It’s happened to all of us. You’re out and about, minding your own business and you see or hear someone laughing. For a split second, you think, “That person is laughing at me.” Your mind whisks you back to high school, to a time when you were awkward and in need of validation and so overcome by insecurities that the only thing you were secure in was the knowledge that someone, somewhere was talking about you.
And then your adult self points out the foolishness of such thinking. And the ego. It would take a teenager –or a narcissist–to actually believe that someone was always talking about him, wouldn’t it?
But yesterday, I swear the woman on the bike, wearing sunglasses and standing on the corner of Union and Seventh Ave in Park Slope. I would have bet my life on it. I looked briefly. Then turned away. Then turned back. And yes, she was still laughing. In my general direction. From all the way across the street. “What the hell,” I thought. “She can’t actually be laughing at me.”
When the man sang that some enchanted evening, you will see a stranger across a crowded room, he didn’t mention anything about a couple of yappy lap dogs. But on a July night at Grant Street Dance Hall in Lafayette, Louisiana, I was only in town for two more days and wasn’t exactly thinking about the future consequences of current actions. All I knew was that I was talking to this curly-haired blonde who I’d noticed an hour or so earlier — and I hadn’t lost her attention yet.
I already knew her name was Cara, that we had a couple of mutual acquaintances, that she’d dropped a ton of money to go to the Super Bowl earlier in the year and was also a rabid LSU fan. Those things, along with her — how do the French put this, “smoking hotness” — were more than enough to drown out any alarm bells that might have gone off when she whipped out the iPhone and started showing me photos of her “babies,” a couple of small poodles. Sure they were cute, boy they were fascinating, yeah I love dogs, yadda yadda yadda.
Of course, I paid attention — enough, at least, to notice that there was a black one and a white one and that sometimes they wore clothes. But, like I said, in town for a couple of days. If I was lucky, we’d make out and then we’d never see each other again, so a couple of high-maintenance yipsters were of no great concern. Continue reading “The Poodle Problem”→