This is why you can call me a whack job.
Picture it: I am sick in bed – an aching, flab-on-bones stretch of snot and wrinkles. There is a nest on top of my head that is hair uncombed and unwashed for three days. A puffy pile of used Kleenex is growing in the wastebasket and a box of new stuff, a couple of books and a stack of lozenges are within reach. Think of wallowing – in Joe Fresh flannel.
The door is closed and the T.V. is off because on the other side of the wall something important is happening. My child is learning. A savior in the guise of a burly, middle-aged male teacher is filling my kid’s head with math knowledge. I am daydreaming about him drilling a hole and sending it in via a tube (cylinder). Algebra, geometry, number sense and linear relations are trickling in painlessly, at a steady pace, when something external unbalances this imaginary equation.
It’s noise. Loud, brain-jangling noise. There’s incessant, crazed barking from a wild animal during school time in the dining room. I know that sound. Trouble.
I haul my sorry butt to the window and, sure enough, there’s Holyflyingpiranha on the wrong side of the fence. She’s in her boyfriend’s yard, having presumably been lifted over the maximum-security style layers of chain link by someone who shall remain Nameless. Argh.
Girlfriend is clearly done with the weimaraner. She has her sights set on the pup and the aged, crotchety shar pei. HFP wants over that fence to “play” with our next door neighbours’ dogs.Oh my freaking brink of calamity.
She doesn’t play nice, my girl. Not nice at all. Likes to grrrrowl, grab with her teeth and “a shake shake, shake shake a shake it” to the beat of Metro Station. Although she is wonderful with humans and a favourite friend at the nursing home, it’s another ball of fur with dogs (usually extracted from their hides).
We know that. We’ve been trained. There have been so many training sessions and so many trainers, Holyflyingpiranha could be teaching math in the dining room. Her problem is her humans. Mom is one of those anthropomorphic pet owners who typically keeps her out of trouble but doesn’t treat her like the animal she is. Another one of her humans usually instigates the trouble.
And this is it. Girlfriend sees fun. Probably smells blood. Woo hoo! She’s making enough racket to give the bylaw control officer a headache and all I can think is the tutor must be cross-eyed by now.
I stick my sick body out the window and start cooing lovingly. “Coooome….coooome. Treeeat… Come on home honey.” My arm is stuck straight out with her favourite squeaky toy in full view. Squeaking. She races up and down along the fence line. Looks like she’s coming over this way. Almost, almost, almost there. Not.
Back and forth she goes, barking full tilt as I coo and squeak. I want to scream and roar, but what will the tutor think? We’re crazy? I am certifiable. In a split second, the paws are in the links. One, two, she’s over. Math? Dog fight = Holyflyingpiranha + Shar Pei + Puppy – Fence.
I open the bedroom door a crack and rasp, “Sweetheart, could you get (Nameless)? The dog’s next door with the shar pei.” Mr. Grade Nine, head full of zero, is undoubtedly enjoying the distraction. I can hear him bolt from the dining room. In a couple of long minutes Nameless our rescue hero is at the fence – watching the action on the other side. “They’re playing” I can hear him/her say to the neighbour who is out of sight. Apparently she doesn’t agree, so Nameless goes into their yard and retrieves the crasher, lugging her home.
Woo hoo! The mathless teenager bolts from the dining room again, anxious to get to the back door to wipe the dog’s paws. Rrrrf. Slam. Bang. It’s loud. And not over. It never is.
The doorbell rings and Nameless the rescue hero has a few things to say to nobody in particular on the way to the front door. It’s no goodness and I can hear it all from the bedroom. The neighbour – whose dog has been hurt – is barking at a high, furious pitch. F-bombs drop. Kapow. The door closes. They have taken it outside. I can hear, through the wall, Mr. Grade Nine giggling his way through what’s left of a math lesson. 0 = 0 + 0 – 0 x 0 ÷ 0. Nothing and everything.
I wonder about this wall and the properties and variables that allow me to experience math problems from a sickbed behind a closed door. I wonder if the tutor could maybe come drill a hole in my head.
There’s a scratching at the door, so I open it a crack and in comes my girl. She hops up onto her blanket on the bed beside me, sniffing around for her squeaky toy. Lesson over for the day.