I went to the dog park today. I prefer going hiking with Sacha, the wonder poodle, because I find it less boring than the dog park. However, the dog likes the dog park. Today’s trip reminded me of this note I put on Facebook. From August 26, 2009.
At least children get older and change. Puppies become dogs in about 2 minutes and then stay dogs and I have been listening to the same inane conversations about dogs for the last 11 years. My dog does the same thing everyday- day in and day out- nothing new. I go to the dog park and I am bored. The dog is happy, delighted even, but I am not a dog and I am bored. However, other people, hereafter known as crazy dog people or CDP, stand around, fascinated, and describe the activities of their dogs- in detail. “How funny: she just ran around the picnic table and stopped.”
At first glance this obsession with one’s own pet might not really seem that notable, but people do this everyday. Not just once, but daily for the entire length of their dogs’ lives and then they get another dog and do it again. “Oh look, they are just standing around and staring at each other. Oh, look, now they are running.” The CDP stand around in groups watching the dogs and give a play-by-play update of all the dog activities “Are you hot Caspar? Look at him just sit and pant. No sitting at the dog park! GO play” Despite the fact that the dogs are actually doing nothing or are, in fact, doing exactly the same thing they did yesterday. “Is that a squirrel? Do you see a squirrel? Is that a squirrel in that tree?” They, then create conversations that they imagine the dogs are having. “He’s saying ‘come on play, play’ and she’s saying ‘I’m hot leave me alone.'” “My dog’s telling your dog that that the other dog is saying that your dog’s mom wears army boots.” Honestly, my husband must have said that sentence at least 1000 times during Thea’s life. Does that sentence even really make sense? (Well actually, in context, that sentence did make sense. In order for you to understand the army boots statement, I would have to give you a blow by blow description of how Thea played, which would be unnecessarily boring and cruel.) “OK now, everyone sniff each others butts.”
I am starting to prefer discussions about other people’s children. A discussion of some kid’s book report is not actually a conversation I have daily and tomorrow that mom will be discussing something else about her kid. I won’t have to relive the same daily book report conversation for 10 years. Alameda Park is full of CDP, while Piedmont Park is oddly not. I am not sure the reason for this distinction between these groups. Piedmont discussions concern business travel, teacher/child relationships (how’s Caitlin getting along with Mr. Garrigan?) softball (did you sign Jonathon up for the child pitch league yet?), prom dresses (I may have hit my limit on conversations about prom dresses), dating, and alcohol and drug consumption. I like the Piedmont group as parents. They seem a little critical of their children, which, as a bystander, is far more amusing than the usual baby worship. As I stand around watching my dog smell a tree, I have a much better chance being amused by a funny story if standing next to some dad complaining about his 17 year old boy.
However, I have lost all patience with discussions about a child’s supposedly remarkable brilliance. In all cases, I have found that discussions about a dog’s intelligence to be far more interesting and actually more impressive than discussions about some kid’s superior intelligence. Kids are nowhere near as impressive as parents seem to think they are, whereas stories about dogs can (on admittedly rare occasions) be quite amusing and impressive. My favorite smart dog was one who could open a deadbolt. This dog’s intelligence was further enhance by the fact his owner was a moron.
My husband is, in fact, a CDP and thinks I should stop fighting and just join them. Though, he will put his head down and walk away if someone starts talking about training methods or mentions dominance. “NO HUMPING!!”
In general, I sit alone on urine-drenched plastic lawn chairs and plan my escape. My dog has bad recall and doesn’t come when he doesn’t want to come. I used to carry around cut-up pieces of handmade, organic, locally farmed, locally produced and (obviously) expensive salami in a small ziplock bag in order to bribe my dog to leave the park with me. In a stunning flash of brilliance on day, I realized that I was actually insane and replaced the salami with chicken hot dogs, which work just as well. My dog still only leaves when he wants to leave.
I need to figure out how to work my ipod.