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Urban Junkie

Monday, October 31, 2005

Of crackers and compensation

The labs are irritated with me today.

We had a minor disagreement this morning, on the subject of the number of chew sticks they should be allowed to eat in a day. The usual, negotiated, limit is one a day. It goes up to two each on days of high stress (e.g. when I’m late getting back from work, when I want to go out in the evening, when the rain cuts short their walk, or when the Talking Lift has been particularly voluble). But more than two, it is now well acknowledged, is a road straight to hell in the guise of violently upset stomachs. Years of bitter experiences laced with spoonfuls of Dependal-M have eventually settled down to a more or less amicable agreement to adhere to the rule of two.

It was Boogie who led the assault this morning, with the argument that their particularly mature handling of the crackers this year called for a reward of some sort. It wasn’t just Diwali they were coping with, she reasoned, it was also multiple other irritants that have recently been introduced into our lives.

The Talking Lift, for example, is something that no self-respecting dog should be expected to adapt to at this late stage in life. Anything with a nasal robotic voice that belts out instructions to please-close-the-door every few minutes must be regarded with deep suspicion. As technology goes, this is definitely one of the world’s sorrier ideas. Mercifully, we don’t have to get into the blasted thing because we live on the ground floor. Even so, that voice is a particularly penetrating one and tries one’s patience. Besides, why don’t people listen to it and just close the silly door, Gypsy would like to know. Why must the door be left open to whine at us through the afternoon?

Then there is the Singing Doorbell. Now, nothing wrong in principle with a doorbell that sings, as long as you know that’s what it does. A dog likes to know what’s what – order and predictability are vital, according to Boogie – and if you’ve been brought up to expect doorbells to ring you can’t suddenly find them singing. And a different song each time, too. Leaves no room at all for the conditioned response to develop. Embarrassing for a dog to not realize the bell has rung (or sung, in this case) and not be the first one at the door.

And finally, the biggest outrage of all is that yappy Lhasa Apso upstairs. Never before has another dog lived in the same building as us. And not only does he have a strategic advantage, being on the top floor, says Gypsy indignantly, he is also smaller and furrier and therefore more popular with the younger kids. The only consolation in this sorry state of affairs is that he has to ride in the Talking Lift thrice a day.

Hmmm. It is obvious where this is leading, and I must admit I'm impressed by the force of the argument. They actually have me feeling vaguely guilty, the wily things. The subject of chew sticks has however remained non-negotiable so far. We’re sulking in our respective corners, neither side willing to yield an inch.

And they’ve been behaving perfectly today. No paw marks on the futon. No ball thrown under the bed for me to retrieve. No barking contest with Lhasa upstairs. No arguments with the Talking Lift. Damn.

Why do I have a feeling I’m going to crack under the strain soon?


  • Thank you Anjali, Boogie and Gypsy. This time of the year is usually very depressing for various reasons (particularly so this year).

    Thanks for brightening it up. Lovely, quirky, heartfelt post.

    And just give them the chewies ya...such remarkable behavior must be positively reinforced.

    By Blogger Tara, at 5:14 AM, October 31, 2005  

  • Err .. one-and-a-half chewies, maybe?

    And thank you eeever so much for the link to The Meaning of Liff ..

    By Blogger One in a Billion, at 11:02 AM, October 31, 2005  

  • Ok, that was one fundoo post...didn't get it first, then read it again, with the comments...then enlighenment dawned...

    By Blogger the Monk, at 1:14 AM, November 01, 2005  

  • I totally sympathise with ur dogs! The only thing worse than talking lifts are talking cars that tell u to put ur seatbelt on... i know i know very traumatic - now i don't take chewies but i do take shoes

    By Blogger The ramblings of a shoe fiend, at 6:03 AM, November 01, 2005  

  • heh heh very funny...I totally empathise with the dogs though... I had a flat where right next to me was a talking lift that alternated in kannada and english...

    By Blogger apu, at 8:45 AM, November 01, 2005  

  • i have already cracked.. it took me a lil later than normal to figure out the labs!! :)

    By Blogger manuscrypts, at 5:39 AM, November 03, 2005  

  • Adorable.:)

    Ah, give them the chewsticks, they deserve them! Andtake pictures of them for me...it is important that we gush over each others labs. It's a bonding thing.

