January 26, 2014

KES, 115

 

ONE HUNDRED FIFTEEN

The transitional phase from life to death was surprisingly noisy.  To the extent that I’d been expecting anything, I wasn’t expecting that.  It was pitch dark, but that seemed, you know, plausible.  I’d always thought the tunnel and the shining white light seemed unduly optimistic.  Some of the noise might have been voices shouting—shouting, I thought, savagely, furiously, wildly, frantically—but they were shouting in a language I didn’t think I recognised.  I supposed—in a vague, leaving-it-all-behind way—that the devils in hell would speak (or shout) in their own language, which probably wasn’t on the average earthly school syllabus.  I’d barely made it out of intermediate French with a passing grade;  Devilish was probably beyond me.

As I waited to finish dying I listened to the voices.  As a fantasy writer you find yourself having to cope with weird languages oftener than is comfortable for someone who found intermediate French a struggle.  When I listened to a story in my head I began by writing anything that wasn’t English as collections of syllables, but eventually, if I couldn’t figure out a way to delete them (the preferred alternative), I needed to know what they meant.  Occasionally in the commotion around me now there was a word or a phrase that seemed familiar, but the memories this familiarity teased and tugged at were not friendly.  One phrase I heard several times sounded a lot like Grah, ablud alaladik do vorn zeblastr which Flowerhair had picked up on one of her mercenary gigs and which translated approximately as ‘Your entrails are mine, ratspawn, and thus you die’.   Another one, Bierna flit sed guntoon moronocur eda for dash dash was ‘You go now to hell, but you will have to wait a long time before you welcome me there’.

I knew I wouldn’t be on the fast track to heaven, but hell seemed a little harsh for someone who had never murdered anyone (at least not until today, and only because they were trying to murder me first) or even lied to the IRS.  (I may have been wrong, but I didn’t lie.)  But those were definitely not angelic voices shouting, unless the whole post-life set up was even weirder than the half-dozen major religions I knew anything about predicted.  Although a friend who’d grown up to take holy orders as a Benedictine monk said that his guess was that when Christians showed up at the pearly gates they’d have some surprises.  That wasn’t reassuring in the circumstances.  Vorn zeblastr.  Maybe.

But if this was heaven, I didn’t want to go there.  I hurt too much.  Surely you got to leave pain behind on that unreliable dirtball, earth.  In which case this was much likelier to be hell, and my tormenters had already been assigned.  Ugh.  Although if so, they weren’t being very creative:  I merely felt like one gigantic bruise.  Ugh.  Or not so merely.  In tormentors you want a low level of creativity really.  Was there a third possibility?  Sure, if I was into fantasy.  Maybe I wasn’t dead yet after all.  That would be stretching this story’s credibility pretty far however.  Remember the black thing and, more to the (ahem) point, the black thing’s sword.  Maybe that irresistible partnership had been called away to quell some other country/planet/dimension at the last minute—at my last minute.  Maybe it had just been amusing itself with me while it waited, like a kid restlessly bouncing a basketball against the back of the bus shelter because the bus was late.  If the bus comes soon enough the wall will still be standing.

Maybe I’d wake up in a minute, in our bed in the penthouse, with Gelasio snoring gently behind me.

Involuntarily I shivered, which was a mistake, because wherever else I was, that shiver shook me consciously back in my body again—the body that felt like one gigantic bruise.  All the gazillion individual bruises that made up the single gigantic one came into murderously sharp distinct and discrete focus.  And I was suddenly even more sharply aware of voices—human voices—shouting very nearby.

Something that might have been a foot inserted itself under my ribcage as I lay curled up on my side, something I was pretty sure was a knee pressed against my sore back as something that might have been a someone bent over me, and something I was sure was a hand—an ungentle hand—grabbed me under the arm and gave a heave.  I squealed as I came up off the ground and nearly fell, but the someone’s other hand caught me under the other arm and jerked.  Every muscle fiber in my entire body shrieked.  I was too traumatised to make any sound at all—my mouth was still open from the squealing but no sound came out—but I came more or less upright, and still holding Silverheart.  I looked at her in amazement.  You don’t really expect a sword-holding arm to be covered to the wrist in a draggled cotton jersey nightgown with little pink roses on it.  Let alone your arm and your nightgown.  At least not if you’re an almost-forty-year-old genre fantasy writer, even if you’re having a really, really, really bad day.  I swayed, digging my poor sword’s tip in the ground again to keep me vertical.  The hands under my arms gave me another yank.

