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The Bulldog Walker

bulldog walker -

A mostly true story about an unneighborly bulldog walker and the nameless bulldog in her charge. And why I won’t answer to the name “Carol.”

The other day I ran into a lady on my hall who I’d met many weeks back. I see her around the Fire Clay Lofts minimum-security compound quite a bit, but we never really get the chance to chat. The other day she was in the hallway tugging the cute bulldog I always see three balconies over. “I love him! I love him, I love him,” I cried as I jogged up to them.

Lady: You need to calm down. He gets overly excited around people.

Carolyn: Wow. That’s tough. You know, with the insane number of people in the world and all.

Lady: Just try not to raise your voice or pet him too excitedly.

Carolyn: Right on. So what’s his name? How long have you had him?

[Prolonged silence. The lady stopped, pirouetted, and stared me down.]

Lady: He’s not my dog.

Carolyn: Oh.

Lady: I’m not your neighbor.

Carolyn: Okie doke.

Lady: I don’t even live in your building.

Carolyn: The plot thickens.

Lady: I live in the next building over. I’m a dog walker.

Carolyn: Roger that.

Lady: Haven’t you noticed me walking different dogs every time you see me?

Carolyn: Apparently not.

Lady: We’ve met twice before. Do you even remember my name?

[Second prolonged silence. I stopped, pirouetted, and stared down the nameless bulldog in the hopes that he could telepathically share with me some key information. Stat.]

Lady: I do know your name. It’s “Carol.”

The first thought that occurred to me: Man, I hate the name “Carol.” I answer to Carolyn, and I answer to Caroline. I have no idea who “Carol” is. Now for the record, she could have called me Hermione or Aphrodite or Vestibule, and I would have been happier than her having called me “Carol.” (Yes, I know “vestibule” isn’t a woman’s name. It’s today’s vocabulary word. It’s a passage, hall, or room between the outer door and the interior of a building. This blog is nothing if not educational.)

The second thought that occurred to me: My attention to detail borders on the nonexistent. What car does that guy drive? What was that woman wearing? What did that house, building, theater, church, restaurant, store look like? And how had I missed the fact that the bulldog walker wasn’t my neighbor? I couldn’t write a memoir if I tried. Let’s just say there’s a reason I write fiction.

Lady: I’m still here.

Carolyn: Sorry. My brain’s awhirl. Mind if we start over? I’m Carolyn …

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