Sunday, 29 January 2012

Dog Tales

With Bofles returned to university, we must make our own entertainment in the Pad once more. Nostalgic for my own student days, I traipse to North London to visit college neighbours Libs and Diana. The journey is uneventful, though I do end up taking a fairly confusing bus. We talk slobbing and The Lives of People We Know until it feels as though we're back in Cambridge again. Ideal.

At last I summon up the courage to face the cold outside and race for the bus stop to return to Pimlico. It is so cold my nose hurts. Distracting myself, I watch as a man with a dog walks into a cheap-looking shop nearby (called Nisa - a Lidl concession perhaps).

Look! They smile
His dog, a Staffy, is limping. Staffies are nice dogs (I know this because I read it in the Sunday Times) and this one is not so ugly as most. 

I look at his dog. The dog looks at me. The man looks to see what his dog is looking at. I look away. The dog ambles up to me - as best it can. I look at the dog again. Poor dog.

'What did he do to himself?' I say.
Dog-man: 'Him? This my ex girlfriend's dog. Got it a couple of days ago. I let him sleep in my bed! Now I think he's attached….' Laughs. Awkwardly.
'But what's wrong with his paw?'
'He's got glass in it. That's what the ex said. I think. Between you and me, I don't know what to do with him. Been collecting people's numbers - trying to sell him. If no one wants him by the end of the week I'm going to give him to the RSPCA.' [I nod my agreement enthusiastically - this is not a man who should be in sole charge of a pet.]

We look at the dog. There is a pause.

Dog-man: 'So [looking at the bus stop] what you up to?'
'I'm waiting for a bus.'
'Ah! Of course! A bus. Where you off to?'
'Going home.' And then - not to be standoffish - 'Back to Victoria.'
'Yeah? Cool.'


'Oh right.'
'Visit my brother.'
'Brighton's lovely I've heard.' 

Pause. The dog commences shagging bus stop.

Dog-man: 'Bus taking a while isn't it?'
'Really is.'
'Not great travelling around when it's cold like this.'
Dog-man struggling for conversation pieces by now. He casts around for inspiration. At last he sees the dog. His relief is apparent.
'Hey, do you want a dog?'
The bus fails to arrive.

So now I have a dog.