly sour bagel dough with chocolate-flavored nibs was so unexpected and awful, that I had to spit it out.
On to much weightier topics. Ha.
Out walking the dog yesterday, I passed by an older gentleman ambling along with a little white terrier.
If you don't know this already, older gentlemen with little dogs are always going to stop and talk.
It's a fact. A law of nature. Like gravity.
I wasn't in the mood for an extended conversation, but I slowed and said hello, hoping it would be brief.
The man greeted me and the dog as if we were old friends. (We have said hello once.) He enquired about my dog's breed, energy level, name--laughing heartily that in English, his name means "garlic"--and peppered in asides about his own obviously beloved Marie-Louise. The dogs sniffed each other, playfully batted forelegs, conducted further, more intrusive sniffing, then stood looking in opposite directions, clearly over it.
But the older gentleman was on a talkative roll.
There's a moment in conversations where you know that you've crossed over from dialogue to monologue. You realize this and lose all hope, not just for the chat, but for your plans in general, your need to be elsewhere. It's that moment where your conversational partner has made the assessment, intentional or not, that you are not a human being worthy of attention, but rather a receptacle, a disembodied ear into which all manner of rants and claims may be poured.
I got a hint of this yesterday as the older gentleman soliloquized about an acquaintance in Mexico, and her extra-tall husband, and their children named Olivia and Max, and had he mentioned how much he loved Mexican food--
I started to edge away, but my dog was sprawled across the pavement as though tucked in for a nap.
The government is corrupt! the older gentleman cried. The American government is the most corrupt in the entire world.
Mayday, mayday. Corrupt government? This was Hyde Park material. I looked down at my comatose dog, who normally hauls at the leash as though the world's largest squirrel is lurking just around the next corner.
Corruption, the old man insisted, gleeful.
We have to be off. Have a great morning, I said, with a determined smile. My dog jumped up, yawning.
The old man said, only a little deflated, his eyes invisible behind dark glasses, Good-bye Mr. Garlic.

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