Yesterday Fletch and I went to a backyard picnic. It was supposed to be a picnic followed by a house concert on the lawn. Oh, well.
Fletch was a little wound up from the start, and there was a lot of tangling and flailing and leaping about when we got there, but that was just because his friend Gracie was there. Oh, and I had him tethered kind of on an ant hill. Sorry, Dawg.
Betty had a fancy Mexican cocktail station, which had instructions for something that was kind of like a Bloody Mary, but with beer and clam and tomato juice. (That’s better than it sounds.) It had like twelve ingredients, and I like a challenge, so I made one and carried it to the back yard.
You can probably see where this is going.
I relocated Dawg to my chair and anchored him down. More leaping and flailing. More ants, or some other unseen irritant, or maybe just summer. I got a blanket from the car. I rearranged everything. I moved us back five feet, away from the picnic food that appeared within striking distance. I lured Dawg onto the blanket, halfway at least. I got him as far as “sit,” and we were thiiiiisss close to “down” when total stranger snuck up behind him and said all loud and surprised like, “IS THAT A PUPPY?” and he was startled and excited enough to do a rocket ship move, straight up through my Mexican clam and tomato and beer cocktail, which erupted like a geyser and came back down in slow motion, so slowly that I could see the individual droplets form in the air, and then re-form into a clam-tomato-beer shower. One third of the liquid landed on Dawg’s head and ran down his back. One third of the liquid ran down my strapless dress, which I had worn against my better judgement because it was going to be hot, though it left me exposed to mosquitos, and required me to wear Deep Woods Off. I hate wearing Deep Woods Off. The remaining third of the liquid sloshed into my lap. Technically, given the angle, I think one sixth made it into the seat of the chair so that I was sitting in it, and one sixth just soaked into my dress.
“Oh,” said total stranger. “Sorry. I came over and help you get him settled.”
There being absolutely nothing I could say to that and keep my language appropriate, I just blinked at total stranger. Who, with a total lack of perception, proceeded to stand over us and try and make small talk, as clam juice dripped from my chair. And my dress. And my Dawg.
I waved at the hosts from several blankets away. “Sorry,” I told them. “We’re out.”
“???” they asked nicely.
“Clam juice. Rocket ship. Geyser. Night, y’all.”
Which wasn’t much of an explanation for bailing on a party before the good part. But while total stranger was making small talk, I was calculating that it was 7 pm; I was 45 minutes from home; I was out of detergent; I had to stop at the grocery store and do a clam-juice covered walk of shame into Harris Teeter to buy some; I had to force a bath on Dawg on the porch while it was still light, manage to sedate him so that I could spend half an hour trying to give him post-bath ear-drops, and let him dry for two or three hours before he crawled into bed. And also hose down my chair. And also wash the blanket, collar, and leash, and all the post-dawg-bath towels.
I was exactly as happy as a clam. A clam fished out of cool water who has landed on somebody’s lawn at 7 pm on a hot July night. I got home and counted seventeen mosquito bites, damn you Deep Woods Off, I am just wearing jeans the rest of the summer, and we sudsed up and hosed everything down and went to bed damp and kind of itchy, but with no clam.
So, fine, summer is already getting the best of me. But tonight a firefly landed on me, and I had a tomato from my garden baked with an egg inside it and cheese on top, and it was cool and breezy and perfect this morning. At 6:30 a.m., but I’l take it where I can get it.
This summer, I plan to score as many points as I can along the way.