#751: Zoe

February 13th, 2017

She has some trouble on the stairs.

Sometimes she stops at the bottom, reaches up one paw as if to tap, then just puts it down and nervously leans back and forth, staring at the step. Then she’ll look up with pleading eyes just peeking under her big bangs and eyebrows.

If you answer the plead and start down the stairs meaning to carry her up, about two-thirds of the time she’ll run off, thinking you came to play with her. She’ll come back when called, but throws a little glare and a huff to let you know she doesn’t like it.

She doesn’t care for laps or having arms around her, but she’ll amble close and bump into your leg over and over for neck scritches.

She likes eggs and has to be lifted into her favorite chair.

And she’s a good girl.

My significant other has been housesitting. As a result, I’ve spent much of the weekend hanging out in the Bungalow Belt with an aging dog named Zoe.

It’s been a remarkably domestic weekend. Cooking, doing crossword puzzles. Zoe and I watched a Godzilla movie on Svengoolie. My significant other didn’t seem to care for it, but I could tell from the way Zoe slept on the other side of the room with one ear flopped backwards over her head, that she really got what Toho was going for.

I took a walk for a bit, sans Zoe, around the neighborhood.

The area around Mayfair and Albany Park is a weird statistical blip where the world seems to work. Women in hijabs walk by Korean signs near men chattering in Spanish. Storefronts look tattered and empty, just like any place in 2017 without a multinational conglomerate backing the show, but less so than in other places. The title “owner” still exists here, even if it doesn’t exist as often as it did.

An award shop’s window proudly displayed a trophy shaped like forceps and another shaped like praying hands, the latter clad in Korean writing so I’ll never know if it is in fact a medal for praying really well. A Korean-American Senior Association was having a rummage sale I’m still kicking myself for not checking out. I didn’t have cash and didn’t want to enter their world just to gawk.

And beyond, behind, backing these streets where diversity actually seems to work for once, little houses. Happy little bungalows with backyards, neighborhood watch associations and an aging dog we call Zo-Zo who lifts her head up and wags her little butt when she sees you.

I’ve been making some plans lately of the type that can get sort of scary, but I know I’m not scared until I start imagining I was a storied lover.

When I start pretending women cooed and swooned at my presence, when I imagine all eyes were on me 10, 20 years ago, when I mentally transmogrify past smooches into great passions like an old man rehashing peewee football wins, then I’ll know my feet are cold.

Right now, I’m fine. I ran around a planet looking for novelty. Right now, I can only think how nice it is to have four walls and both a good girl and a good woman to come home to.

What's this?

You are currently reading #751: Zoe by Paul Dailing at 1,001 Chicago Afternoons.

  • Get Stories by Email

  • Chicago Corruption Walking Tour

    Join the email list for tour dates and info.