In the close confines of a condo community, we become aware of our neighbors' little issues, but generally don't acknowledge them. Life works best if we create an invisible force-field of privacy larger than the actual physical space of our units.
My neighbor is the same age as my father, so I sometimes transfer my worries between the two and break down the force-field. Dad falls down often, so I fear W.B. will also. Somehow W.B. gets up in the night to let Buster out to the patio. The door opens and closes just through the wall from my bedroom. I rouse, and half-listen for Buster to go back inside through a sleepy fog.
Buster is well-trained. When he is ready to go in he whimpers a barely audible muh. W.B. is usually well-trained, too, and lets Buster right back in. As soon as they get back inside, I'm back in deep sleep.
Alas, sometimes W.B. doesn't respond to muh. As soon as Buster amps his polite request the tiniest notch up to meh-meh, my adrenalin kicks in. Where is W.B.? Has he fallen asleep?
Mehmeh! Has W.B. fallen down? Should I call him on the phone to wake him up and see if he is okay?
Mwah-mwah! Buster, is W.B. out there in the cold with you? Has he slipped on the ice?
Arrrgh-MWAH! Oh, Buster! Should I call W.B.'s daughter or 911?
Mwah Mwah Mwah!! Okay, Buster, I'm coming out there. [Door slams] I'm climbing up on the air conditioner to look over the fence.
MWORK BWORK BORK! Oh, you poor doggie! Yes, I look very scary with my bedhead hair and breathing steam in this cold.
BORK BORK BORK!!! Please little Buster, don't have a heart attack! I'll call W.B. (Please, God, don't let W.B. have a heart attack, either, or fall going to answer the phone.)
RKWARK RKWARK RKWARK!!! And please let someone be listening if my dad falls 650 miles away. Amen. And thank you, W.B., for waking up and letting Buster back inside. I'm relieved. Buster's relieved.
semper timmy down the wellis
© 2009 Nancy L. Ruder