What I like about long dog walks downtown are the people who talk to me.
People feel free to talk to someone with a dog. Without Zomba, I’m a face in the crowd. With a particulalry beautiful, unusual, and well behaved dog people feel free to ask questions about her, engage in conversation about all sorts of things.
Last night a guy attracted her attention and I told her to “be friendly” which means approach the person and act like a normal dog…
He asked the usual questions – but he knew ridgebacks so he didn’t ask if she was groomed or scarred that way… the Ridgeback he knew was from “Western New York”. Knowing that the chances were good that he came from one of the small suburbs of Buffalo (which I know well enough to get there and get around) I asked him to be specific. Yep, he’s from North Tonawanda.
I explained my familial relationship to that part of the world – having spent time in Kenmore, Tonawanda, Cheektowaga, Grand Island and Niagara Falls. My dad was born in Tonawanda and my mom in Niagara Falls although she lived on Grand Island. Cousins and Aunts and Uncles lived in the other small towns. Only one second cousin remains though.
So we ended up talking about the culture of the area and racism and bad polish and “newfie” jokes that we had both heard only in that area. He talked about his experience with the cultural conflicts of the old school conservatives and the new liberalism he was part of.
Then he shook my hand, told me his name, and took off.
Not the sort of guy I would normally converse with – except that he is because of Zomba.