Saturday, June 23, 2012

Two minutes to six: It's not time yet.

My children have to walk the dog every day; my daughter at 3:30 pm; at 6 pm, it's my son's turn. It's one of the few chores they have. For two years now, it's been a daily battle.

I didn't want a dog in the Bronx. I had the ugliest dog in the world in Spain; a small, black mutt named Buddy. My wife gave it to me when we were dating, saying it would give me some responsibility, not that I needed or wanted any. Since I lived alone">in a converted pig hut ">on the side of a mountain,  I guess I appreciated the companionship. He followed me everywhere in our little village, even into the local bars. Everyone came to know him.

When we had our baby girl, my wife decided she hated him. Buddy ended up going to live with her dad. He resided there happily for a year, until he was bitten by a goat tick. He died within 24 hours. I swore I would never get another dog while I was married.

When we moved to the Bronx three years ago, my daughter started lobbying for a dog. My son pitched in, and my wife took their side, arguing that a dog would keep them busy and be their friend during the transition  to a new country. My argument was that they had no idea how cold New York winters could be--none of them would want to walk a dog on a snowy morning, on a sleeting afternoon or when it was freezing cold at night. Of course, I was assured (a thousand times) that the responsibility would be all theirs, and I wouldn't have to worry about a thing...

After two years of ownership, neither my son nor my daughter will walk the dog unless they are specifically told to do so. Every single day...even after being told 700 times, they can't seem to remember, to fathom such a task.  Coco also has to put up with:

  • "Not now. I'm busy."
  • "They open the back door, and the dog craps in our postage-stamp yard.
  • "They run the dog outside for thirty seconds, barely giving him a chance to lift his leg. 
Since I actually have my own chores to do (like earning a living), I can't always remind them to walk the dog.  When I ask about it later, my daughter simply resorts to lying. 
"Sure, I walked him." 
"But it's pouring out, and he's not wet."
"I dried him."
"He's not even damp. What'd you do, simonize him?"
"I walked him."
"He was crying at the back door when I walked in the house, so I let him out. He closed his eyes and peed like he his bladder was going to burst."
"He always does that. I walked him."
"No, he doesn't. He only pees like that when hasn't gone out all day."
"I told you, I walked him. You think I'm lying?"
"There's no thinking involved. I know you're lying. I'm as sure of it as life itself. There is no question about it, no chance of it being otherwise. You are 100 percent, no-doubt-about-it, absolutely lying to my face."
That's when she stomps off in mock indignation. Sometimes she'll admit later that she didn't walk the dog, depending on how big a deal I make out of it."> 

Then there's my son. Even after being told to walk Coco at 7 or 8 pm, he'll keep the dog waiting interminably, while he finishes whatever level he's on in Combat Murder or whatever. There's no hurry. But if you ask him at any time before 6 pm, well, that's simply not doable. His reply, without taking his eye off the computer screen:
"Two minutes to six. It's not time yet."
Take the dog out before 6 pm? Impossible!


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