“Hold up, Stefan”, shouted my dad. Well, I am named after Stefan Edberg, the tennis star. We were out for our morning walk at the not-so-distant Joggers’ Park, a daily ritual. He wanted me to stop. I knew why. It was not that he was not fit enough to keep pace. After all he is just 30 years old. That is in dog years just over 4 years, as I recently learned. The real reason was to wait for Julie. My dad had a liking towards Julie’s mom.
They call it crush, I think. Somehow I cannot fathom what this crush means, why wait for her every day and follow her around. I doubt if she ever noticed him. The moment he called me I realized that the time to start walking has not yet arrived. So I sit helplessly even though all I wish to do is to run down the park and catch the frisbee that some kids were playing with.
Anyway, after a repetition of several days, I am now used to this routine. We wait patiently for my dad’s heartthrob to enter and then we follow her for the entire time after that. Even though she might not have noticed him, I am sure several other strollers would have noticed us in our daily routine. Fortunately for us no one has yet reported us for stalking a pretty lady.
My dad was hoping for a friendship to blossom between me and Julie and use this as an opening to engage the lady of his dreams in conversation and possibly other things later. Of course he does not say this but I am sure this is his master plan. What other reason could be there for him to hold me up and make me also a partner in his stalking ritual.
Unfortunately Julie and I have not taken a liking to each other. As I mentioned I am sure our routine is easily noticeable by the regulars and this thought makes me feel even more stupid. I wish he develops what I call ‘Dog Sense’ – a heightened sense of smell and hearing that lets one perceive his chances with the woman. Instead of following her, he should approach her head-on, if possible, bump into her. Then from her reactions, observing her heart beat and the odors she emits, he would instantly know her opinion on him, at least physically.
This, though, seems far-fetched as a human, eh! Being a victim of a daily torture I deem these desperate times and hence I am proposing extreme measures. Of course I cannot tell him this; we speak different languages.
On the flip side, this rite has given me ample opportunity to observe humanity and learn about life. It is here I learned to observe people and identify by their activities and approach their reasons to visit this park. Though this sounds profound and I might seem like a philosopher, this is in fact quite basic. All that is required is patience. I know I sound more profound now. So instead of theorizing my approach let make take you through my observations.
The first and obvious group is that of the serious exercisers. Their aim is to improve their health by walking or jogging daily. They are quite unmindful of their surroundings and focus their attention and energy on the activity at hand. They also seem to have extraordinary will power; not yielding to the bells of ice cream trolleys and several other temptations. However I feel pity for them. They are unable to enjoy life any more for fearing of developing an unsightly belly or diabetes.
Again I recommend that they develop Dog Sense. How many dogs have obesity or diabetes? Definitely not the regular, non-pampered dogs that are treated dogs. Dogs have a clear idea of how much they need to eat. If at all they think they have eaten something unhealthy or poisonous, they eat sufficient grass to induce vomiting of the dangerous stuff. Again, humans are so weak until they desperately need to be strong!
The second group is that of old, retired people not having much work who frequent the park to pass away their time. This group is observable by their tendency to rest more than walk. They also can be seen carrying newspapers or being accompanied by their grandchildren or children. Again, I cannot help feeling pity for them. Humans are the beings with longest periods of infancy and old age. If humans followed the life cycle of other animals would not have to endure such lengthy periods of helplessness, one in which they are taken care of either by parents or children.
The third group is of that of lovers, confirmed or wannabe types. I have already described at length one wannabe lover which should suffice in understanding their motives and means. The other type can easily be identified by the distance they keep from rest of the people, the constant smiles on their faces, glances directed at each other and their overall obliviousness of what happens around them. Yet again, I cannot help pity them; men who go to extreme lengths to achieve their only goal and women who fall into the trap set by men thinking that this is how they are going to be ever after. They should definitely develop Dog Sense – men, to identify their potential partners easily and efficiently; and women, to understand the reality of their situation and realize that love does not last forever.
I know it sounds gross and inhuman; but most of what humanity has achieved has a negative side effect.
The fourth group is that of children visiting with their parents, grandparents, baby-sitters or caretakers. This is the only group I identify with. They are here just to have fun with no hidden goals, agendas or plans. They come, they play, eat ice-cream, make a fuss and overall enjoy.
I try to think more on these lines, but feel a hard tug at my leash. I know it is time to start walking, rather stalking again. The job has begun and I begin it with a prayer that this ordeal ends soon. Else I might be tempted to bite Julie’s mom to attract attention. For now, I go along with the master’s plan.