The Postscript: Animal office mates add to working from home
Today I will get Blue again.
Blue is the anxious Italian mastiff that I dog-sit on Wednesdays while his owner, Bill, works in the office. The new procedure is that I walk down to Bill’s house, fetch Blue, and bring him back to my home. This seems to work better than having Bill drop him off. When Bill does that, Blue hangs onto Bills legs and tries to avoid coming in my house like a petulant four-year-old trying to avoid daycare—which is exactly what he is.
When I go to Blue’s house, Bill has already left, but he’s not been gone so long that Blue is tempted to eat any of the furniture.
The first time I went there, I was a little concerned. Blue is a very large dog with massive jaws and a loud bark. I didn’t want to open Bill’s door if Blue thought I was an intruder.
So, as soon as I got into Blue’s backyard, I started singing, “Blue! Oh, Blue!” in my most endearing singsong voice. By the time I got to the door, Blue was waiting, tail wagging. When I reached for his leash, Blue was over the moon. “She’s come to rescue me!”
I went from evil babysitter to emancipator just like that.
Once Blue gets to my house, it’s a nonevent. Blue lies on his bed and sleeps most of the day. His eyes flicker open when I walk around the room and every so often, he sighs loudly. I imagine he’s letting me know that I’m a little dull, but my company is better than nothing.
I like having an animal with me when I work. For several years I had a cat named Lucy. Lucy was with me during my divorce, when I lived alone and cried a lot, and we became very close. Lucy was deaf, which made a lot of folks pass her by at the animal shelter. I didn’t mind that Lucy couldn’t hear. I talked to her anyway and when I wanted her attention from another room, I just flashed the lights and she came running.
Lucy was my constant companion but, like office mates everywhere, she could be troublesome.
I distinctly remember the morning I left my computer on overnight. I came downstairs and saw Lucy, at my computer. She had managed to open Excel and had a document populated with strange symbols and numbers. She had opened Word and somehow made it so that if I opened any document in a file every other document in that file also opened. Finally, she had a Google search going and was looking up the meaning of the word, “Itgy.” I am not making any of this up.
Of course, the last action is the easiest to explain. It is said that every cat has three names: a familiar name, a fancy name, and a secret name that only the cat knows. I could only conclude that by sneaking up on her as I had, I had uncovered Lucy’s secret name—and it was Itgy.
Blue doesn’t seem likely to mess with my computer and, even if he’s sleeping most of the day, I can tell he likes having me talk to him. The truth is, I’d be talking whether he was there or not. But it’s good to have some company while I work.
Every so often, I write something that surprises me or that I like. I read it aloud and say, “Blue! What do you think?”
Blue heaves an enormous sigh. And he’s right. It still needs work.
Till next time,
Carrie Classon’s memoir is called, “Blue Yarn.” Learn more at CarrieClasson.com.