We had an early morning shower today. It delayed our usual walk and my morning relief trip. The Geezer did give me the chance to take a wet restroom break. He donned the raincoat, hoisted an umbrella, and invited me to get soaked. Since he hasn’t seen fit to buy me either device, I declined on principle, though it did cause me some discomfort. Besides, lightning danced around the overcast. While I’ve absolutely no objection to getting wet, fried is another matter.
When the storms moved inland and we finally got outside, I wasn’t in a good mood. I admit it. Even though I know I shouldn’t, I get surly, argumentative, and just plain obstinate when I get an attitude. It showed. First, I generally wait to deposit my used food in one of the large fields we pass on our daily stroll. Not today. As we passed our most intolerant neighbor’s yard, I stopped right next to their driveway, and plopped a full load, forcing the Geezer to use the plastic bag he carries for such indiscretions. I grinned at the thought of his having to tote my load for the entire walk.
Normally we function as a team, striding along in concert, discussing and solving the world’s problems. Today I let him know I was pissed from the second we left our house. I didn’t initiate any conversation, my answers were “one worders,” and I pulled forward, wandered to the side, and hung back sniffing at imaginary smells, all the time keeping my 74 pounds staining against the leash. I showed him…kind of. Like most behavior of that type, the recipient isn’t happy about accepting it.
At first, the Geezer was his normal cheery talkative self. He tried his best to start up a conversation. And, he did his best to be understanding the first couple of times I tried to jerk him off his feet. But even the Geezer has a limit on his patience. Pretty soon it became quiet, he shortened the amount of leash he’d give me, and his 270 pounds were pulling back…forcefully.
When we reached the outer limit of the daily route we travel and he didn’t stop and offer me a snack, I knew I’d carried my protest to far. I figured I’d best offer some olive branches. The first was to fall into stride next to him. He soon relaxed the slack on the leash. After we’d walked that way for a while, he halted and gave me some bacon. I do have him well trained. My strategy was working.
I knew if I got him engaged in a stimulating conversation I’d be back in his good graces. But, I also knew it couldn’t seem contrived. The old boy’s sense of smell is still sharp when it comes to detecting red herrings. I waited until we approached one of our neighbors cutting his grass.
Delbert is a guy who looks like his name sounds. (He doesn’t like being called Del.) The Geezer is a big, heavy man, but his body has some form. Visualize Delbert. Think of a lumpy pile of vanilla pudding wrapped in a stretched tee shirt and Bermuda shorts. Now see him perched on a big John Deere riding lawnmower. His yard is one of the smallest in the ‘hood, is covered with more concrete, rocks, and outdoor carpet than any other, and the grass planted there suffers from every malady known to botanists. The total green space could be covered by an area rug purchased as a “Blue Light Special” from K-mart. The mower probably covers a tenth of the lawn’s area just sitting on it. However, an idea was beginning to form in my canine cranium.
I listened to the conversation in which Delbert and the Geezer were engaged. “Your yard looks like it could use some fertilizer,” The Geezer said.
“Yes. you’re right. My electric fertilizer spreader is broken. It’s too much work to do by hand.” Delbert, reached around to the cooler strapped behind the John Deere’s seat. He pulled out two beers. The Pillsbury Dough-boy double popped the cap on one bottle and offered it to the Geezer. “Have a Heinie.”
“No thanks, I’m on a diet,” the Geezer lied.
“More for me.” Delbert slurped down 2/3’s of the first brew while putting its brother between his legs for safe keeping. It disappeared in the folds of vanilla, submerged to a point where sonar would be required to re-establish contact. Old Delbert moved in the mower seat and I thought I might have detected seismic activity.
“Looks like you’ve got some new toys.” The Geezer pointed to three large empty cardboard cartons discarded in the driveway.
“Oh yeah!” Delbert said enthusiastically. “Sure and shit have. I got one of them dumb waiter elevator things to carry the groceries up the steps. It comes with a TV camera that feeds into my security system. There’s also a new super-duty trash compactor. Gets rid of organics somehow, I didn’t understand what the salesman said about that, and it mashes everything left into such a solid block I’ll only have to take the trash down a quarter as much as I did.”
“What’s that box from?” The Geezer asked, pointing to a carton with the word MaxiMus printed on it.
“Oh, almost forgot. That’s my new exercise set. It has timers, vitals monitoring, a TV set, extra soft cushions, and a motorized weight changer. It’s a cool piece of equipment. It even has a beverage dispenser built in.” Delbert beamed. “Come over some time and we can work out.”
I could tell from the Geezer’s expression this was one invitation he’d pass on. We said our goodbyes. As we continued our walk, I could read his mind. I said, “I agree, Geezer.”
“About what, Sandy?”
“Why buy an exercise machine when you could get a workout just doing some of the tasks Delbert buys tools to do?” I said.
“Yep, good question, and think of the electric energy he wastes. Old Delbert is one of those folks whose always screaming about the environment, but won’t do squat to help when it comes to his life. He should have been a politician.” The Geezer grunted and shook his head. “He could carry his groceries up the stairs and get about as much sweat generated as he will on his new gym set.”
“Three wasted purchases,” I opined, hoping to keep the conversation going.
The old man removed his hat and scratched his head. “I don’t know Sandy. The trash compactor could be good. Getting rid of food scraps and reducing the size of what goes into landfills wouldn’t be bad. Though…I’m not sure making it into a solid block that might never go away is a positive. But, hell, I”m no expert on that kind of thing.”
That gave me a brilliant idea; one sure to make the Geezer forget my ugly behavior that morning and to insure his gratitude. I thought of a way to act on his words. I waited most of the day for the opportunity I knew would present itself. Finally it came. A bag of loosely packed garbage was left on the kitchen floor awaiting its trip to the can downstairs. It was full of tasty leftovers, food wrappers, and other eatables. As a “green” dog, I tore into the bag, and…my ordained work as a responsible environmentalist. I ripped the large items to shreds and devoured the waste organics, plus a few things of whose identities I wasn’t too sure. I’d reduced a 30″ high sack to a floor covering that didn’t rise over a half inch. Granted, it did extend out over a 6′ square area.
You know what I got for my hard work? Scolded. Can you believe? You do exactly what humans want and they get mad at you! A beagle friend of mine, trained to hunt mind you, expressed this piece of wisdom right after he tracked down some chickens on his human’s neighbor’s farm, “No good deed goes unpunished.” Humans. There’s just no understanding them.