I used to park my RV in a bad area of SF. No one else wants to park there, so it's always easy to find a spot. One night a friend and I were hanging out in my RV, we lost track of time, and soon the buses weren't running anymore. She calls a cab and we go outside to wait for it.
A cab pulls up, we say our goodbyes, and it drives right past us. Wrong company. A few minutes later another cab comes, and again drives right by. Out of the corner of my eye I notice a large black woman wandering around fifty feet to our left. Two more cabs drive by, neither one the right company. It's cold outside. We start laughing at the situation.
Noticing our laughter the woman starts staggering towards us.
"Let's wait inside."
Sure enough, two minutes later there's a knock on the door. We ignore it, but she obviously knows we're in there. It's not like my RV has a basement we might have gone down to, and are thus unable to hear the knocking. She knocks again.
I open up the door.
"Why were you laughing at me?"
She's more hurt than angry, and more drunk than either.
"Oh, no. We weren't laughing at you. We were trying to wait for a cab--"
"I lost my dog. Did you take him?"
"No, of course not. We'd never steal someone's dog. We were just waiting for--"
"I'm out here looking for my dog and you're laughing at me. Both of you. Where's my dog?"
"We don't have your dog. I'm really sorry you can't find him. We weren't laughing at you. We were laughing because--"
"Do you mind if I come in and look around?"
The RV tilts as she steps in. She surveys my thirty two square feet of floor space until she is satisfied that we don't have her dog.
"There are bad people everywhere," she says, crying, "I just want my dog back. I love him. I feed him every day. You're good people. I know you wouldn't steal him. I just can't find him. My name is Margaret."
We introduce ourselves and shake her hand.
The cab comes, she leaves, my friend leaves, and I'm back in the RV by myself. It's late, so I brush my teeth and get ready for bed. Just as I'm about to lie down, there's another knock on the door. It's four in the morning.
I know it's Margaret, and I feel like we're friends now, so I open the door. A giant pit bull launches into the RV and headbutts me. Then he jumps on my bed. I pull him off the bed and hug him-- the only way I can actually restrain him.
"He won't bite you, don't worry!" Margaret chimes, "I found him."
As I uncomfortably wrestle with the dog, Margaret starts telling me her life story. She doesn't want a conversation, she just wants for someone to listen, which probably doesn't happen often. So I listen and try to subdue her pit bull for the next twenty or thirty minutes.
She lives alone with her dog and doesn't have friends. She tells me again that there are bad people in the neighborhood, but only hints at their transgressions. She tells me her name and her address at least five times, pleading for me to come over if I need anything.
She finally leaves and I get back to getting ready for bed. I write down her address so that I won't forget it.
Did anyone else think that the picture looked like a pair of womens breasts? Look really closely at it. I swear its a Gestalt picture.
Your writing is good as always, but it's too matter-of-fact, you haven't really given an account of how you felt throughout it all.
Just simply listen actively does make a difference in huge way.
We constantly craved for validation. You just gave Margaret some validation. Maybe she is change course in her life because you decide to open the door.
Good story,touching in many ways,could have been dangerous though.I was born and raised in Detroit,which makes SF look like Sunday School.I have a "sixth sense".Developed from many arrests I made,and the abillity to "size" someone up quickly..You might have it too.Sounds like she was very sad and lonely.That dog was her protector and friend,probably keeping her from going crazy with loneliness.Good man,Tynan!
@mike I left because my RV was being cased and my friend's RV was broken into in the middle of the day
Did you move out of the area after Margaret's late night visits? I wonder if there were other incidents you faced in the hood, sometimes there is just desperation in the air in these rough neighborhoods. Great people though.
I didn't like the story too much, why would you let a drunk aggressive stranger into your RV?? I'd have told her to call the police if she wanted to find her pet.
I looked at the route that Google Maps gave me to drive my RV back to Austin. The route went right past Mandeville, Louisiana. That's where Katya lives.
I hadn't seen her in years. We broke up four years ago, and I only saw her once since then, three years ago. She randomly showed up with her fiancee and took all of the big stuff she'd left at my house. Her fiancee apologized as we carried her bed frame that I'd been sleeping on for a year to his car.
Keep in mind, all posts are stream of conscious entries with little or no edits or rewrites.
We did. We braved the wacky world to take our five year old to a BAR where she would get to see and hear Irish music performed live. At night. I'm of mutt pedigree with enough racial diversity in every drop of my blood to make me wonder how my current family could be so racist when obviously our ancestors weren't. The parts I know about are Jewish, Irish, Cherokee, German, English, and Chinese. I identify with the Irish, Cherokee, and to a certain extent, Jewish. My husband hails from Scotland, England and that's about all he knows, but as we know from Braveheart, the Scotch and the Irish see themselves aligned if not kin, so we both wanted Nila to feel the ignition of her Irish coding on this Irish holiday. This morning we took her to see children Irish dancers perform at the children's museum and loved watching her head bob in time with the music, her face showing rapt attention in the tribal moves of the children's feet.
Tonight we hoped to get a chance to practice some of that dancing at a local bar where it was rumored irish music would be a playin'. We were brave to think of leaving the house with a five year old after 7 pm at night, but it's been one of those confidence inspiring days. A good day, with no temper tantrums and we're nearing the end, I'm hoping, of battling the mange. Fortunately for us, the mites you catch from Dogs isn't quite as pernicious as the human form of scabies, but this has been a week from hell, none-the-less. Though, I went for a hike yesterday and as I perched on the highest rock I could climb using good reason, and soaked in the sun, then sound of the birds, the different hues of green on each individual pine needle, I reflected on the events of this past week. Finding out we had caught the mites from the dog, taking the dog back, finding out how hard it was going to be to get rid of these bugs, feeling the tide turn in our favor...saying it's been an emotional roller coaster just doesn't really even cover it. Imagine knowing you have little bugs burrowing under skin and laying eggs...Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!
Here's the thing, though. We've been wondering the whole time if we should keep that dog. He's been sick since we brought him home with illnesses that could be transmitted to us (unbeknownst to us at the time, obviously), but since we already had him for three weeks and had become rather fond of him and wanted to pull him through, even if we decided he wasn't the right dog for us. And he wasn't. He was already too big to play with Nila and once we pulled him over the threshhold of death's door and his energy renewed, he accidentally hurt her every time he tried to play with her. He chewed constantly and couldn't be trusted to be left alone, even for a few minutes, and several other issues. For over a month Darren and I had several, intense conversations trying to figure out if we should keep him, but we just couldn't come to a decision. it didn't help that every one of these conversations occurred under the watchful gaze of his doleful eyes.
it had actually gotten to the point that I was so conflicted and confused that it was causing a lot of agitation and one night I prayed, intensely, begging God to help me make a decision one way or the other. Then the thing the vet said couldn't happen, happened. First I got the mites. Still wasn't sure I should get rid of the dog. Darren got the mites. Still, we just weren't sure. Nila got the mites the next day, he was out of here and i took him myself, which I would never have thought I could do. So when i was atop my rocky perch, I thought about the battle with the scabies mites and all of a sudden it hit me: Without this final plague, I wouldn't have been able to do it. I wouldn't have been able to take him back to the animal shelter (don't worry folks, it was a no-kill shelter and he's already been re-homed). Then I remembered my prayer and I just started laughing. God answered my prayer! it wasn't in something as sweet and subtle as a message in a dream, that wouldn't have been enough for me. I would have second guessed the hell out of that. But giving us all mites? Giving my daughter mites?? Oh there was no question after that.