Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Everything is off the charts with them.


Cold, overcast and windy. There's a thin layer of frost on the car windscreen. 'The Font' is flying to London for the day. We set off to the airport early, taking the back roads. The protesting farmers are again burning tyres and blocking the motorway. To add spice to the journey the frontier guards have started working 'to rule'. The lines at the passport desks spilling all the way back into the departure hall. The joys of travel.


Angus tries to arrange a family dinner in California. He phones his favourite restaurant in the Bay Area. A lady answers. '' It says quite clearly on our website that reservations can only be made a month ahead of time. Can't you read ? ". The surliness of the response catches me off guard. I mutter something apologetic and put the phone down. It's only later that a sense of irritation sweeps over me. Perhaps passive aggressiveness has become a trait of US 'fine dining' establishments. Angus makes a booking at another restaurant.


I'd like to say both PONs are deeply troubled by 'The Fonts' absence. Bob is. He searches the house high and low and finds it difficult to settle. Sophie, with a big brother doing all the work, has more of a 'wake me if you need me' attitude to herding.

Some poets have a way with words that brings the sunshine in. Here's a poem about dogs. Its telling of truth is nothing short of magical. It made me laugh.

If Feeling isn't in it
John Brehm


Dogs will also lick your face if you let them.
Their bodies will shiver with happiness.
A simple walk in the park is just about
the height of contentment for them, followed
by a bowl of food, a bowl of water,
a place to curl up and sleep. Someone
to scratch them where they can't reach
and smooth their foreheads and talk to them.
Dogs also have a natural dislike of mailmen
and other bringers of bad news and will
bite them on your behalf. Dogs can smell
fear and also love with perfect accuracy.
There is no use pretending with them.
Nor do they pretend. If a dog is happy
or sad or nervous or bored or ashamed
or sunk in contemplation, everybody knows it.
They make no secret of themselves.
You can even tell what they're dreaming about
by the way their legs jerk and try to run
on the slippery ground of sleep.
Nor are they given to pretentious self-importance.
They don't try to impress you with how serious
or sensitive they are. They just feel everything
full blast. Everything is off the charts
with them. More than once I've seen a dog
waiting for its owner outside a café
practically implode with worry. “Oh, God,
what if she doesn't come back this time?
What will I do? Who will take care of me?
I loved her so much and now she's gone
and I'm tied to a post surrounded by people
who don't look or smell or sound like her at all.”
And when she does come, what a flurry
of commotion, what a chorus of yelping
and cooing and leaps straight up into the air!
It's almost unbearable, this sudden
fullness after such total loss, to see
the world made whole again by a hand
on the shoulder and a voice like no other.


19 comments:

  1. Love this poem. It makes me love my dog even more.

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  2. Lovely poem, thanks for brightening the grey morning.
    Cheers, Gail.

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  3. What a great poem! It's the unfettered 100%ness of dogs that makes them so appealing. Hope Bob survives The Font's absence. Extra treats should help!

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  4. Love the poem - how true those words are. They describe every dog we've ever had....but he did forget to mention the sausages for a certain diva !

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  5. lovely lovely poem Angus. Hope the Font will be back soon :D sausages will help to calm Bob for now.

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  6. Tell the Font to wrap up warm, may look sunny but its VERy cold
    Love the peom

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  7. Are you kidding me with that restaurant story??! Unbelievable. I think that warrants another call to the owner or manager, that is just NOT acceptable, and I would want to know if an employee of mine was treating people that way (especially as it was a favorite place of yours). Thank goodness for dogs!

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  8. Lovely poem! Sorry to read of the ignorant restaurant reception - seems more and more these days.

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  9. The poem expresses it perfectly, doesn’t it? The gift of a dog’s love is wonderful consolation for woes and irritations.

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  10. the poem brought me to tears.
    thank you angus.
    and on behalf of all rude self important 'who do you think you are' americans...
    I apologize! what a welcome that was. unforgivable. and they have no idea how pompously ridiculous they are.

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  11. The essence of dogness is captured in that simply honest poem. At this moment, even though it is only 11:05 am and I am here to dispel loneliness, JH is lying on the rug in front of the door in the eternal hope that his favorite human, his dad, will come home RIGHT NOW!!! I am appalled by the "customer service" approach you received at that once favorite restaurant. I wish you'd mention it by name i th privacy of this blog so we could all avoid it if the occasion ever arose.

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  12. I'm not sure if your experience in making reservations is unique or not. What I do know is that it's extremely disappointing for me, as an American, that you've had this experience more than once. Knowing that this is a favorite place, and where you're calling from, etc., really would make me want to accommodate you the best way I could. I can only apologize and hope that your planned evening, at another restaurant, is an enjoyable and memorable one.

    And the verse is one I've printed out to remember.

    -Kim, Life at Golden Pines-

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  13. I'm not sure if your experience in making reservations is unique or not. What I do know is that it's extremely disappointing for me, as an American, that you've had this experience more than once. Knowing that this is a favorite place, and where you're calling from, etc., really would make me want to accommodate you the best way I could. I can only apologize and hope that your planned evening, at another restaurant, is an enjoyable and memorable one.

    And the verse is one I've printed out to keep to remember.

    -Kim, Life at Golden Pines-

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  14. In the past we have always found customer service excellent in the U.S. so are surprised that you should encounter such unpleasantness. I don't think such rudeness is confined to the U.S - it seems to happen everywhere these days. It's surprising that these places manage to stay in business. Personally I think whoever answered the phone should be sacked - surely the owner would not be so rude. Such an attitude to any customer, and more so because it is a favourite place of yours, should not be tolerated.

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  15. The poet knows his dogs, doesn't he?

    I do apologize on behalf of my compatriot at the restaurant. Frankly, I'm doing a lot of that these days.

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  16. I'm glad that you booked another restaurant, they do not need to be rude, their loss.

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  17. Lovely, lovely dog poem. Thank you. I am so missing the presence of a dog in the house, and am slowly coming around to where I can start thinking of another. This helps speed the process.
    As for the overdone Bay Area restaurant, it sounds as if the phone woman is taking herself, and the place, much too seriously. Time for a new and more realistic set of reviews.
    Given the number of restaurants in the area, it shouldn't be hard to find several new faves.

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  18. You have done the right thing by extending the just reward of moving your business elsewhere. Who knows the new restaurant may become your favourite restaurant. Who has the time for rudeness in this world of uncouth service people...I don't.
    Love love love the poem....I see my boy Brownie in every line.

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