Fast Times at the Pet Store High

Wednesday, April 9, 2014 | 0 Comment(s)

I rarely talk about pot on the blog because it is increasingly becoming a non-divisive issue, and I like to dig into meatier issues.  But, to fully understand the glory of the story I'm about to tell, you need to know a bit about the mindset I was in.

And here it is.  My mindset was very stoned.

The wife and I were running some Sunday errands, and the next stop on our list was the pet supply store.  The extremely pet-friendly pet supply store, which is conveniently located adjacent a Whole Foods (duh) and therefore allows my wife and I to divide and conquer.  She gets to run in and grab the ingredients for dinner (aka. browse the cheese and wine selection), while I grab dog treats and poop bags (aka. pet every furry loveball in the joint).

Meet back at the car in T-minus 15 minutes.  (if any of you are married, you know this "time" is purely ornamental, as timing a perfect rendezvous with one's partner is a task befitting Sisyphus.)

So, fuzzyfaces in my future, I thought to myself, this would be a great time to be high.  And, because I am a man of action, I made that happen for myself.  After letting the tingle settle in, I walked toward the store.

In a moment like this, when I am 'cruising,' The Shins begin playing a soundtrack to the world I am walking slow motion down the middle of.  In this case, the center of my universe was the automatic door that opened into the pet emporium.  As I breached the threshold of the automatic sensors, my peripheral vision caught the flash of a table display to my left.  Without looking directly at it (I was metaphorically listening to the Shins after all), my brain identified the display as being the size and shape of a girl scout cookie outpost.  There were even a bunch of short girls in front of the table.  But as I drew closer, I began to feel something was amiss.

Where was the carmel aroma of the Samoas? Where were the ubiquitous green sashes announcing the familiar processed goods' arrival and sale?  This was no Girl Scout Cookie stand.  This was something else entirely.

And at approximately the same moment as I made that realization, I also noticed that one of the girls appeared to be following me. At a glance I would say she was in high school, but I officially don't trust myself to make those kind of judgement calls at this point.  It's a lose lose.  But I will say, I was pretty sure she might be following me.

I made a hard right turn towards the bird department.  No one turns right to go to the bird department.  Well, I'm sure someone does, but it's uncommon.  This girl is still just to my back left.  What was, at first, potentially a girl with a personal space issue and a similar agenda was now almost certainly 'she's following me!'

But remember, I'm extremely stoned.  And I had to consider this variable before accusing some 16 year-old girl of spying on me in the pet store.  I don't want a seemingly innocuous trip to get doggie cuddles to end up in some police news blotter the next day: "Man accosts young girl in pet store, claims, 'She was following me!'"  That is not a good look.

So I did what I do in any potentially sticky life situation.  I went with blunt truth.  I said out loud, first rhetorically, "I think you're following me.  Are you following me?"  As I released these words into the ether, I literally stopped, pivoted, and pulled a 180 going in the opposite direction.  As the girl too stopped and pivoted, my tone became more accusatory, "You ARE following me?!" The exclamation was in my tone but not in my volume. More than anything I didn't want this to be a scene.  I was praying to whatever god is the real god that this wouldn't be a scene.

Finally she spoke, "I AM following you, but it's for a good cause. I'm here to ask for your support for the local animal shelter" (name redacted).

"Oh," I reply, "My wife and I already give money to said local shelter every year, so, I think we're good here . . ."

"In that case, she said cheerily, I can stop following you now."


My mind, however, was awash in angry brain cells only being restrained by whatever brain region regulates not wanting to make a scene above all else.  Those sharp toothed anger cells, I picture them as Dracula-themed Pac-man's, were shouting, "What kind of fucked up fund drive is this.  Does your manual say to stalk new customers as if we were all lame gazelles and you are all momma cheetahs.  Cause I got to tell you, being cased in any department store does not put me in a giving mood.  And what's with the delayed open? Why not just introduce yourself right off? This kind of awkward middle ground is gonna negatively affect your hit rate my dear."

