As the days become increasingly shorter and the air's bite gets sharper, and the day's endless list of tasks keeps getting longer - the opportunity for my daily walks with Lance, my 13 year old yellow lab, gets shorter and shorter. But I was determined yesterday to get away from work and the computer before the darkness settled in and when he saw me grab the leash off the hook on the wall, the "smile" on his face was priceless!
It was about 4:30PM EST and the afternoon sky was glowing a faint gray; not yet dark but the light of the sun had definitely been extinguished. Lance, who ordinarily gallops outside with no particular destination other than opposite where he's suppose to be in our yard, stayed close to my heel in anticipation of being strapped to his leash for our walk. As I fumbled with the clasp and his collar, my hands felt that momentary tingling of cold that makes you shake loose the sleeve of your shirt to cover your hands quickly from that shocking effect of the first realization that next time, you should remember to grab the gloves on your way out!
We avoided the traditional walk through the field and the park. While in bed the night before, I was shocked to hear the howling of coyotes pretty close to the development and the creepiness of it made me nervous so late in the day... I steered him up the main hill of our townhouse community towards the street parallel to ours. As we trotted up the hill I pulled on his leash dragging him off the curb while he tried to sniff every falling leaf and I fumbled with the wrapper of a snack-sized Snickers that I stole from the basket next to the front door left over from Halloween; fumbling of course, as I tried to open the wrapper with my hands, half hidden in my Old Navy sweatshirt!
As we turned the curb onto the next street, I let Lance win the tug-of-war as he pulled me onto the curb with him and I giggled as I caught the now freed tiny Snickers bite, before dropping it. I let him drag me along as I tried to dig my hands back into the upper warmth of my sleeves and I finally looked up to appreciate the lingering colorful leaves on their branches.
As we walked along I noticed a neighbor inside her lit garage packing the back of her SUV while her large black dog with a bright blue collar sat directly behind the truck looking out at us. I instinctively clutched Lance's leash tighter and looked down at him. When he was younger he would excitedly bolt after anything that moved! With age he wags his tail when he sees people, completely ignores small dogs as if he couldn't be bothered with them, but he still gets excited when he comes across large dogs...
He looked up, wagged his tail, pulled forward a little and then went back to sniffing the ground around him again. I stood there a little perplexed as I looked back towards the open garage door. The woman waved as I greeted her with a "hi!" and Lance and I continued walking as we reached the driveway where she stood directly in front of us. I turned towards her again and stood there in absolute SHOCK and audibly gasped when she grabbed the large dog by his bright blue collar and flung him over her shoulder and threw him into the back of the truck!
I must have blinked what seemed like a hundred times in the instant it took for her to throw the dog over her head and into the truck.
"Oh my god!" I screamed!
Awestricken and almost paralyzed by what I had witnessed, I walked forward towards her and in the first fraction of a second of thought, wondered quite frankly, if the Bionic Woman had been living up on the hill from me all this time and I had just witnessed her secret powers and in the second fraction of a second a strange haunting wave of fear took over me as I hastened my pace up the freakishly long driveway, worried about the dog that was just thrown like a rag doll into the back of the truck!
And then I froze.
It was as if I was having an out of body experience... seeing myself in a wide panoramic sweep of the neighborhood as I stood in the middle of this driveway with my left hand limp at my side, my dog standing there looking at me startled and my other hand clutching my chest in sheer shock and surprise.
And then it happened...
...the kind of laughter that starts deep inside you - in a place whose very existence because of the seriousness of everyday life, I sometimes question.
I laughed and laughed. I turned and started walking away as my laughter echoed through the neighborhood louder and louder! The tears started covering my face and my cheeks began to burn as I gasped for air in between my bursts of giggles! I bent down trying to gather my composure as Lance licked my face of my tears and the laughter continued!
When was the last time you laughed until you cried and just kept laughing?! The last time you laughed without covering your mouth or stifling the giggles - just opened your mouth and laughed OUT LOUD not worrying about anyone around you and what they must be thinking!
Lance and I started walking again as I continued my laughing and grabbed my phone to call my mom at work to tell her about the Bionic Woman who lives in my neighborhood!
If my laughter had begun to subside before calling her to tell her my story, the recollection of it renewed my hysteria! It took me forever to get out the details of my "vision" between my impolite laughter!
Finally, as the now infectious DLV (Dorana Laughter Virus) had taken its course, she asked,
"So, was it a stuffed animal?"
Her question renewed my fit of giggles as I manage to get out,
It was a big, black GARBAGE BAG WITH BLUE HANDLES!
I NEED GLASSES!"
I spent the rest of the walk calling my friends and sharing my newly discovered diagnoses spreading the Dorana Laugh Virus for the next several hours, wondering if it would still be so funny when I could tell my story to my boyfriend hours later.
Three hours later as I drove home from running the evening errands, I pulled my car over to the side of the road unable to see through my tears of laughter, telling my story to my best friend, I gasped in hysterics,
"It's STILL FUNNY!"