September 29th, 2003

bob

The indignities of age

“Are you deaf?” her speech was loud and slurred when she leaned down to Bob in our lobby, her white wine almost sloshing on him. In her mid-forties, she was sausaged into a little cocktail dress for the building’s "Goodbye Isabel" party last week. Bob and I were just trying to sneak our way through the gathered residents on our way back from a walk. Bob looked up at me, helplessly.

“No, he hears just fine,” I said as I tugged on his leash toward the elevators. Then, out of earshot, I muttered, “And he finds grotesque cunts like you repulsive.” It’s not the first time Bob and I have been faced with coarse questions about his health or age. It happens constantly.

“Oh, look at how white his beard is! How old is he?” That is a common query and one as irritating as it would be to Blanche Du Bois. I answer honestly. “Thirteen,” and then we get the look. It reads, Oh you poor thing. You’re on your last legs. Not much time left for you, is there? Tick tock. Bob doesn’t notice it as much as I do and when the look comes, I want to scoop him up in my arms and whisk him away from their awful thoughts and tell him he’s still my puppy and always will be.

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