I barked, but it didn’t fool the kids. I was coated with yellow Labrador hair and smelled like dog pee, and they looked at me cautiously. Me. Yet those two twenty-somethings were dressed like nursery schoolers in matching bright blue polos and beige khakis. I wondered if they used a secret eyebrow code with each other: one raised eyebrow = this lady’s a kook. Two raised eyebrows = restrain her with a large dog harness and call the cops.
Prince sat on my feet and gave a whimper.
“Aww, he’s so cute,” said the girl with the Buddy Holly glasses. The young guy with the farmer beard awwed in agreement, and scratched Prince behind the ear.
Sure, the Lab puppy peed on me and left muddy puppy prints on my truck’s seats, but everyone fell in love with him. The unfairness of the whole situation made me desperate. It was Friday afternoon, the start of Memorial Day weekend. I had a grand three days planned in Jersey City: Read twenty-five freshman research papers and determine final spring semester grades before Monday night. Develop the syllabus for the summer intensive course I was to begin teaching Tuesday morning. Wash the interior of my truck and do laundry.
Prince’s mommy, my friend Kate, was in a chauffeured sedan en route to Newark airport to catch a flight to Bermuda. Even Prince was chauffeured – by me – to the doggie resort and spa for his stay. There were chaise lounges, potted trees, and all-weather speakers that played soft guitar rock in the outdoor seating area. The sign by the entrance door announced that the pool was open, in capital letters with an exclamation point. Dogs couldn’t read. I had bladder control issues like Prince and I wasn’t illiterate, but no one was driving my ass to a resort so I could lounge with others of my kind and listen to Jack Johnson for three days.
So I barked at those kids in the resort’s reception lounge. I smelled like a dog. There was enough Prince hair on me to have passed as my own coat. I was fluent enough in dog that one clear “Woof!” should have gained me entry and access to three days of being groomed, fed, exercised, and socialized. Those twenty-somethings heard me just fine, but they could tell I was no dog. They knew I was just a cranky older bitch, and I knew there was no spa life for me that Memorial Day weekend.