Dog walk 2

Although he’s a male and he lifts his leg, Charley has the useful ability to pee once and be done, rather than feel compelled to wander the neighborhood marking all the tree stumps. Our trainer told us we got him to operate in this manner by encouraging the behavior. We just think he’s a good dog and leave it at that.

Tonight was a quick pee walk, where I am outside for all of 45 seconds while the dog does a three-quarter turn on the grate in front of the building, goes, and heads back home. Our neighbor and fellow dog owner was in the lobby, and often-shy Charley pulled me to her to say hello. I had him roll over—his latest trick—while Shiela grilled me about his habits and invited us to visit and have him play with her two Yorkies.

I went out without a jacket. A Fresh Direct truck was double-parked in the street. Shiela and a friend made themselves comfortable in lobby chairs. The rain was gone, and only the easy spring evening remained. Upstairs, business school homework awaited. I took my time getting upstairs.

Dog walk 1

The rain had stopped, after days of continuous precipitation, making a blustery evening feel surprisingly pleasant. We took our usual route, hanging a left out the door of the building, pausing to pee on the grates, then meandering down the block and across the street into Union Square Park, where we do laps on the walkway fringe until the business occurs. A tall pile of remaindered excrement, left by another dog and a careless owner, resembled a pile of mousse to my dog, who had a bite (and a toothbrushing upon our return home).

In the aftermath of the rains, the park and the street were subdued. The newsstand and the corner entrance to the subway were closed for the holiday. Alone on the park benches in Union Square, a young Asian man sat practicing a speech, papers on his lap, staring at nothing as he recited, likely as glad as I was to have a rare quiet moment in the square.

This is the first in a series of Dog Walk pieces that will be published on this site. The solitude of walking my pup leads me to observe and appreciate the city around me, and the more literary moments will be chronicled here. I hope you enjoy them. Click on the permalink plus-sign of an entry to display the date, time and location of the walk.

Judgment day

Walking the dog on a beautiful spring afternoon not long ago, I crossed the street into Union Square Park as a pretty woman strolled past me toward the subway. About 20 feet beyond us, sitting on the walls along the park stairs, were half a dozen young men, around 20 years old, holding sheets of white paper.

As the woman passed between me and the stairs, the boys cheered good-naturedly and held up signs: 9! 8.5! 9.5! The women continued to the south with a look on her face—somewhere between amusement and disgust—as I approached the stairs.

Of course, I couldn’t keep my mouth shut.

“Is that for me?”

The boys laughed and made faces. “No, man, that was for your dog!” one of them said, petting the pup as we walked by.

Charley did his thing in Union Square (tip for locals: don’t sit on the lip surrounding the perimeter of the interior grass. Just don’t) and we headed for home. The boys were still there, looking for someone worth ranking.

“Hey!” I called out as I got close. “Where’s the love?”

Among the laughter, one of them pulled out a sign. “Yo, this is for your dog,” he said, waving the sign at Charley, who trotted by happily. “He gets an 8.5.”

Not bad, but I think he deserved at least a 9.

You tell me

Interesting pair of items in the New York Times yesterday.

1. The TV industry is wondering if the sitcom is a dying genre. “A burial plot is being readied for the traditional sitcom—with the formula of setup, joke, setup, joke—that families watched together in large numbers throughout most of television’s history. Despite dozens of attempts, the networks have failed to come up with a new hit comedy since the late 1990’s.”

2. NBC’s fall 2003 lineup includes “Whoopi,” a show starring Whoopi Goldberg as “a one-hit-wonder singer who now runs a small New York hotel. Her attempt at hilarity will be aided by a television brother who dates a white woman trying to act black, and an Iraqi concierge who makes a lot of references to weapons of mass destruction.”

Never mind that it’s Monday, part II

I like these Friday Fives, even if I do answer them tardily. This week is all about organization, a subject about which I know plenty, even though the fiancee would likely beg to differ.

I like these Friday Fives, even if I do answer them tardily. This week is all about organization, a subject about which I know plenty, even though the fiancee would likely beg to differ.

1. Would you consider yourself an organized person? Why or why not?

I am organized but cluttered. Life for me gravitates into piles: a pile of to-do items, a pile of things to put away, a pile of CDs I listened to and haven’t refiled, I pile of receipts I haven’t deigned worthy of the trash yet. Within that clutter, I usually know where my things are.

2. Do you keep some type of planner, organizer, calendar, etc. with you, and do you use it regularly?

I do. Palm Pilot, Schmalm Pilot: I have a Charing Cross weekly planner, in leather and paper and gold foil, filled with black-ink-handwritten notes. It looks like this. I carry it in my back pocket and buy two each year, because the spine tends to wear out after six months of sitting on it.

3. Would you say that your desk is organized right now?

Um … not really, no.

4. Do you alphabetize CDs, books, and DVDs, or does it not matter?

I used to alphabetize, but quantity outstripped utility after a while–putting a new Beta Band CD into the B’s would mean pushing 800 CDs one notch to the right. My CDs are arranged in roughly two dozen self-designed genres. I have labeled dividers waiting to be installed, too. The books in the house are similarly arranged, not for any good reason but because it made sense; the DVD/video collection is too small to require any sorting.

5. What’s the hardest thing you’ve ever had to organize?

People.

On being engaged

My fiancee and I love being engaged. I loved buying a ring and proposing in a romantic vacation setting. She loves the ring and the weekend was fantastic. We’re looking forward to our fancy-pants wedding, too. We are enjoying the planning and the anticipation that goes with it, even amongst the assorted stresses. We love our band, we dig our photographer, we like the idea of gussying up and throwing a big fucking party for everyone we know; we even like the rehearsal dinner we have planned for the night before.

In certain corners of the progressive-minded Web communities in which I participate, I am a traditional bore, I suppose. But I’m a happy one with a happy mate. And I wouldn’t change a thing.

(cross-posted from another site)