This story describes one day in my life I would not care to repeat.
At the time, Mavis worked in Duckchester and was dependent upon our deplorable bus service to get her from Pebbleditch to the centre of town. This usually involved a lift from one of her parents to another village about 3 miles away, where buses were more frequent, although not necessarily more reliable. For this latter reason, if I had a need to go into Duckchester, I would offer Mavis a lift, which meant setting out earlier than was ideal, to get her to work by 9am.
On this occasion, I had an appointment at Duckchester hospital to check my blood clotting levels (Thanks to advances in medicine, I no longer need to do this). My due time was 10am so after delivering Mavis to M&S, I decided to drop in at Aldi and pick up a few groceries at a bargain price.
When I came out, the traffic pointing left – the direction of the hospital – was at a standstill, so I decided to turn right. I would find an alternative route.
I will pause here to explain that as well as being careless and forgetful, I have a woefully inadequate sense of direction. My plan was doomed from the outset.
I turned right, then left, then left again. Then… where could I be? To cut a long story to sensible proportions, I made it to my appointment with seconds to spare, managing to feel fortunate that they weren’t going to check my blood pressure.
After my thumb had been jabbed and my INR pronounced acceptable, I set off towards home still feeling discombobulated. I was almost at the front door when a reminder popped up on my phone telling me that I was now supposed to be at a friend’s house, 20 minutes away in the opposite direction. Needless to say, I was late. Her amusement at my excuse and subsequent suggestion, prompted my writing this series of self-depricating posts.
When I returned home, I was greeted by the expectant wag and pleading eyes of Milo (he’s my dog!) His walk was due and how could he be refused?
I stuffed my phone into a breast pocket – my new hand-me-down phone with a nice big screen. My new phone that I actually use because I can read what is on the screen. My new phone onto which I had not fixed a screen protector. Can you tell which way this is heading?
As Mavis was due to be collected from her return bus in about an hour, I took Milo to the park near her bus stop, and sent a text telling her where to find me. After pulling up in the car park, I released the dog from the back of the car, threw the ball towards the middle of the grass to get him away from any moving cars, and locked the doors.
By the time I reached the concrete path that led into the park, Milo was trotting towards me with the ball in his mouth. He dropped it expectantly at my feet and I bent over to pick it up. You guessed it. The phone slipped from my pocket and the screen smashed on the hard pathway. This was not turning into the best day of my life.
We circumnavigated the park, me throwing the ball and Milo hurtling after it. I lapsed into daydreams, throwing, ambling throwing ambling then… where was the dog?
There he was, in the distance, sniffing, cocking his leg, sniffing, cocking his leg.
Where was the ball? No idea!
‘Milo!’ He looked up but didn’t move. ‘Where’s the ball?’ I yelled. He looked about hopelessly. ‘Bring the ball,’ I insisted.
He put his nose to the ground and retraced his route. This of course involved more sniffing and cocking and then, yes, his nose darted to the ground and he lifted his head with a ball in his mouth. ‘Good boy.’ I put my hand in my pocket for a treat and he trotted towards me with his ears pricked, dropped the ball at my feet, did his beast sit and gulped down his gravy bone. I looked at the ball. It was a sad looking thing with a hole in it. ‘Milo, this isn’t your ball. Go and find your ball!’ He cocked his head to one side, trying to understand then wandered back to the middle of the park to search. He is actually quite an intelligent dog as you can tell.
By now, given the stressful nature of my day thus far, I was feeling a little grumpy. I went to help, but we failed to find his ball. A cheerful lady appeared, rather too cheerful in my opinion, and shared her joy at the beautiful day. I didn’t exactly snap at her but pointed out that mine was possibly not as enjoyable as hers – not sure where my Buddhahood was at this point. When she heard about the missing ball, she insisted on helping me search. Such a lovely lady. I wish I could meet her again and thank her properly.
Despite her help the ball didn’t turn up, so I put the dog on his lead and headed back to the car, where I expected that by now, Mavis would be waiting.
My phone buzzed and I squinted at the message on my damaged screen: ‘The bus hasn’t turned up yet,’ advised Mavis. I sighed walked on and there, right in front of me by the entrance to the park, was Milo’s ball.
Mavis arrived about an hour later.
Dinner was a hurried affair, giving me time to get the house ready for a meeting. I scooted round putting things away, putting out glasses of water for the guests, calming my breathing.
Another buzz on my star spangled phone: ‘Buddhist meeting… at Mary’s.’