“Keep it together, tha useless mare,” said a rough hoarse voice.  “Tha’re all we’ve azogging got.”

I’m going to try again to go to bed early tonight. . . .

 

Having signally failed (again) last night.  I need either to learn not to fall asleep in the bath or how to keep the water hot and just sleep in the bath.  I sleep there so much better than I sleep in bed.  Maybe it’s because Scorpio is a water sign.  So it’s not my fault.  It’s that I’m doomed.

B_twin left today and . . . it started raining about two hours later.  Speaking of water and never mind the astrology.  BUT THE HELLHOUNDS ATE DINNER.  Rain?  Fine.  Whatever.  Let it rain.  I can deal with (almost) ANYTHING . . . as long as the hellhounds keep eating.*

And furthermore it’s Friday.  And that means tomorrow is . . .

Rainycity1

O.K., now it’s really time to go pick up The Blue Sword again… not that it’s ever not time to read it, but Kes’ visions are reminding me of Harry’s and I’m being called…

You know I keep banging on about how the Story exists and all a poor dope of a writer can do is choose her words as well as she’s able.  But a story does try and come to a writer who has (maybe) a hope of relating to or engaging with it.  If a lost and confused story about the early expansion of the railroad across the North American continent in the 19th century shows up panting on my doorstep, I will attempt to repress my shudder of horror (stories have feelings), pat it on its head, and send it back to the Story Council for reassignment.

Stories about girls who do things come to me.  So do stories about girls who have visions before/during/after they do things.  I assume one of the reasons stories with visions in them see me as a kindred spirit is because I’ve always been rotten with visions myself.  Most of them are story related.**

***MILD SPOILER WARNING***

BLUE SWORD began with a vision of Harry pulling that mountain down.  CHALICE began with the Master saving his Chalice’s life on that cold hillside.  PEGASUS began with the night of Sylvi’s twelfth birthday.  Sometimes the vividest visions however are not where a story begins, but where I realised it was a story.  Peter was mulling over the difficulty of raising an orphan baby dragon*** because you need to keep it hot, but my recollection (which may well be faulty) is that he was thinking of something like a bucket or wheelbarrow of embers.  It was when I saw some random teenage boy put a baby dragon down his shirt that I knew the story was live for me.  And baby critters with big brains tend to need serious contact with their mums;  I don’t know that a brainy dragonlet would do very well stranded in a barrow of embers, even if the barrow was topped up regularly.  And then of course it turns out that the dragons in this particular story are marsupials, and their babies are born pretty well foetal. . . .

And so on.  There have been a few periods in my life—not recently, fortunately, it’s another of those ‘getting old is a good thing (mostly)’ things—when I’ve thought that my tendency to visions meant I was nuts.  Eventually I decided that if I coped (more or less) in the real world too, who cares?  Poor Kes is going to have a harder time hanging onto her sanity—or her belief in her sanity—since her stories/visions are showing, and, I will tell you for free, will continue to show, an alarming tendency to break into our so-called real world and mess her around.

Bratsche

My favorite sentence/image of this week’s episode is: I saw the banner flying from its topmost tower very plainly: two sword blades crossed to divide it into quarters, and in the quarters were a horse, a hawk, a sighthound and a rose. I wanted the whole Kes story from the very beginning, but that line bumped it further over an invisible enticing ledge for me.

Oh good.  Whatever works.***  ::Shuffles feet::  Mind you I haven’t much idea about this part of the story myself.  I can feel that it’s live or I wouldn’t have put even this much in–I don’t even know how to describe it, but that banner is as real as the chair I’m sitting in, or Cecelia Bartoli on the CD player.  I can also feel where I need to go to find someone—someone I mean who lives there—to talk to about it.  There’s a fair amount of seething going on behind that bit of scenery.  But I kind of imagine them drawing straws, and whoever gets the short straw has to talk to me first.  —No, no, no, the loser is saying, clutching his/her hair.  You know what she’s like!†

Your nicer readers may respect you.  Your characters . . . nah.

* * *

* B_twin said, I’ve seen skinnier dogs.  Good thing you weren’t here a month ago, I said.  I don’t think we were ever quite in danger of the neighbours ringing up the RSPCA^ but I felt we were getting close.  When the only food that’s going into them is what I’m prying their mouths open and stuffing down . . . they get really skinny.  I will go on force-feeding when they’re still not voluntarily eating enough to keep a hummingbird alive^^ but every sixteenth-mouthful scrap that I didn’t have to poke into them helps . . . including my stress level.

