life’s a dog

Our new puppy suddenly froze in his tracks.  His ears pricked up.  Then he scooted out of the living room and into the kitchen.  Curious, I followed.

When I got to the kitchen, he had vanished completely.  I began a search and noticed a crevasse behind the refrigerator where some bricks had fallen.  I waited while the muffled sounds of a pursuit circled the walls of the house, growing closer then fainter, around and around, for as long as a puppy has energy—which is a long time.

Finally the dog wriggled back out through the hole, panting, thoroughly defeated by his invisible opponent.

lovely rita

A loose tire causes my steering to be rough and my car to veer off course on my long commute.  I end up in an enclave of Middle Eastern shops and decide to eat lunch.  I enter one shop just as family members from another try to wave me over to their side of the street.  I smile but don’t pause, purchasing a falafel wrap.

When I leave, the second family is still waiting to greet me with samples of several other dishes.  There are two older relatives and a boy and girl of college age.  They tell me their S.A.T. II scores, and naively (for scorers in the 2000 range) ask questions about the college where I teach.  I take a moment to encourage them to attend the best school they can.  Apparently, there has been much parental objection to this plan, particularly in the girl’s case.  Her name is Rita.  I order one dish, a sweet pilaf.  In the end, I am trying to help Rita to make her case.

 ball chase

Playing baseball at an unfamiliar park.  On my first at-bat I came up with the bases loaded, chose a light black bat, and struck out.  When my team took the field, no one joined me in the outfield, and soon I was being sent left and right and all over retrieving balls, for the other team was very good.  Following an initial out, nearly every at-bat resulted in a home run.

I recall only one decent throw I made to a cut-off man to hold a runner at third.  I felt no strain on my arm at the time.  But when I released the ball, it moved slowly, as though underwater, before popping into his mitt.

Another long drive sent me chasing the ball over the fence and far up an embankment to a maintenance shed.  Inside the shed was a young woman—brunette, freckled, and only partly clothed, who confessed she had been instructed to distract me away from the game.  But if this had been a ruse to run up the score, didn’t she see how unnecessary it was?

channel crossing

In an international swim meet representing the USA.  It is a race across the ocean, perhaps the English Channel, and I am the favorite.  As we approach the finish, an Australian and a German pull ahead of me.  Will I still have time for a final burst of my own?  I put my head down to really crank it out for a while. When I can do no more, I look up.  There is no one in sight.

 security checkpoints

I am faced with many airport hurdles—not just a series of security checkpoints, but a pedestrian detour down several flights of stairs.  I finally end up at the desk of an obscure airline which has the word “School” in its name.  There, a sarcastic attendant assesses a huge fly over water charge before allowing me to board.   This final delay forces me into a sprint along the tarmac and I end up missing my flight.

 chinese marketplace                                       

Background music plays somewhere near a Chinese market, a soft orchestral lament.   Curious, I walk through side streets to retrace it to its source.  But there is no single band—rather, on a street corner here, a flute player; on a street corner there, a percussionist; and so on.

 golden gate

I was crossing the Golden GateBridge on foot, but it was a different bridge, spanning the Sacramento River and suspended by a fine mesh.  I paused when I got toward the end, taking a moment to appreciate the wild tossing current and majestic red rock cliffs, covered near the shore by giant abalones.

 mudman

There is rioting in the streets of New Orleans, and I head uptown to escape it.  But a police officer sees me, and, thinking I am fleeing the scene of a crime, sets off in pursuit.

I wind through the streets of the Quarter and down to the river, stop by a worksite where construction workers are shoveling dirt to reinforce a levee.  Not thinking twice, I jump into a pool of mud and emerge unrecognizable, covered head to toe.

Mudman, mudman, escape while you can.

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One response »

  1. Nuggehalli Pankaja says:

    Mr.Montgomery has taken us to quite a few places within a short time and given us a glimpse of adventure.

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