13 Mar

The day of the dog – a fable, kind of

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Last summer my girlfriend and I received a text message from her 17-year-old son telling us that he was headed up to our summer/weekend home with a suprprise – a puppy.

Now I’m going to cut to the quick: we had our first major discussion.

It’s not that I don’t like dogs.  I do.  I grew up with two fantastic German Sheperds. But we had enough on our hands at the moment, and the idea of me being responsible for a dog (I promise you, it would be me in the end) did not sit well with me.

We had been dating for a year and living together for about three months when this news beeped into our lives.

We weren’t actually sure if her son was kidding.  17-year-olds rarely feel the need to return messages, never mind phone calls, so finding out whether it was a joke or not was not really an option. We would have wait the four hours until he arrived in order to know for sure.

We argued – I think for the first time.  We were both miserable for hours.  Mind you that at this point I spoke 4o words of Spanish and she 400 words of English so even arguing was not easy.  Actually, being able to argue was a kind of milestone, but looking back, we probably misunderstood each other a good 80% of the time during the argument so you could argue that we weren’t really arguing about the dog.  It’s kind of Kafka-ish.

The bus arrived with her son.  Both of us were trying to peer around him, looking for some sign of a puppy.  There was none.  Not even a leash. Her son had forgotten all about the silly joke and didn’t understand why we were focused on what was behind him instead of being thrilled to see him.

We looked at each other.  We were still too annoyed to laugh at our folly, which we did later – a lot, but we did manage to eke out a smile.

So the moral of this story is: Don’t talk about the dog if you don’t actually hear it barking.

The phrase, “Don’t talk about the dog”, along with “Kiss, kiss, kiss” (what we use when we don’t have the ability or are too tired to translate something to each other) has saved us from quite a number of skirmishes, so I thought I would share the lesson just in case we weren’t the only couple that didn’t occassionally fight about air.

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