avocados-1081695_1280I’m standing at the avocado display at Trader Joe’s, Studio City, holding the dog in my arms and checking out the fruit, when a woman comes toward me and starts talking about the dog.
‘Oh, my god, look at you,’ she says to the dog, ‘aren’t you sweet?!’
Then she asks me if she can pat him.
‘Can I pat your dog?’ asks the woman who has long dark gray-at-the-source hair and is dressed in an Hawaiian shirt, dark blue track pants and white rubber sandals.
‘Of course, he’s called Charlie,’ I say, turning slightly toward the woman to make Charlie’s head more accessible.
‘Aw,’ she says as she starts stroking Charlie’s head, ‘I had 2 little dogs but they died earlier this year,’
‘Oh, that’s bad luck,’ I say.
Then, as she continues to pat Charlie’s head, she asks me if it’s an Australian accent she hears.
‘Is that an Australian accent I hear?’ she asks me.
‘Yes,’ I say, ‘but I lived in England for a long time so it’s not so extreme,’
‘I lived in Bundaberg, mate,’ she tells me, and laughs.
I laugh, too, and ask her how she came to live in Bundaberg.
‘I married an Aussie,’ she tells me, still patting the dog, ‘We were married for 8 years, but he couldn’t keep his arm straight,’
‘Oh,’ I say, ‘I see,’
The woman laughs and claps and raises her voice slightly and says-‘SEE! you know what I mean. I knew an Aussie would know what I mean,’
‘Yes,’ I say, nodding my head, ‘I know exactly what you mean,’
‘I gave him an ultimatum,’ she says, frowning slightly, ‘Me and the kids or the booze,’
‘Oh, dear,’ I say.
‘He gave it up for a while,’ she tells me, ‘but he went back to it,’
‘Shit,’ I say.
‘I didn’t want to lose everything,’ she tells me, ‘I have a nice house in the canyon,’
‘Nice,’ I say.
‘Yes,’ she says, ‘I had my dogs there but I can’t get anymore animals because I have vertigo and asthma,’
‘Oh, dear,’ I say, ‘that’s not good,’
‘No,’ she says, still patting Charlie on the head.
Then we go quiet while she pats Charlie and says sweet things to him.
Then she stops patting Charlie and laughs and says- ‘I gave him a hit of acid on a beach in Indonesia…and then I married him,’
And then she laughs again and rubs Charlie’s head.


  1. heathsyd

    i am forever approaching folk with dogs to see if i can have a pet, so i recognize and appreciate how conversations can evolve from a simple stroke , a simple kindness like letting someone pet your dog (or the dog you are looking after) can often make someones day . Good on ya!!


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