I’m walking Mikki, my yellow lab, like I always do, in the woods, with my
friend, the cop, who has a Bagel, which is a combination of a beagle and basset
hound and along comes this woman. She’s tall and blonde and apparently she
appeared to be carrying food, because Mikki ran right up to her and jumped on
her, with muddy paws, and the woman was pissed.
I ran over to her and said, “Oh my God, I’m so sorry. Look at your pants.” I
say that same thing every time Mikki jumps on someone. “Oh my God, I’m so sorry. Look at your pants.” I say those words so often, sometimes I just
say them to myself, in my head, for no
then the person usually says, “Don’t worry. These are old pants.” And that’s
the end of it. Because after all, we’re
in the woods, a place that is known for harboring all sorts of dirt.
is unacceptable!” the woman said– in the same accent Hitler always liked to
is unacceptable! I vill not tolerate
zis!” she said.
what a bitch,” I whispered to my friend –the cop. He was
maintaining a safe distance from both of us. Not only was she clearly a nut but there’s a huge sign at the entrance
to the nature center that says, “NO UNLEASHED DOGS!” along with a list of fines
for all sorts of crimes one might commit against nature, such as letting an
animal run free or eating. My friend
the cop and I break the law together every day and we were about to get busted.
you have any idea how dangerous zis is? Look at my pants!” she said. I’m so used to saying that last line, I was
stunned. Meanwhile, my dog was still
jumping all over her and I made no attempt to get her to stop. I have no idea how to stop a dog from
jumping. I usually just wait for her to
get sick of whomever she’s jumping on. I’ve always been more of a laissez-faire disciplinarian. I feel horrible telling animals (as well as
children) that they’ve done something wrong, so I tend to pretend I don’t
notice. This has proven to be a very
effective means of raising my daughter. My son is only thirteen so I’m not sure how he’s going to turn out
yet. Fingers crossed. As far as the dog, everything had been
working out beautifully until she jumped on this particular woman.
am going to report you!’ she said.
cop backed up a little further and gently clipped the leash onto his dog’s
collar. Mine was still jumping.
then I realized something.
my name is Eva. How do you know my
name?” the woman said.
used to be my housekeeper,” I said, noticing that she had changed her hair
color dramatically. Not just a few
highlights but a real change – from jet black to platinum.
don’t care!” she said, her boots clicking at the heels.
You look great!” I said, “Do you live around here now?”
issue is zee dog!” she said continuing to reprimand me.
dog is very friendly, that’s all. She just wanted to say hello.”
”Look at my pants!” she said, again.
sorry about your clothes but you’re walking in the woods one day after a rainstorm. You should have anticipated that you might
get a little dirty — even if a dog didn’t jump on you. We’re in a nature center. Animals live here and come here to play. The
leash rule is a dumb one. Unless a dog
is vicious, it should be allowed to walk around freely. Who makes up these absurd rules anyway?”
town,” the cop whispered to me.
stood there for a minute wondering what I should say to this woman who used to
work for me and who I often discovered wearing my clothes when I came home from work. One time when I walked into my room, she was sitting at my
dressing table carefully applying my lipstick and all I could think to say was,
“Is that a huge herpes on your lip?” She assured me that it was just a mild fever blister and not really
“Oh good.” I said, “And feel free to keep
that lipstick. It looks great on you.”
fired her one afternoon when I came home from a walk with my daughter and Eva
was practicing her “K” turns in my new car, in my driveway. She was hoping to get a driver’s license
my mind wandered, Eva turned and walked away. I watched her in the distance,
thinking her pants looked familiar.
soon as Eva was out of sight, the cop turned to me and said, “That’s the freak
who takes pictures of unleashed dogs and takes them to the police.”
you’re the police,” I reminded him.
in this town,” he reminded me.
right. Now what?”
see,” he said.
”Maybe I should just go to the town hall and turn myself in right now. I hate waiting to find out if I’m trouble.”
worry about it. I don’t think she got
I was worried. I was sick about
it. She was so mean to me. Why would a person walk in the woods taking
pictures on their cell phone of unleashed dogs? Why not just walk somewhere else if you don’t like dogs? I decided she’d been bitten as a child and
this was her way of dealing with it. I
convinced myself that she was plagued by nightmares and all sorts of phobias
and that if this was her way of getting through life, then who am I to judge.
put Mikki on the leash and the cop and I continued walking.
she so mean? What the hell is wrong
with her? This is why I don’t like people! They’re all insane. Did I say anything insulting to her? I hope I
didn’t. Did I? I was right about everything, right?” I
asked the cop.
think about it,” the cop said.
not thinking about it. I’m obsessing on it.”
then I could see Eva, in the distance, walking back towards us, with her phone
open. The cop and I pulled our dogs
aside by their leashes and told them to sit so Eva could pass by. Mine stood.
did I work for you? It must have been a very long time ago,” she said, coming
closer, phone perched. “I’m sorry I said I didn’t care. I was very emotional.”
me too. I’m so sorry, too!” I said,
trying not to stare at her phone.
guess at that point her plan was to show whatever photo she could get to the
police and say, “Even zough zee dog is on zee leash in zis particular shot,
look at my pants!”
didn’t have a chance to answer her.
mean, it must have been ten years ago,” she continued. “I’ve since gotten
married and bought a house. A very nice
house in Closter. And I’ve been to
“Sedona. I mediate. I’ve been very into mediation. Actually I’m a lifetime member of CGI.”
”Oh, I know that place! It’s amazing, isn’t it?” I said, kissing her ass.
those of you who don’t live around here, CGI is a Korean owned spa and yoga
center. Only idiots, like myself, become members. The place is a total scam. I’ve long stopped going and got most of my money back. I didn’t dare mention any of this to my new
very expensive to be a member,” Eva continued.
I can imagine. Well, you must be very
happy here now that you’re married with a house and your trip to Sedona and
what not. I’m so happy for you!”
Would you like me to carry
your cell phone for you? Or perhaps I could have your pants dry-cleaned as well
as all of your clothing?
live a very nice life. I’m no longer
doing housekeeping. I forgot I even had zat job.”
Oh that’s okay. I won’t tell anyone.
a matter of fact, I work at Saks.”
”Wonderful. That’s a very nice
store. I love Saks.”
you. I love you. Please don’t tell on me.
don’t you come by some time and visit me? I work at zee La Mer counter. I’ll give you some samples.”
definitely. I’ll come today!”
And for the rest of my life — if that will
make you happy.
hugged and parted ways. The cop had
been quiet as a mouse the whole time.
come back,” he said when she was clear out of sight.
what do you think will happen now?” I asked him.
think you’ll probably get a summons in a few days.”