One thing about having a wife you’ve known for seventeen years is that you can bring up people from 1991 – someone neither of you had thought about in decades – and you’ll each have our own independent memories of them. In the very beginning of the decade, Tessa and I happened to live on the same street in Chapel Hill (McCauley St., for those of you playing the home game) and we both noticed the same woman walking her dog every day.
Thing was, this woman didn’t have one of her arms. And the next year, she didn’t have her other arm either. She seemed to be losing limbs at a rapid rate, quickly enough that my housemate Clay thought we should take action (although I’m not sure what his plan was).
What was truly bizarre is that she kept walking her dog even as she lost her arms, so that by 1993 or so, she had the leash tied around her waist. Bud and I used to watch her go by and fall silent, as if out of respect.
So Tessa and I were talking about this woman tonight, and she says, “well, how did she get the leash on the dog, and then tie it around her waist?” I wished she hadn’t said that, because a half-hour later, I was still obsessed with the conundrum. This woman was totally self-sufficient and seemed to have no help at home. So how the hell did she do it?
All the woman had to work with was half of her right arm. Tessa bet me dinner that I couldn’t put Chopin’s leash on him, and then get the leash around my waist. We dragged the sleeping dog into the living room and performed the following:
1. I’m sure the lady had the leash on a peg for easy access, and thus could use her elbow to thread the leash through the small loop at the end (where you’d normally hold it). This is important for later.
2. I told Chopes to sit, which he did, because he truly thought he was getting a late-night walk out of this. Oh, how he was mistaken.
3. I grabbed his collar with one foot, then grabbed the metal “snap” part of the leash with the other.
4. After five minutes of struggle, I managed to snap the leash onto his collar. He despised this part, but maybe the woman’s dog had more patience.
5. With the leash still looped through its own handle, step inside it (while it’s on the floor).
6. Use your feet to push the leash loop up around your waist, and secure it with the part of your arm you have left.
7. Walk dog around neighborhood, and inspire blogs to be written circa 2015.
So Tessa owes me dinner – so I’ve got that going for me, which is nice.
Or maybe that woman had her husband do it.