Friday, December 23, 2011

The Lady with the Dog

In Chekhov, Anna Sergeyevna has a white Pomeranian.  In the Buffer Zone, the Lady with the Dog has a toy collie.  Like Anna S., she is always alone with the dog trotting along at her side.  I know she has had at  least two of these dogs.  After the first died, she walked alone for awhile, and then got a puppy who grew to be identical to the first dog.

The Lady with the Dog cannot drive because of a medical condition.  The medical condition that keeps her from driving is one thing, but I think there is more to the medical situation than most of us know.  Once she told me a complicated, circuitous story about demanding a certain medication from her doctor.  When the doctor refused to fill her request, she slyly stole the doctor's keys from her desk when the doctor was out of her office for a minute or two.  She held the keys hostage until she got her medicine.  Or something like that.  It was a strange conversation out by my mailbox.

Long ago, before I knew her, the Lady with the Dog was a rock and roll singer of some notoriety.  Her father was known in the business and brought her up as a fellow performer.  By the time I met her, her father had passed away and the medical condition had taken its toll.  I did hear her sing once, and she had a powerhouse raspy Janice Joplin wail.  She danced barefoot on the floor in front of the stage.

When she walks, she is often barefoot, or in spongey flip-flops.  Her body is trim and her blonde bushy hair flows over her shoulders.  From a distance you would mistake her age for someone much younger as she ambles--almost slouches along, arms loose at the shoulders. Really, she is an authentic old hippie.  She waves or gives a one finger salute at everyone going by in cars or on foot.

She may stop briefly and talk or give advice. She once told a boy on a BMX bike not to feel bad about having a small bike, no matter what other people might say about it.
She might say, "You take care now, honey."
She has called the moon "Old Bill Worry" because he has a frown on his face.
She once threatened some mouthy teens telling them she would come in their rooms at night and cut their throats.

They say people and their dogs look alike, and these days the Lady with the Dog and her dog do favor one another.  I saw her just a few days ago taking her walk in her pajamas, her hair wilder than ever and the dog tilting along beside her, fur matted and scrappy.

She saluted as I went by.  Here, in the Buffer Zone.

No comments:

Post a Comment