Friday, May 25, 2018

Today I Was Bitten on the Ass by a Dog

Do not be deceived...
I'm ok!  Don't panic. The damage seems to be just a few little vampire-style tooth marks on my right butt cheek.  The event was so startling, however, and it has never happened to me before, so I thought I should write about it.

Here's what happened.

At lunchtime today I walked out from the Magesterium, where I work for the government. It was a hot day and breezy. I had forgotten my phone so I wasn't listening to music as I would normally do. I was enjoying the birds and glad for the wind which cut the heat a little.

There's a walking trail that passes behind the Magesterium. My fellow workers and members of the public are free to walk along this trail. It follows a river and through a corn field - actually a field of dirt just at the moment.  The path terminates in the cemetery of the white clapboard church on Main Street.

The cemetery is old and pretty.  It has tall trees and paved paths. It bristles with weathered obelisks. It has a tombstone that says "Lease" in big letters (q.v.).  There's someone named "Almond Hills" buried with  his head pointing at the Magesterium. There are many Moodys.  There is one Holy Mary at the far edge, a wandering Catholic apparently.  All food for thought and reflection.
Here's one tombstone that caught my eye on a day when I wasn't bitten by a dog.
No dogs are allowed in the cemetery, as is appropriate.


As I left the corn field today and walked into the cemetery I saw two older gentleman getting water from a hose. The hose seems to be related to a community garden which occupies a small field at the nether end of the cemetery. (Not sure how I would feel about eating those vegetables).
Not quite yet, thanks

One of these was wearing a ball cap and shorts and was attentive to something in his hands, a phone I think. He looked like someone who'd lost his way from the betting window at a harness track.

The other was getting water from the hose or trying to. The water-getter looked like Dumbledore after a few rough years and a defrocking. He had a nice-looking dog on a rope leash.  (The rope should have been a clue to me but I missed it on my first approach).

The dog barked as I came up out of the cornfield. Dumbledore was struggling with the leash and the hose. I was interested in the dog because it looked like a fox hound and I'm curious about those. It barked more so I stopped walking and waited for it to settle down.  It stood and stared and barked.

I like dogs and until today I thought they all pretty much liked me.  I gave dog and man a minute to compose themselves and then stepped forward, prepared to ask if the dog was a fox terrier as I passed. I didn't get to ask. The dog barked some more  pulled away from Dumbledore and with one simple twisting maneuver was off the rope.  I could see that it was going to slip out of its red collar and said, "He's getting out of his collar..." and in the next moment the dog had leapt up behind me and bit me on the ass.

Dumbledore managed to grab him straightaway.

"Did he bite you?!" he asked.

"Yes." I said.  I couldn't quite believe it.

"I've only had him two days," Dumbledore said. "He loves people when he gets to know them. He's a rescue dog. Blah Blah."

It's surprisingly awkward to be bitten by a dog while the owner is watching. I ventured one discreet pass of my hand over my bum. The dog hadn't gotten through the fabric of my stretchy pants. Had he drawn blood?I wasn't about to do a lot of probing - any probing at all in fact. My ass hurt. It hurts now as I sit here in my surplus office chair at home telling you about this. I had the presence of mind to ask if the dog had its shots.  Race track bettor looked up and said "yes."

I kept walking. I think Dumbledore was still talking but I just walked.

I'm a lawyer and I've worked with law enforcement for years. I decided about 10 seconds after the bite that I wasn't going to make a thing about it - except maybe as a story for my coworkers and you all. It was too minor. Anyway, I had no way to make such a report without another half hour of walking by which time the three culprits would have vanished. I also knew exactly what would happen if I did. The cops would want to see my injury...

I was thinking how every dog gets one free bite as I walked past Almond Hills and all those Moodys.  This means, of course, that until a dog bites someone the owner doesn't know if it might be dangerous. After that first bite, though...  It's a handy, weary metaphor for lots of shabby human behavior. I suspect from the way Dumbledore was struggling with that leash that the fox hound was a known trouble maker. Of course it wasn't the dog's fault he'd been brought on a rope to a graveyard where he had no business being.  If Dumbledore wasn't on notice before,  he is now.

Sunday, May 13, 2018

The Last Saturday Night at the Bull and Bear

She lives!

And by "she," I mean me.  Dear old blog, still waiting here for me to show up and care for it.  Sorry for the neglect. I have no excuse.

I was driven back because it occurred to me the other day that I might just have been a witness to history recently and I should probably write that down. Somewhere. Like here. So, here goes.

For the last four years, my daughter and I have traveled down to NYC for one weekend in February with another mother-daughter pair. We have been doing this just long enough for a few traditions to have developed.  The main one is that we have stayed at the Waldorf-Astoria.

You may have taken note of the news that the Waldorf has closed for three years for renovations. Most of the enormous building (it was the biggest hotel in the world when it opened in 1931) will be made over into condos by its owner, a Chinese insurance company.  The outside of the building has landmark status and can't be monkeyed with.  The inside - at least some of the public spaces - are (as I understand things) a topic of discussion. The last guests checked out on Wednesday, Wednesday March 1. 2017.   We checked out on Sunday, February 26, 2017. Which mean, of course, we were guests at the Waldorf Astoria for the last Saturday night of its operation.

We had made our reservations months before which was a good thing because the impending closure filled the place. It was mobbed the whole weekend. Lots of people seemed to be taking guided tours of the public spaces. The wait at check-in was painful.  The crowd (and in this I include myself) was not glamorous.  I saw one guest checking in wearing a faded sweat shirt that said "Rebels 85" on it).

The big money hotel consumers and celebrities are at  newer, sleeker places - hence the renovation. The Waldorf was owned by Hilton before the Chinese bought it and, being a Hilton, it was affordable for us. The place had been panned by more than one Trip Advisor review for being past its prime and shop worn, but I didn't mind that the chair cushions in the room were a little spavined and the base boards scuffed. I still loved it - built like a fortress enormous rooms, by NYC standards.  We have rented three rooms that connected and had a kind of mini palace.  It has atmosphere that can only come with having been around as a Park Avenue landmark since before World War II.  It is the product of imagination and of people who were doing their best to make something extraordinary.

Just off the lobby of the Waldorf-Astoria before the doors slammed shut - something kind of "The Shining" about this. Blame the photographer.

On that last Saturday night, my friend and I went for a cocktail at the storied Bull and Bear Restaurant. We had been cadging cocktail certificates all weekend. The Front Desk was looking after us...

The Bull and Bear was crowded and a little chaotic. We managed to find a table and order something. First drink requests were not available. The bar was using up its stocks.  We had our drinks and took in the atmosphere - the fabulous square bar with a sculpture in its center, the milling crowd. It was dark and you could practically feel the old money that was being chased out by the new.  When we were done we went back to our big rooms for the last night in the Waldorf.

This year we went back and stayed at a perfectly serviceable Omni in midtown. It was fine. It was even nice - but it was just a hotel.

Tchaikovsky String Quartet Op. 11 - II. Andante cantabile (Kontras Quartet)