I’m jogging down the street … in the rain … and I spot a chubby calf. No … it’s a dog. A calf-sized dog. With a lavender collar patterned with colored paw prints. She’s shy at first. But then I say something like, “Hi there, sweetheart. You. Are. Enormous.” I hold out a hand and I blast her with friendly vibes from my eye sockets like the superhero I’m deluded to be. She comes to me, leaning her gigundousness into me. Friendly vibes blast back at me, these from her tail. Clearly a mastiff, she sports a string of drool that originates from her jowl and has swung up and over her snout meeting back at the opposite jowl. As she performs the I-like-you-you’re-my-new-buddy dance all around me, smears of spittle dot my running pants, my sleeves, the jacket tied around my waist. She has no I.D. tags, she really likes me, and she intends to accompany me on the remainder of my jog. I’ve done it now. Where does she belong? What route did she take to get here? What will the rest of my day look like?*
Your turn: Take a walk that you know well–through your neighborhood, on the trail, around the block where you work, or your route to the train or bus. Pay careful attention to your surroundings, until you find something that doesn’t belong. It could be a mastiff. Or it could be a piece of garbage on the street, a coin, another animal, a car battery in the woods, anything out of place. Tell the story of how it got there.
*Her name turned out to be Twinkie– on account of her sweetness. I learned this when the local vet scanned her with what looked like a transporter module from the Starship Enterprise. Heavens opened, angels sang, she was chipped. She and her people were reunited that afternoon.