    By Blogger Aishwarya, at 8:54 AM, November 03, 2005  

  • tara: glad you enjoyed it :)... and yes, I did crack and give them the chewies ultimately

    the one: hi, and welcome! i went and had a look at your blog too and really enjoyed it. Will be going back :)

    the monk: yes, i tend to assume everyone is as tuned in to the labs as i am - obviously i need to put some footnotes in!

    shoe fiend: you have my deepest sympathies. That's certainly a fate deserving of a couple of pairs a day.

    apu: yes, mine does too. Does this mean you've lived in Bangalore?

    manuscrypts: never mind, looks like other people had the same problem :)

    aishwarya: am all for gushing over each other's labs ... will put up the pix post haste!

    By Blogger Anjali, at 4:57 AM, November 04, 2005  

  • Ayyooo paapa. Give them more no, please?

    By Blogger Sujatha, at 9:35 PM, November 04, 2005  

  • Hm. Anjali, yes, I used to live in blr, and you actually used to know me - you may not have recognised me, since I don't put up my real name in the blogworld :)

    By Blogger apu, at 11:52 PM, November 04, 2005  

  • And they say It's a DOG'S world...tch tch tch...

    By Blogger arvindiyer, at 9:29 PM, November 05, 2005  

  • Sujatha: these two really seem to have enlisted the entire blogging community's support. Yes, (sigh) i did give them the chewies ...

    Apu: :) I had a sneaking suspicion, which is why I asked. Good to get back in touch!

    Arvind: It IS a dog's world! Please note that I have been bullied not just by them but by several bloggers-at-large into parting with several chewies. Hmph.

    By Blogger Anjali, at 2:45 AM, November 06, 2005  

  • Funny!

    Duffy, the I'm-embarrassed-coz-of-my-name dog, says bow to pals Boogie and Gypsy! Duffy, also wants to say a :-p to Boogie, for Duffie has a someone special in it's life. It is [mutually] in love with Kitty, the could-parents-be-a-little-more-creative-in-naming-me cat. Duffy, is a liberal Dog. Duffy hates him when people wrongly accuse it of being heterosexual, the word was supposed to mean something else!

    Finally, Duffy is glad that Sir Elton John can finally marry his [male] partner, according to amended British laws.

    By Blogger Rahul, at 10:58 AM, November 11, 2005  

  • A wink and a wag from Boogie and Gypsy to Duffy. Also a slightly tentative wag to Kitty. Boogie and Gypsy do not quite know what to make of Kitty; in their experience cats are not to be trusted. However, they cannot help but admire Duffy's liberal attitude.

    For Kitty, they have a word of advice: parents cannot be trusted with names. Perhaps they need to be gifted a copy of TS Eliot's The Naming of Cats, to point them in the right direction?

    By Blogger Anjali, at 4:56 AM, November 12, 2005  

  • Liked your post Anjali.

    Glad i was directed to it. Hope to get back soon to read all the other interesting posts in this blog.

    Any photos of the wily doggies?

    By Anonymous sandy, at 6:37 AM, November 13, 2005  

  • Unfortunate as it is, Kitty's mom, a single parent, is poor. Kitty's mom goes to [rich] people's house to help their cats with the usual mice hunting, and the pat-me-i'm-cute stuff. Fortunately for Kitty's mom, the society in which she lives (in Colaba, Mumbai), uses Market Research from Mynmar, according to which an efficient cat is one that catches at least 3 mice a day. So Kitty's mom also affords a living by supplying pre-caught mice to memsa'ab cats in the society.
    The shallowness of the society helps them survive, buying books for naming unwanted children? You must be kidding!
    Duffy tried hard getting a, for the lack of a better word, a bitch, but its geek looks :( So after many-a-drunken nights at the infamous bar of Skimpy, The God-sent-me-to-make-you-happy bitch, Duffy decided to take control of life, and found Kitty.
    So, may be its local maxima, a sub-optimal solution that Duffy has attained, happy it is nonetheless.
    Btw, a bowdy to pals Boogie and Gypsy. For most dogs who go to school, monday's are black, what about Boogie and Gypsie?

    By Blogger Rahul, at 5:11 AM, November 14, 2005  

  • LOL. how i loved reading this post! i grew up with a german shepherd - she died last year at 13 years (grand old lady!).. i really miss these lovely touches that dogs add to life - your post brought it all back, thanks :)
    oh and - great blog! shall return to haunt :D

    By Blogger m., at 7:01 AM, December 19, 2005  

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