Mexican Mirror Image

‘A Dog’s Life’

I learnt the other day that dogs generally fall into two categories.

First, those dogs whose eyesight is short, but whose noses are fine-tuned. Bloodhounds for instance. These animals make good pets. Primitive creatures given to letting most everything up their noses in the belief that direction has to be sniffed out. If the winds are blowing the other way it can be problematic.

On the other hand there are those dogs that have little sense of smell whatsoever and rely more on a sharp set of eyes for the distance. I was led to believe that dogs in the later category are invariably impossible to control. Afghans, for instance. Primitive creatures given to not letting anything in front of their faces get in the way of their desperate headlong rush to what appears shimmering a long way off. It comes from evolving as creatures in such a harsh and barren landscape. There was never anything in front of your face other than one of another tribe even more desperate than you.

It is ironic; fine tuned sharp long distance vision creates blindness to that which is up close and staring us in the face. And a short term focus with a keen sense of smell for what’s here is like a dog chasing its tail blind to that beyond the self.

And as we go along the road ahead we come to a fork so we take it. Postmodern 101.

A Street Scene

By JOHN MCCULLY

It’s lunchtime and Mr. Hubbell is in a hurry.  It isn’t that he had something important to do, no, quite the contrary; if he had important things to do he would not spring forward towards the task, not at all.  He was in a hurry precisely because he had absolutely no need to hurry.  He was hurrying just for the pleasure of being in a hurry, nothing more.  He is first off the elevator, first across the marble floor to the revolving doors, first outside; being first is giving him pleasure today.  He has just left a meeting, a meeting where he made his presence felt, to good avail, he would add, so with a tasteful swing in his step he hits the pavement running, comes around to the west, and heads back to his office just a few blocks away across the heart of downtown Ottawa.

Mr. Hubbell, on this bright and brisk November day, is fully energized.  Within a few strides he has gained cruising speed passing everyone on the street.  There are times when he enjoys walking rapidly among people in the streets, the weaving and bobbing, determining who would go where, and how to navigate to not be impeded, but willing to make small adjustments in a harmonious fashion he believed everyone should be accustomed to, like all good Canadians, and standing ground if required, especially if pushed.  Everyone must be allowed their right to be different, and little unpredictable moves on the part of what is clearly a recent immigrant, or a confused person of long standing, is to be expected, tolerated, even self-righteously proclaimed as multi-cultural, but serious abuses are clearly out of the question.  Weaving in and out with good taste, gentle aggression, standing ground where a need arose, having a damned good workout, if you will, mind and body, does our Mr. Hubbell, as he strides along with dexterity, grace, good taste and impeccable judgment, so he thinks. There is indeed a measure of quality, he concluded, in a very brisk walk along the street in this fair city, most any time at all, especially if one is feeling well with the world, the world is well enough for the moment.

Yes indeed, Mr. Hubbell is energized.  He picks up the pace.

He sees a woman coming out of a building on his left and converging on his path.  She is moving much faster than the crowd, she swings around moving ahead in the same direction as Mr. Hubbell.  With a tightening of step his momentum takes him graciously past, ahead, leaving the poor damsel behind. Mr. Hubbell is feeling very competitive; anything out there….shapely legs included…..and we have a race.

It must be understood that our Mr. Hubbell is not really looking at this woman from a competitive point of view, or that he is delighted with the shape of her body, her radiant beauty, or her high-fashion self-confident naturalness, her presence, as he breezes past with a glance, but we should also not imagine that this form is lost on him.  Far from it – she is clearly a very attractive woman, elegant apparently, with a formal but loose, languid step.  Mr. Hubbell is not about to be sidetracked by such heavenly delights on the street, not at all, and with hardly more than a glance over the shoulder she is essentially forgotten as he paces steadily along, breathing easy.

He approaches a traffic light.  It’s lunch time, hectic more than busy, lots of people and vehicles, but not too frantic. He thinks if he makes a run for it he might possibly just make it as the light changes without serious risk of being run over, and knows that nothing could be further from his mind.  He is all for a brisk walk, but breaking into a run is excessive. He glides to a halt on the edge of the street, and waits. He looks at the people, some of whom look back at him, and the odd one, yes, quite odd really, thinks Mr. Hubbell, smiles; recognizes his existence.  He notices that most people do not see each other except for some who appear to see everyone, him included. Mr. Hubbell reflects on the city, the mass of people and the presence, and understands that if one really looks there are those out there who are looking in as well as out, and vice versa, thinks Mr. Hubbell as he waits for the light to change again. Sometimes Mr. Hubbell did not want to engage.  Like many people, he withdrew to a pretext of bland selfness in that his face wore the same expression as the others.  Mr. Hubbell likes to think of himself as having sensible good taste, and is somewhat intolerant of those who don’t understand.  He understands that his intolerance is a matter of misunderstanding, in theory, but he also considers his judgment to be sensible and of good taste, and the paradox was not lost on him, however to all intents and purposes Mr. Hubbell simply carried on keeping on carrying on mostly because to do otherwise would not be in good taste, not sensible, he liked to think, and it all comes down to good taste; sensibilities.  Indeed, we might agree, however let’s not forget our Mr. Hubbell is more mature, and the testosterone driven lust is no longer leading him astray, causing him to make foolish well-meaning commitments in the name of love.  Likewise, we would do well to understand that the quizzically minded interrogation of his reasons for doing anything other than nothing are reflective of a deep appreciation for thinking, simply thinking, reflecting, re-thinking, and thinking again.  He thinks he has not changed very much at all, lest of all his mind, testosterone included, not that his thinking is in vain.

