This morning found me in possession of some spare time so I used it to take Doc for a quick little walk down the street and back. I was not expecting, however, to return to middle school during the course of that walk.
Some of you may remember that back in the rosy pre-rock removal surgery days Doc and I took a walk every morning at 6:30am. We walked by several groups of high school, middle school, and elementary school students waiting at street corners for the bus. Most of the time they let us pass without comment, sometimes they hazarded guesses about either my or Doc’s heritage, but mostly it was live and let live and I liked it that way.
I have a lingering fear of being made fun of. I know intellectually that it’s completely preposterous, but there is still a small part of me that gets anxious every time we pass by a group of kids. Until now my fear was unjustified but this morning everything changed.
Doc was wearing his very battered cone (which I had to further trim last night due to stress fractures. It’s so pared down it’s almost for show at this point) and we were taking a quick little walk and minding our own business. We passed a group of high school students and suddenly there was a burst of rapid-fire commentary along the lines of, “That looks ridiculous” “That’s so cruel!” and “Why does he have to wear that?!”. It made me feel very embarrassed and all of a sudden I was back in middle school and feeling the need to hide in the music room so as to escape the mockery of my peers.
We passed them and headed to the end of the street and then turned around, thereby walking by the mouthy group again. They started back up with their loud noises and something in my brain clicked. It was the sudden and liberating epiphany that I am 22 freaking years old and I am too old to be embarrassed by a bunch of guys who likely have yet to meet their first chest hair.
So I did what any self-respecting woman would do: I threw my shoulders back, put my hands at my sides and strutted along that section of concrete sidewalk like it was a catwalk in Milan. I am pretty sure that did nothing to put anyone in their place but it sure made me feel better.
Regardless of my newfound disregard for the opinions of prepubescent boys waiting for the bus, I will be very happy to get Doc out of his cone and back into our normal routine. We all miss our daily walks (and so do our waistlines!) and I miss the glorious ability to bathe my dog when he reeks. Wes filled Doc’s outdoor kennel with straw and I promise to post pictures of Doc inside it because I kid you not, it looks like the world’s largest bird nest. I have the sneaking suspicion that a Labrador with an abundance of spare time and access to a lot of straw is going to yield some awesome pictures.