10 August 2011

in which i freak out a middle schooler

My pug is named Daisy. And today, Daisy got me in a situation that almost made me shout, "But I don't like 12-year-old boys, not in that way!" which is something I never thought I'd have to say.

Her full name, by the way, is Miss Daisy Marie Walker.

{I considered the name Miss Daisy Elizabeth Walker, but then I thought: my friend Elizabeth might not appreciate that. Naming a child after a good friend is one thing; naming a little fur ball with buggy eyes and a squished nose is another thing, especially when your friend isn't a big dog fan to begin with—although she is developing an appreciation for Miss Daisy.}

But I often call her baby pug.

Or just baby.

She responds to basically anything that ends in -y, a trait I'm sure my brother-in-law will exploit. My sister talked him into getting a pug, which he refers to as a Smelly Wad of Evil, or something like that. When he finds out that baby pug will look at you with love if you call her...you know what? I'm not going to give him ideas. I'm sure he's already brainstorming how to insult her/me.

So I call my pug baby, and now, who else is thinking, "Nobody puts Baby in a corner"? {If it wouldn't make me look so bizarre, I'd consider using that as a retort when my brother-in-law comes up with new names for her.}

This morning on our walk, baby pug took a right when I needed her to go left.

"Hey, baby, no! That's the wrong way! You come over here by me, okay, baby? I want you to be by me."

I called this out to her, a coaxing edge to my voice but with a sweet undertone, here on this sweet, slightly chilled August morning.

And that's when I saw him.

A kid who must've been 12 or 13, cutting across the lawn not too far from me.

Certainly within earshot of my "Hey, baby! Come over here by me!"

Now, middle schoolers are prone to looking freaked out all the time. They live in continual fear that they will either a) stand out too much or b) not be noticed enough.

Plus, they have limbs that are out of proportion with their bodies, and most of the time, they're focusing on looking like they're aware of where their limbs are, spatially.

So they look freaked out anyway.

But this boy looked at me like I was out trawling the manicured lawns of suburbia at 8am, just looking for someone with arms that hang down to his knees to be my baby.

He looked at me with eyes that said: "I see what you're doing. You're using that cute pug as a ploy. You pretend to love the dog, but what you really want is for someone like me to come talk to you."

I've never been looked at with such fear before, googly 12-year-old boy eyes taking in my Ann Taylor skirt, brown heels, pearl earrings, and pug with a pink harness on.

I've never felt the need to defend myself as someone who is not, oh so definitely not interested in 12-year-old boys. Usually, that's pretty clear.

"Oh, I was talking to my little pug! I'm so sorry to have scared you!" I tried to sound very grown-up and maybe a little matronly when I said this; I channeled Marian from The Music Man and Sarah Brown from Guys and Dolls. I wanted him to stop looking at me like a 29-year-old cougar, if he even knows what that is.

"S'okay. Your dog's nice." He smiled at Miss Daisy Marie Walker, and then he smiled at me, avoiding, as most 12-year-old boys do, eye contact. My matronly tone must've worked.

"I like to think so, thank you. Have a good day!"

"You, too!" And he shuffled off.

I very carefully and quietly said, "All right, Miss Daisy, let's go this way."


  1. Oh thank you so much for that. Today is crazy and I needed a good laugh! :-)

  2. Oh, I'm so glad I could provide a laugh, Beth! That's what I'm here for :)



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