COLUMN FROM MAY 17, 2001.
Last night, I was working late, standing by the copier when I look up and see a Chow-Chow running loose (but wearing a collar, making my odds at a rescue at least 50-50).
I (naturally) go running out into traffic to try to keep him from meeting a messy fate.
I should also mention that I'm wearing a little tobacco-colored AnnTaylor shift, pearls, and three-inch heels.
(The story's OK if you DON'T know what I was wearing, but it's better if you've got an image you can work with.)
At some point, it occurs to me that this is not safe or responsible behavior.
And this is around the time I start getting a LOT of heavy commentary from 1. guys in lowriders; 2. guys listening to rap music with blacked out windows (I couldn't catch all the lyrics, but I think they went something like this: "@#$% #@$% %$!! #$%&"): 3. drunks shuffling past (because it WAS cocktail hour), and 4. rednecks with Confederate flags in their trucks.
At almost all times, I am within sight of our building - but I somehow dimly realize it would take all of 4.3 seconds for any one of these guys to drag me into a car and flee the jurisdiction. (Plus I can see my coworkers already have their hands full with the schizophrenic who's screaming into the imaginary cellphone. They're probably going to be of limited assistance. Plus, unlike me, they are pacifists.)
I wonder briefly if I really have what it takes to slip off my sandal, plunge the heel into a guy's eye socket, withdraw it, slip it back on, and continue on my canine rescue mission of mercy without breaking stride. (I decide I do.)
Then I wonder where the hooker is who usually cruises the nearby bustop? I wonder if she'll think maybe I'm crowding her corner?
Ultimately, I gave up the chase, recognizing 1. its futility, and 2. an incipient cramp in my left thigh.
I'm tired. I'm hot. I'm sweaty. I'm despondent - because I haven't even achieved my goal which was to get the dog back to his owner (who is PROBABLY a drug dealer, not that I'm stereotyping).
I dejectedly head to the back of the building to burn a little more midnight oil. As I climb the stairs, I hear a commotion from the west wing.
Of course the place is deserted. The security system is off. And the building has been unlocked the entire time I've been chasing the dog.
Naturally, I do what they do in EVERY horror movie - which is to stride forth and recklessly OPEN the door to my office.
The source of the ruckus? (Ominous music would be good here.)
A roomful of BIRDS.
STRAIGHT out of Hitchcock.
I was, as you might guess, taken aback (i.e., I slammed the door, screamed, and went running up and down the halls EXACTLY like a cartoon character).
Of course my cellphone was trapped in my office (with the birds) and I no longer know any phone numbers by heart.
So I just (very sanely) decide to go door to door, up and down our street until I could find someone who'd help me.
That didn't go too well. Probably, (and here I'm guessing), because I'm imagining people heard me screaming and banging on their doors with both fists, and quickly and logically decided they wanted NO part of whatever was on the other side of THAT. ("Sell crazy somewhere else Sister," is most likely what they were thinking.)
Luckily, our neighbor (and good Samaritan), the appropriately named Carleton Wing was A. home, and B. willing to answer the door. Not only that, he was COMPLETELY nonplussed. Almost as if Tippi Hedrin pounds his door down everyday.
He told Ginger (his dog) he'd be right back. He walked into my office (whereupon I dramatically slammed the door and braced myself against it - as if he was going to TRY to escape, like in Young Frankenstein), and within minutes, had it calmly and peacefully cleared of all wildlife. I was imagining a scene right out of Snow White.
The staff has been busy speculating all day how I COULD have otherwise resolved this scenario (if Carleton hadn't been home), the most popular being the one where I SHOT the birds.
After dispatching them, I would've paged Gary (we call him the Wolf, but he's really our cleaning guy) whose first question would've been, "what time's your staff gettin' there? 30 minutes? Be there in 7," as we cut to a shot of him squealing up out front on two tires.
The next thing I could picture is him and his crew patiently cleaning all the gore off my walls, rolling their eyes, and musing aloud, with their usual long-suffering sighs of goodnatured resignation, "I'm not EVEN gonna ask how THIS happened."