A Luminous Halo

"Life is not a series of gig lamps symmetrically arranged; life is a luminous halo, a semi-transparent envelope surrounding us from the beginning of consciousness to the end." --Virginia Woolf

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Location: Springfield, Massachusetts, United States

Smith ’69, Purdue ’75. Anarchist; agnostic. Writer. Steward of the Pascal Emory house, an 1871 Second-Empire Victorian; of Sylvie, a 1974 Mercedes-Benz 450SL; and of Taz, a purebred Cockador who sets the standard for her breed. Happy enough for the present in Massachusetts, but always looking East.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

It Pays To Be Crazy

Today Taz's very favorite person dropped in. I took advantage of Donna's presence to run a couple of errands downtown. Walking to City Hall, the library, the bank, or the insurance company is more fun for Tazzy than for me, so I hate to leave her behind. But I can't take my dog even two steps inside a building before security guards appear, walkie-talkies are pulled out, and a red alert is declared. Tying her up to a parking meter for five minutes is just as big a deal. "For her own safety" she has to be removed. Bullshit.

I figured that with Donna along, I could duck inside the two offices I needed to visit long enough to drop off some forms, and she could wait outside with the dog. The sun was shining and the air was soft. Hanging around on the sidewalk for a couple of minutes wasn't going to be a hardship.

We got to Bridge Street and I ducked inside the MassHealth office. When I got out, Donna and Taz were nowhere to be seen. Figuring they might be in the park nearby, I headed west. A wave from behind a glass storefront halted me. There was Donna, comfortably seated inside the Hearing Aid Center. A pleasant-looking lady was petting Taz with one hand and holding a cup of water for her with the other. She was laughing as Taz drank and splattered her.

I went inside and visited for a few minutes while Taz, leash dragging, zigzagged in and out of the various rooms at the back of the shop. I learned that Donna's late aunt had been a customer of the Center. That the owner had a dog of her own. That her dog was deaf. That Aunt Eldora had loved the deaf dog and always made much of her. We thanked the lady for the water, wished her good day, and took our leave.

It was three more blocks to the Fuel Assistance office. This time, Donna followed me inside. I headed for the receptionist while Donna and Taz made themselves at home in the waiting area. Nobody said boo. I did my business and we left.

Those people in that office looked right at you and the dog and never said a word, I said incredulously to Donna on the sidewalk. How come they didn't throw you out?

Honey, nobody wants to mess with crazy people, Donna replied placidly. I'm black, and I'm big, and I might be crazy, and people just would rather not deal with that. They just do not want to go there.

I think Donna may be right. I'm beginning to learn that it doesn't pay nowadays to ask first or apologize afterwards. Donna sails through life like a full-masted ship. Now that I think of it, I have never seen anybody cross her. I'm not black and I'm not big, but I might be able to work on the crazy thing.

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