I always feel guilty when a week or more goes by between HinesSight postings. So it is time for Camp Sherman catch-up, now that we’re ensconced in a quiet cabin in Central Oregon for a few days with no TV to watch. I emphasize those words to demonstrate our Thoreauian commitment to natural simplicity—though actually it is less a commitment than necessity, since television signals can’t make it through the trees and Black Butte to the cabin, and neither cable TV nor cellular service has found its way to Camp Sherman yet (for which we’re grateful, really, except on Saturday afternoons in the fall when a must-see football game beckons).
Well, to be honest, we do have a 15” TV with attached VCR that we haul out of the closet when we get tired of reading and watching the dog sleep in the evenings. Of our four cabin co-owners, only one other family chipped in to buy the TV/VCR with us, so the other two families impressively get through their time here completely televisionless. Their example gives us something to strive for, perhaps in another life, but for now we bring videotapes of our beloved “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy” and “Nip/Tuck” episodes for when we need a TV fix.
Today we made our annual pilgrimage to the Sisters Harvest Faire, which is an enjoyable juried arts and crafts fair, notwithstanding the highly questionable decision to add a final “e” to the name of the event. We came away with our usual artistic haul: another (purposely) rusted animal cut-out sculpture to put in our yard; a big bag of Kettle Korn (great stuff); and fused-glass earrings for Laurel We followed our usual earring purchase script, which has us repeating well-rehearsed lines:
She (holding up earrings in front of mirror): “I don’t know…I really don’t need these…I have so many pairs…Maybe they dangle down too far…I already have some that are really similar…But the color is what I’ve been looking for…I don’t know if I’ll ever find any like these again…It’s so wasteful, though…They’re kind of expensive…I don’t think I should get them…(pause, looks wistfully at husband, still holding up earrings.
Me (reaching for earrings with one hand, and VISA card with other hand): “They look great on you. You deserve them. Give them to me.”
She: “Thank you.”
It’s a nice man/woman drama we play, filled with all sorts of subtle sub-texts and unspoken messages. For a mere $30 or less I feel like Daddy Warbucks for a few minutes, and Laurel feels like the beautiful woman (that she is) being taken care of by the man who loves her (which I do). I was just reading, in the latest issue of Utne Reader, an article about how sexual equality has gone to far in this country, that 50-50 doesn’t mean equal as in “the same,” but equal as in “each is equally different.” The author called for men being more like men, and women being more like women, rather than men trying to act more like women, and women trying to act more like men. Works for me.
However, I don’t know how this fits in with me fussing around with Serena’s bandana before we set out for the Harvest Faire today. Laurel wanted to leave the family dog in the cabin, but I recollected (or thought I recollected) vast numbers of dogs on leashes walking around the Faire the past two years we had gone. And now I wanted to be one of those people who gets endless compliments and attention from other Faire-goers: “Oh, what a nice dog…Can I pat her?...What a great personality…What kind of mix is she?” To aid my cause, I found a blue bandana that added a certain artistic Western cattle-dog flair to Serena’s persona, and spent quite a bit of time getting it adjusted just right so it hung causally down around her neck in a fashion that looked, hopefully, like I hadn’t spent a lot of time getting it to hang casually down around her neck just right.
So we park the car, put Serena’s leash on her, and I proudly set out for the Harvest Faire, having rehearsed my answers to all the questions and comments I’d be getting: “Almost four years old…German Shepherd/lab mix…...Her sister was black, but she has the Shepherd look with a Lab personality.” Yes, I was all ready to be the center of attention with such a wonderful dog in tow, but reality quickly hit. In my defense, this was the first time we had taken her to an event like this with lots of people, some of whom had brought their own dogs. The competition turned out to be more intense than I had anticipated.
I learned that people who take dogs to an arts and crafts fair(e), which means that you have to continually stop your dog from sniffing private parts (both of humans and other dogs), and you can’t go into any booth with things that can be knocked over, generally have cute/interesting dogs that they want to have noticed—just like me. This mostly means: (1) large rare dogs, and (2) small adorable dogs. So here I am, on the other end of a leash with a lab/Shepherd mix, neither rare nor truly adorable, and I’m having trouble getting the buzz that I had expected back at the cabin.
One lady with a fuzzy brown dog about the size of half a loaf of bread was stopping traffic because it was so incredibly cute. To Laurel’s horror I took Serena over to touch noses (or other body parts) with it, and check out the competition. Laurel was afraid that Serena was going to eliminate the competition, because one playful bite would have taken care of this little bundle of fur. But like most tiny dogs, this one was super-aggressive, trying to jump at Serena while she cocked her head, apparently thinking, “What the ____ is that bite-sized piece of _____ doing acting like that?” We got away clean, with no lawsuit pending, but I had fallen into a funk, thinking that we never were going to take center dog-stage now.
The universe must have heard me, though, because a couple came up to Serena just as we were about to leave the Faire and gave her and me a good grilling, saying all the right things. I got to use my bag of answers, thank heavens: “Almost four years old…Lab/Shepherd mix…No, not a yellow lab, her sister was black…Yes, she has the shepherd look and the lab personality…Sure, you can pat her.”
That gave me hope for next year. I’m beginning to think it was the bandana. A new color, tied differently…could make a big difference.