His mind switches abruptly to the woman, the woman whom he passed and from whom he had such a strong sense of presence from the passing, as she emerged from the shadows legs first, shapely.

And here she comes, thinks Mr. Hubbell, out of the corner of his eye, she stands next to him on the footpath, looking away, pacing, deliberately oblivious to his presence.  He feigns precisely the same.  Their exclusive mutual decision to ignore the other served only to heighten this embryonic cosmic connection.

Mr. Hubbell watches the traffic light.  He is quite the student of these situations, has the approach down to a fine art.  His all encompassing eye on the traffic patterns, the comings and goings, the likely unfolding based on the timing of the lights he need not wait but will get a head start, fast off the start line.

It takes forever, they are clearly both quite impatient, rearing to go, it is clear that something special has begun.  Mr. Hubbell is becoming ever more conscious of this woman wearing the hooded cape, with style and long legs who moved fast on the street.  Her presence is such as to dominate the mind of Mr. Hubbell, momentarily, take him from his path.  It was his intention to take a brisk walk for no reason in particular, nowhere urgently to go, therefore he was relaxed, he would not be outpaced by anyone, especially a woman, notwithstanding his predisposition to being lured by such exquisite personifications of femininity, the oh, so chic femme.  No, no, no, not today, Josephine, hardly needs to be said, never crosses his mind.  He will simply get the jump as the lights change, off he will go, and that will be that.  Perhaps he will toy with her, he thinks, but only as is compatible with the briskness of his pace and the momentum of his mood.

He reads the traffic lights.  Right on the button, in fact slightly earlier than he should, he is off, up to speed in a flash, across the street and through the people traffic, dodging with expertise, turning his body with the grace and timing of a ballet dancer, slipping inoffensively close, bothering no one, across the street and on to the sidewalk, to find, lo and behold, this woman right there, at his side, shoulder to shoulder, and furthermore, she isn’t looking his way whatsoever, just dead straight ahead, the hood of her coat hides her from My Hubbell in such a way that she remains a body, an abstraction, he can not see her face.

But that scarcely matters as Mr. Hubbell inwardly acknowledges her deftness, at least, in negotiating the throng seemingly as proficiently as himself.  But now a real challenge begins as they head off westward, shoulder-to-shoulder, stride for stride, quite together sharing the lead and not giving an inch.  Mr. Hubbell settles in for the long run with an adventurous pace that while designed to intimidate is not really sustainable over the distance to go, but he imagines bluff to be appropriate at this time.  He oozes resolution, palpable self-confidence, and yet again puts her out of his mind as he steps aggressively ahead.  And so they walk at an incredibly fast pace along the streets of downtown Ottawa, side by side, a totally distanced joined-at-the-hip bizarre event.

Mr. Hubbell now thinks this hooded long legged woman on his right is odd.  Clearly, now, thinks Mr. Hubbell, this is indeed all a bit odd.  He thinks if he is thinking this is odd, very odd, more odd with each step along the way, then she might think it odd also.  If she’s thinking what he’s thinking, and vice versa, which any normal persons would do under the circumstances, then she knows this is very odd indeed, obviously, thinks Mr. Hubbell.

She knows!

And knowing now that she knows Mr. Hubbell looks at her quite differently, and a warm feeling comes over him.  Now, thinks Mr. Hubbell, toying is taking on new meaning.  Who is toying with whom!

Mr. Hubbell tells himself to let her get ahead.  He ever so gently eases back on the pace, like a finely tuned long distance machine where speed is variable and variations become part of the rush.  Mr. Hubbell settles comfortably a pace and a half behind in this gracious intrigue, and immediately knows he did the right thing.  Now, for the first time he is able to see her, as she is ahead and to one side, and he is overwhelmed by her physical beauty.  Her legs in thick black stockings, classic beauty, strong shoes like his but with silver buckles, a short black hooded coat, a short brown skirt, a solid pacing grace and rhythm.  They become street dancers, dancing in the street and they know each other without words as they fly down the street, a steady rhythm of straight ahead togetherness as unknowns where obscure and bizarre interconnections went on end to end within the dance they had not danced ever before, not even alone in their wildest minds, a transcendental moment if ever there was one, thinks Mr. Hubbell.

Up ahead the light changes, she makes a run for it, he has to rush to catch up, to get across just before the traffic jumps forward coming his way.

Side by side again.

She really is toying with me, thinks Mr. Hubbell.

Up ahead a path veers off to the side, the side Mr. Hubbell is on, and it is the path he will take to the building where he works.  He wonders if, as they part, they will share a flash of recognition.  He determines not to look.

He picks up the pace yet again and begins to ease over gentle away to the left on the diverging path.  The hooded black cape and the stunning long legs stay right on his shoulder, she is going his way, and he smiles with delight because now he knows he will really see her and see who she is and hear her voice and vice versa in laughter and in grace.

The path narrows, their shoulders touch, she laughs, they are close as they enter the edifice, she turns, smiling, he sees her face, they speak…

And nothing is ever the same again.

—–

Another Bird

What came before, and what came after!

This Yale thing; I don’t know; fun for sure…got me thinking, and I like that.