19 February 2010

They live in their own little ship on their own little sea.


There is a house on our street that is far tinier even than my house. In some towns, you call them shanties, some towns you might say cottage. I just call it a tiny, tiny house. Let's say the size of a box of animal crackers. The kind with the string on top, drawings of exotic animals lining the sides. This house, maybe, even smaller than that box. It has a little porch, and the porch is held together with nautical ropes so that you might think an old sea captain lives there. If you walk by and you blink, you will not see the tiny house.

Inside lives a lady who seems large to fit in this house. Whether or not she is a sea captain, I do not know. I do know she has a large black dog, sort of ubiquitous type of lab, who looks like a square box propped up on toothpick legs, with an equally square head and flappy ears.

In the mornings, sometimes before it's all the way light, the woman who may or may not travel the seas wears a raincoat over her slumber robe and walks with her dog in the street. Sometimes she bounces a tennis ball for the dog, other days they just walk together. Some days she wears the bright white sneakers, that stand out against the the dark green raincoat and sparkle out of the dim, and on some days, thick puffy boots that lace up to keep out the snow. Which we have never, ever seen on our street.


The face of the dog, a happy sight to see. He stares only at the raincoat mother, as they shamble along, avoiding cars. Never once does he bat an eye at us, even though, on the tennis ball days, Otterpop throws him the stink eye and pulls me towards his slowly bouncing ball. Today he sat motionless as she loaded some bags into the trunk of her very large, bleached out sedan. A relic from the '70's, with a trunk about the same size as her house. The paint job, perhaps once the color of champagne, faded now to the chipped and scratched color of smog. He watched her carefully as she loaded in the bags, then she bounced a tennis ball for him and he shuffled quickly over to pick it up and return it to her hand. Quickly being a relative term, because their pace always looks excrutiatingly, painfully slow to me.

We walked by and said hello, just as a striding man in a power ranger belt came striding along. A power ranger belt is a big wide belt, with yellow plastic rings that sat low on his hips. I don't really know why you would need one. The striding man wore tights and strode with the biggest steps I've seen, as if his legs were made from super hero rubber. He had ipod ears on and never lifted his eyes from the pavement, and he strode by us both, with stretched out steps that seemed much too long for his wirey, stunty legs legs.

The woman from the house of the sea captain didn't seem to notice him. Her dog's gaze never shifted from her. She has a very quiet voice and if I wasn't listening careful, I wouldn't have heard her hello. She just rolled the tennis ball again, and her dog shuffled to pick it up, and their eyes only looked at each other after that.

5 comments:

Mary said...

Aw, Laura, you oughta be in pictures! Er, I mean, you oughta be a writer! I mean, wow, you ARE such a great writer!

team small dog said...

Naw, what I am is just the creepy neighborhood stalker.

For Part 2 Behind the Scenes of this story, I decided to take the dogs down the street to the tiny house to get a photo of the nautical ropes late at night in the dark. And so there I was, standing behind a vine covered telephone pole with 3 pulling dogs and a camera, and I realized I am wearing leopard print pajama bottoms tucked into rainboots with a black eskimo parka over the whole ensemble. Just as the passive aggressive guy from down the block walked by.

Does full disclosure make the story better or worse? I'm not sure. But I do know it makes it different.

Mary said...

OMG. I think you need to bring Otterpop with you for protection when you are out in public wearing your leopard skin pill box hat. Pyjamas.

Mary said...

Wait, you did have the team for protection. OK. But a nice large Border Collie along, too, would be best.

penichops said...

I swear I just saw a person in yellow walk across the side of the photo of the house... GHOST HOUSE