Free-Floating Hostility

Friday, October 07, 2005

All's Well that Ends Well. Twice.

More from the annals of public transportation: This morning I arrived at the Amtrak station at 5:44, with forty luxurious seconds to spare. Michael had heroically braved the chilly morning to see me off before leaving to catch his flight to Sioux Falls, SD (motto: We Are Too a Real City). When we rolled up, it was immediately apparent that the 4:45 train had not arrived on schedule to pick up its load of vampires and speed freaks. The problem was a truck on the railroad; the prognosis was that Mike would make it to Sioux Falls before I made it to Biostatistics.

Fortunately, I bethought me of Ada. Ada is the other MPH student mad enough to commute from Davis to Berkeley. Actually, she's madder, cause she has to drive 20 minutes to get to the train station. That meant she had a car, though, which was obviously clutch. I flagged her down, and she said we could drive in if we found a third passenger so we could use the carpool lane. I noticed a guy I'd met a few weeks ago, the one who told me about the karoake (henceforth to be known as Amtrak Dave unless I come up with something cleverer). Dave agreed to ride with us into Berkeley and catch BART from there to his office in Oakland. Road Trip!

After a detour to the gas station and a detour to Woodland to fetch Ada's driver's license, we were on our way. We had quite a good time, and to my secret annoyance, we arrived early. The three of us reassured each other that the drive would have been hellish in rain, and there was no denying that the car trip disrupted our morning. Ada had planned to use the train ride to write a paper. I had planed to take care of some grooming I forwent in the rush to the station. Dave had planned to pee. None of these goals were accomplished in the car.

On my way home this afternoon, however, the train was punctual to the second. Inevitably so, some would say, since I was stuck at a red light two blocks away watching it punctually leave without me. I crankily betook myself to a neearby Peet's, thus breaking a successful two week coffee house fast. This, too, proved good fun though. There were two collies and a gentle pit bull taking the sun by my table, and a handful of babies who were very excited to see them. One of them became so excited that his diaper fell off and came down his pant leg, much to his parents' embarrassment.

The pit had been lying quietly behind my chair the whole time, and eventually one of the mothers asked if it was my dog. When I said no, a general unease rippled through the assembled coffee drinkers as they realized we had an ownerless pit bull in our midst. A Peet's barista (I believe that is the respectful term) came out and the dog submitted to much petting and a thorough inspection of her tags. They told us nothing useful. The Barista circled the building, calling out for the dog's owner. The dog seemed to feel that she was alone again and begain to cry. We were about to give up and call the ASPCA when I noticed what seemed to be the doggie equivalent of a money belt on her collar. We unsnapped it and aha! there was the dog's name, Sidney, and the owner's phone number.

Just at that moment, a gentleman coming out of Peet's stopped and said, "Oh, is that Sidney?" "Do you know her?" asked the Barista. "Yeah," the gentleman replied, "She's Jeff's dog. I didn't recognize her at first because she's normally so lively. She must be scared without her daddy." It turns out that Tim (for such was the gentleman's name) works at a nearby homeless center, and knew Jeff and his two dogs quite well. The barista put him on the phone and he convinced Jeff that Sidney was here waiitng for him. Tim kept her company for a few moments, and sure enough, Jeff appeared to collect his dog, who waggled alll over in her relief and joy. Then I caught the next train home.

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