It wouldn’t be the first time a spirited conversation was engendered by a dog. This afternoon outside Starbucks coffee emporium in Bells Corners the cause célèbre was a large German Shepherd named Bear.
The translator between me and Bear (and therefore the person whom I supposed to be Bear’s master) was the fellow next to whom Bear was obediently seated. I say “supposed” because when I complimented Bear upon his magnificent appearance, the other chap sitting across from the purported owner interjected, “Thank-you!” Considering the translator was a handsome middle-aged dude with the appearance of a construction worker, and the fact that his dog was named Bear, it had fleetingly occurred to me that the two gentlemen sitting at the round metal table enjoying their coffees might reasonably be committee members. What however dissuaded me in this lightning assumption was that the translator, when defending the dog’s propensity to bark at others, had mentioned that the dog barked at everyone, even his wife. This added intelligence at least slightly contaminated the strength of my deduction. I let it go as I could see no other convenient way of resolving the doubt in such narrow circumstances.
I removed myself from the panorama and seated myself around the corner of the building at another small table facing the busy road traffic. Even though I was still within strained hearing distance of the two men I abandoned the enthusiasm of the moment…though I couldn’t help but think that my idle enquiry about the dog had prompted greater gusto than I would have thought warranted. Unquestionably the construction worker had appeared oddly curious to amplify my passing remarks. His colleague’s abrupt declaration left me with an equally compelling sense of something either nefarious or misplaced. Either way it was a odd thing for him to have advanced under the circumstances.
Moments later when I trashed my empty coffee cup and walked by the two gentlemen to return to my car, they both enthused about the remaining prospects of my day. The construction worker’s gaze lingered longer upon me than I would have expected appropriate to the situation, though nothing uncomfortable other than overt curiosity. I am at a loss to attribute this heightened awareness of mine to anything other than the two apples which I bought at Botega Nicastro on Merivale Road and which I consumed in my car while en route to my mother’s place around noon. The prolonged absence of starch since my early morning breakfast, combined with four shots of Espresso in my iced Café Americano, had likely elevated my acuity. I am one of those who thrive upon temporary deprivation and whose keenness for life is thereby exponentially affected. Neither am I a complete stranger to unscripted plots and subterfuge though naturally it is not an indulgence which at my age is anything but anomalous. I flattered myself to suffer the inconsequential connectivity for no other reason than to amuse myself. Still we take what we can when it is offered especially when the frequency has long ago diminished.