I’m a terribly, busy, and important person, and still I make time for the dogs. (So you have time to read this.)

January 15, 2014

My life is busy right now. Three jobs, two kids belonging to a total of four teams with a side of flute lessons.

I don’t have time to meander thru Sunday’s paper, I toss out the coupons, and the business and real estate, and get right down to Dinner With Cupid. I make food, and then we eat lots and lots of leftovers. I exchange quick texts to really good friends that go back and forth and back and forth while we attempt to find a mutual time we can both make it for coffee. I’m hoping they are reading the same subtexts I am- “I really love you and look forward to when we can spend time in the same room and I can see your face when I ask if you think this dress makes me legs look short or I can reach over and hug you when you talk about spending three weeks searching for just the right senior center for your mom.”

So, I have no time. The other morning, my daughter had created a beautiful picture to go along with a book report. I typed the report for her, it was much quicker than proof reading the damn thing, and I glanced at the outline she showed me. When she was walking out the door, I called out- “Make sure you bring that report home. I need to see the your beautiful illustration.” I’m pretty sure it is a “beautiful illustration”, but I still haven’t seen the finished product. She did mention she got an A.

But inside this life of mine, there is one luxury that is a necessity. Every day that the temperature isn’t below 15 degrees fahrenheit, and there aren’t sheets of rain racing down in my general direction, or snowflakes floating and sticking to the sheets of black ice all over the road- I take the dogs for a walk.

I carry Sophie and Coco to the car. I stuff them inside. I grab a coat, my headphones, my IPhone, and a cup of coffee from hours before placed in a really tall plastic water glass so it won’t spill.

We drive to Cunningham Woods, about a mile and a half away from our house.

When we pull into my parking spot, always the same spot, if the dogs got turned around by a particularly amorous, intact, black lab they’d be able to find it, the car of course. None of us like the lab much. I slide open the side door to the mini van and they spill out of their seats the way that Katy and Colin did right after they first figured out how to get out of their car seats without any help.

I sit behind the steering wheel, iphone in my lap, speaker cords tangled in the steering wheel. I open up Spotify, the magical spot that holds all of my songs. I pick a play list, I look for a song. I find what I need on that particular day, I place the headphones over my ears, I untangle the cords from the wheel and the gear shift and my foot. I put my keys in my pocket. I think about locking the car. I don’t.

I hop out of the car, carrying nothing more than phone, wearing nothing but my coat with deep pockets,(and clothes of course. This isn’t going there). Inside my coat are my keys, and maybe a piece of gum I seized in the most recent “you can’t have gum in this house until you learn to put it in the trash when your’e done.”

We all start our journey. Sophie is the slowest. She sniffs. She peers out at other dogs from behind trees. Coco dances, hops, races, skids, he’s a pinball mini doberman pinscher on crack.

I follow along behind. I’m not really following them. I’m just moving along a path we’ve taken a million times before.

Some days, I’m listening to old hip hop- “Get down with OPP, yah you know me…”, TLC, Mary J Blige. Sometimes I’m checking out the latest rap song I heard when Colin had radio control. Often, I’m dipping to old songs I’ve heard a million times before. One day I listened to five different versions of “Romeo and Juliet” originally by Dire Straits, but did you know the Indigo Girls did a cover? Another afternoon, I checked out Richard Thompson’s “One Thousand Years of Popular Music,” the highlight of which was his cover of Britney Spear’s classic “Oops, I did it again.”

These walks take anywhere from twenty minutes to an hour and a half. I take as much time as I can, or as much time as I need. I tell people that I have no choice, the dogs need their walks.

And they do. But I really need my ramble, and a little bit of time singing along to silly pop music, gritty rock and roll, ballads, and anthems. I’m taking moments to visit the person I was when that music was probably a pretty crucial way I defined myself. I remember as early as junior high. First week of school, first time someone new sat next to me at the lunch table, one of my first questions, or one of their first questions, would be- “who do you listen to?”

These days, I get a chance listen to a little bit of everything. But you know, it’s only because the dogs really need their walk.

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