^ I’ve said this before, haven’t I:  Yes.  And let the RSPCA try to make them eat.

^^ Although hummingbirds are another of these tiny frantic things, like shrews, that have to eat pretty well constantly to avoid starving to death.  I thought this was fascinating:  http://www.hummingbirds.net/hainsworth.html

Anorexic hummingbirds don’t survive to breed.  Note that I have turned away all inquiries about breeding from the hellhounds not only because I don’t want them to find out what sex is.

From http://www.worldofhummingbirds.com/facts.php :

‘A hummingbird can weigh anywhere between 2 and 20 grams.  A penny weighs 2.5 grams.’   And even several times 2.5 grams of food a day is not going to keep an 18,000-gram hellhound alive for long.

(Also from http://www.worldofhummingbirds.com/facts.php)  ‘A hummingbird’s brain is 4.2% of its body weight, the largest proportion in the bird kingdom.’#  Yes, but 4.2% of 2 to 20 grams still doesn’t leave a lot of room for Sanskrit and quantum physics.  Has anyone tried to find out if hummingbirds can learn weird human-type stuff like coming when called or pressing an itsy-bitsy lever that dispenses food?

# Note that you’re seeing in action WHY WRITING THE BLASTED BLOG TAKES SO LONG.  Pretty much every time I look something up—like the eating habits of hummingbirds—I get into an ‘oooh shiny’ rut and half an hour later. . . .

** But it’s not surprising that when Jesus decided to hoick me over the ‘believer’ line he showed up in a vision.

*** Words to live by.  Where a lot of professions meet on common ground, I guess:  writers, mechanics, ditch diggers, bakers, critter trainers, shoe salespersons.  Probably not accountants and surgeons.  And I wish these were the words by which computer programmers lived.

† I’m sitting here on this chair, listening to Cecelia Bartoli, and realising that the first person I speak to isn’t going to have a clue about the banner and is going to think I’m, ahem, nuts for wanting to know.

††We were discussing ideas for short stories for FIRE ELEMENTALS, right?  Long, long, long ago.  Four FIRE novels^ ago.  Before Peter realised what he had married.

^ Peter wrote TEARS OF A SALAMANDER, remember.  It’s not only me.

But it’s barely rained all day. How did that happen?

 

Furthermore there have been actual sunlight sightings.*

It’s fabulously past mmph o’clock even by my standards . . . or, no, I’m never asleep by a mere mmph o’clock but I’ve posted by now . . . and I’m only just sitting down to my computer rather the worse for wear in the aftermath of a substantial amount of champagne.  Mmmmmm.  But I do not repine.  I do not, either, write a full, not to say fulsome, proper blog post.  There are limits.

B_twin is here—and I might have called her Bertwine or Caronwen but SHE HAS PROMISED AT LEAST ONE GUEST POST out of this trip to England and I figure if I [user-] NAME HER she will have NOWHERE TO HIDE.  She was originally going to be here several days and we were going to scramble about the countryside having various adventures** but circumstances intervened, including Peter’s stroke and my ME.  So we had to pack a lot into today because she’s off again tomorrow, and we did, joined by Ajlr and Southdowner, braving the mud slides, the potholes and the unscheduled fords to stroll, somewhat squishily, around the kind of large old-fashioned National Trust garden with good bones so it even looks ravishing this time of year***, and cream tea after in the café, which reminded me of being a tourist in this country.  B_twin and I then went to the abbey for evening prayer, where B_twin attempted to have us ejected by throwing the furniture around, but my monks are very forbearing and I’m sure they merely put her down for extra prayers since she’s obviously in need of having extra prayers said on her behalf. † Home again there was a (noisy) assault on all fronts by my generous selection of hellcritters, and some hurtling was accomplished, and then us two humans, somewhat hairier than we’d been an hour previously, repaired to a local pub to join the others for champagne—oh, and dinner—and additional stimulus was provided by admiring, if admiring is the right word, the interesting paint work in Ajlr’s bedroom, which appears to be a reject movie set for the Pit and the Pendulum.  I considered offering her a blanket by the Aga at the cottage, but she’s British—she’d be too polite to accept.

Speaking of blankets, I really really really need to go to bed.††

* * *

* And the hellhounds ate all three meals today without fuss.  B_twin . . . don’t go home . . . stay here . . . please

** I was looking forward to the excuse to book tickets to the All New Stonehenge Experience which is apparently not going according to plan but I would still like to see it, but book ahead?  It’ll never happen unless I have a visitor as an excuse. 