She's gone.  I calmed down to the point where I realized what an ass I was for thinking all those horrible things at some kind girl who volunteers her time at the animal shelter. I'm the asshole. But either way, everyone in the store didn't seem to be staring at me, which meant my overall goal of not making a scene had been maintained. I took a few deep breaths and trekked onward.

As I made my way to the rear of the store, I got my second uneasy feeling of my short stay at the pet store. This time, the piece of of information that was out of whack was the sheer number of dogs.  At first I thought that perhaps they were having one of their puppy training classes back there, but I soon realized that there was no way any class would or could have this many students.  There must have been 40 dogs back there.  Each 8,000 times cuter than the next.  And I dove right in.  The first that got scratches was the pittie, as I feel a responsibility to help other pit owners feel comfortable about their brilliant choice in dog breed.  But I am NOT picky in this department. I went right down the line with some collie cuddles and boxer play bows. I took a brief break to grab a few items from the rear aisle in the store, only to find it completely lined with dogs, patiently waiting and practically silent.  In the front was a gorgeous looking Australian Shepard with strikingly mismatched eyes.  If the path weren't barricaded by the dogs' owners, I may never have gotten out of their that afternoon.

I asked the closest human what all the fuss was about.  Apparently there was a low cost vaccination day being sponsored (or at least hosted) by the pet store.  Considering the turn out, it seemed that word had indeed spread about the event.

The momentary passage of human information refocused me to the task at hand.  I rerouted my trajectory back towards the dog treat section. This, of course, was the easy part.  This was the part that took no time at all. As I contemplated the different flavors of organic treats, it crossed my mind how little my dogs actually taste the silver-dollar sized cookies.  Chomp chomp swallow.  If we're lucky. Sometimes it's just chomp chomp chomp chomp.  No swallowing.  That version comes with vomiting about 30 minutes later -- but that's another story altogether.

Bags of treats acquired, I made my way to the register where, because of the influx of people in attendance for the clinic, there was a line.  No big deal.  As I posted up at the rear of the queue, a couple with their two dogs came sauntering line-ward.  These two dogs headed toward me were the cutest odd couple of canines I'd ever seen.  No exaggeration.

The boss was a huge dachshund-shaped hound dog. Easily a hundred pounds of sauntering comic relief.  This hound was large enough that his front paws were turned out in first position, his stout legs acting as pillars keeping his massive structure standing. With the classic hang-dog expression that screamed, "I'm getting too old for this shit," Mr. Sausage McCutiePants pulled up just short of my legs.  And I would have already been petting him too, if his canine sidekick hadn't been a huge male St. Bernard.  This massive beast had his best "I'm the friendliest dog you've ever met" face on and, though full grown, he was obviously the younger counterpart of this duo.  He circled his senior partner in concentric circles; half protective and half attention-seeking.

A visual approximation. The actual hound was MUCH larger. 

It totally worked.  I petted the monster dog first, my fingers being absorbed into his armor of furry layers.  SeƱor FuzzMuffin McNormous's jaw fell agape as I laid down a firm scratch on his neck.  I swear, looking into his mouth I could see all the way to China.  So massive and inviting, I don't think I'll ever outgrow my initial instinct to ride every St. Bernard I encounter.

But I am not one to ignore a second dog, and as FuzzMuffin parking himself between his brother and human mother, I got a good pet going on Mr. CutiePants.  The hound was much more reserved but no less affectionate.  He took the loving with a "this is my happy face, it just happens to look like all my other faces" expression.  His butt dropped to the ground shortly thereafter and I felt I had piled a sufficient amount of stranger love on this couple's puppies.

And then I pet them some more.  What can I say, they were magnetically adorable.

Talk about a successful rebound from the depths of paranoid despondency! Lifted up on the fluffy Monchichi wings of overwhelming adorability, I left that store rejuvenated and believing in humanity's chances long-term.  Nothing gets your buzz back like puppy snuggles.

No comments:

Post a Comment