A Genius and A Leash
June 06, 2007

A few weeks back Magoo treated himself to a Saturday full of errands which included a trip to the Generic Pet Store. For my life I cannot remember which location has Pet Smart and which has the Pet Savers. To me there is no difference because I cannot also remember which carries Ginger's food and which does not. And I inevitably chose wrong when it comes to that time. To me it is like the color of my toothbrush. I just don't know. There are details of my life that I can never for the life of me remember. Ever. I have a penchant for detail and can tell you that Donna Martin wore a black tube top with a white flower on the first day of school but never in my whole life will I know the color of my toothbrush or which pet store is in which location. So at Generic Strip Mall Pet Store, Magoo purchased a retractable leash for Ginger. He was all hyped up and gung-ho about this development of his progression as a pet owner. He had broached the subject with me a number of times and I dismissed it. We were a family of standard leashes. Quiet, easy, complacent leashes in lovely shades that match the collars. This retractable business was too much for me to consider so I pushed it aside much like his suggestions that I remove my shoes from the front door area. I hear it and I decide it does not jibe with the essence of me so I do nothing about it. Well when you put Magoo alone in Generic Pet Store and hand him a Visa he does what he can. Because lord knows that this tactic WILL WORK TO REMOVE MY SHOES. But I am just saying - I can be bribed. So he bought us the retractable leash and attached it to Ginger's collar and it has been a miserable struggle for me ever since that moment. He poked fun at me and my inability to multi-task while walking the dog. The bag, the bag filled with poop, the retraction mechanism, and quite often the cell phone and of course just plain walking - which often times is one of the biggest challenges. Well I cannot master all these things. And the leash gives me serious anxiety. I cannot control it properly, she is either choking on it or roaming freely through my neighbors bedroom it is just that long. I can never get the mechanism to catch and in seconds she is 199 feet ahead of me eating yesterday's garbage. It is just a mess.

This evening I took her out for her nightly constitutional and at the same time was on the phone with Magoo. This I blame on him. Being in Philadelphia means that I HAVE TO talk on the phone to him while walking the dog. She inevitably made her way around and around a tree while he and I are discussing whether Philadelphia really is dirty and how he could get lost and wind up in New Jersey. I managed to notice that she had some how made two circles around the tree as the leash has that much slack. With my semi-free hand I "unwrapped" her leash trying to undo her circles but only created another one and somehow also a knot. And at this point she still had enough leash to wander aimlessly through the neighbors yard. I say shit very loudly - as now there was a beagle tied to my neighbors tree. I urgently hung up with Magoo, or really just cursed a lot and dropped my phone on the concrete, and again try to reign her in. No luck - there are now two knots. She was gently pulling and trying her best to get into the flower beds. So I do what only seems rational - I sit down on the sidewalk and try to undo the circles and knots to make sure she does no more damage. This must have looked totally normal - who wouldn't feel safe seeing a girl in running shorts sitting on the sidewalk outside their home at 10:30 on a Thursday night? I recognize this and make another well planned move - I take off Ginger's leash. She sees this as any poorly trained dog would - as freedom and she starts to run. I run too, which is not something I do ever or well and especially not in flip-flops. Luckily she sees home as a good destination and I whole heartily agree. I opened the door, grabbed the spare leash, strapped her in, and headed back to the tree. I am getting girlfriend points here, right? I seriously contemplated letting the leash stay there and walking her in the complete opposite direction pretending this NEVER HAPPENED. But, 1) how do I explain to Magoo that his prized leash is tied in knots to a neighbors tree; and 2) what would the neighbors think? So we proceeded back to the tree to untie the knots. This was a smidge easier as there was not a stubborn dog attached to one end pulling on it. But it was still abhorrently difficult as it was night and there are about 73 knots. There was also a friendly neighbor type watching. "How'd ya get so many knots in there?" Now that is the kind of support I am looking for - right to the point and annoying. I ignore him and slowly and mechanically undo every single knot thinking that Magoo better appreciate me rescuing his leash. Because I know that I am NEVER using the damned thing again. We walked the rest of the block with the spare leash all blissful and normal like old times. No thinking involved and the Beagle kept at a normal distance. And when I got home I left my shoes at the front door. That's just how I am.

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Blogger JustRun said:

Haha! Great post! I could totally imagine my [ungraceful] self in the same perdicament!

6:39 AM 

Blogger Bre said:

Just like JR, that could have been me... except I probably would have left the leash on the tree and cursed up a blue streak.

Also, let Magoo know that Philadelphia isn't dirty by nature - it's the New Jersey runoff that makes us look bad! ;)

6:59 AM 

Blogger K said:

While I found the leash incident entertaining, I have to say I mostly relate to the comment about not knowing what color your toothbrush is. If there are more than two, I never know which is mine (i tend to identify by the bristles), and I also can never remember what brand of toothpaste I like (i've actually taken my old tube to the store to match it!). Glad to know I'm not alone :) btw - I definitely think you're better off with the old leash!

8:34 AM 

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Magoo in camden?! That would be really bad.

9:11 AM 

Blogger brookem said:

i just loved this post. you are such a good storyteller. every detail, i just felt so THERE with you. i too would have flipped. you handled yourself better than i would have. i love that you know donna martin's shirt on the first day of school.

10:58 AM 

Anonymous ruby said:

I agree with brookem, you're a great storyteller! If this were me I'm thinking I might have left the leash there!

1:01 PM 

Blogger e.b. said:

Thanks y'all. I was not too pleased at the time and two glasses of wine into my night- but looking back it makes for a funny story.

Magoo did not actually make it to NJ - but he has a tendency to get lost so we joked he would wind up in Jersey...he is back safe and sound with only a minor adventure with a Philly cab driver.

4:56 PM 

Blogger Tony said:

You have a spare the rod spoil the child type situation here. I've had your lousy dog eat a hamburger off my plate. Fuck that, bust out the hickory stick and teach that pup some discipline! T

7:08 PM 

Blogger Runner Girl FL said:

It's funny somethings get better with technology and somethings are just so much easier without. And that's coming from a physicist!! I think the retractable leash is more trouble than it's worth too. I helped dog sit once and what a pain!!

8:17 AM 

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