*** Also there were snowdrops.  There were winter aconites too but I’m a bit, meh, weeds, about winter aconites.  I believe my companions think I’m a snarly old so and so.  Well, yes, and your point would be?

†Alfrick came up after, chiefly to give me a hard time about hiding^ behind the forty-seven bishops at the swearing-in ceremony on Sunday—well, if you can’t hide behind forty-seven bishops who can you hide behind?—but I noticed him listening carefully when I introduced my accomplice–er–comrade.  It’s easier to pray for someone when you know their name.  Rather than ‘person who throws furniture around during evening prayer’. 

^ Speaking of hiding.  B_twin . . . bishops won’t save you from guest post composition

†† Right after the bath in the shiny-glistening-visitor-worthy-clean bathtub.

On not creating an international incident

 

I realise this is the second Pav the Heroine story in three days*, but sometimes it happens like that.  Also it’s to do with her age**:  she’s starting to become a little more reliable about stuff—a LITTLE—or a little more responsive to me as mistress of the known universe or at least the corner that concerns HER and so I’m . . . frelling risking it a little more because life is short and being in a constant state of readiness for the worst is time-consuming and dead boring—and expecting the worst eventually becomes depressing.  Six months ago I’d’ve probably gone back and picked her up and carried her past the World Order Threatening Grey Balloons because I wouldn’t have thought my chances of persuading her to come on her own recognizance were worth the time and the likelihood of failure.

When I’m letting her out the front door at the mews to have a pee I don’t bother to put her harness and lead on any more;  she likes indoors, indoors has hellhounds and fooooood and toys*** and she’s happy to come in again.  I do look around before I let her out, in case of innocent neighbours, exciting delivery vehicles, etc.

This afternoon I looked out.  Nothing.  I opened the door and a small furry torpedo shot past me . . .

At the moment that two large, off lead Labradors† wandered across the open archway into the mews.

AAAAAAAAAAUGH.††

Pav of course instantly set off toward the archway, head and tail up, at full prance.  I am not a fluent reader of dog body language, but I would have said she was not expecting trouble but was not going to cringe away from it if it addressed her.

And I’m out there in just my shirt and jeans, because we’re only out for a minute.  I carry a little plastic bag of emergency kibble and Thrilling Canine Treats††† in my raincoat [sic] pocket.  Not in my jeans.‡

Pav!  I call.  And I can hear the panic in my voice.  If I can, she can too.

One of the Labs notices us.  It stops.  It raises its tail to the ‘alert’ position.  Noooooooooo.

Pav! I shout.  Sit!  —All you dog people will know this.  You have a much greater chance of your escaping hellcritter sitting than turning around, away from the thing it is going toward, and coming back to you, if you foolhardily attempt a recall.  If it sits, you can saunter gently up to it, you hope, and GRAB IT.

Pav keeps going.  The Lab’s tail goes up another notch or two.  I’m already seeing the headlines in the local newspaper:  American Woman and Her Ten Stone‡‡ Rabid Pit Bull Attack Perfectly Behaved, Kind to Its Mother Local Labrador. ‡‡‡

PAV! I shriek for the third time.§  SIT!!!

And . . . she stops.  She looks over her shoulder at me.  She TURNS AROUND, trots back TOWARD ME and SITS.  Wagging her tail.

Gibble.  Gibble gibble gibble gibble gibble.

* * *

* It’s actually the third Pav the Heroine story in three days but I can’t think how to tell the third one on a public blog.  Let’s just say that she was uncharacteristically polite to someone it was extremely advisable, not to say critical, that she be polite to.

** Hellhounds were a little over a year old when I started this blog.  Gah.  How time flies whether you’re having fun or not, as a friend recently said.  However hellhounds have just eaten their dinner immediately and with no fuss at all so the world is bright for the next several hours till I have to feed them supper.  Sigh.  I’m sure some of my insomniac problems are a result of the throbbing blood-pressure headaches attendant on non-supper-eating hellhounds but I need that third meal for the opportunity to tamp a little more food into them and breakfast is spectacularly a lost cause.  I might never get out of bed at all if the prospect included feeding hellhounds breakfast.^  It’s funny, sort of, that they’re so jealous of anything the hellterror is getting that they think they aren’t getting—they don’t want to eat it, you understand, just that they don’t think she should be allowed to eat it either—except at breakfast.  At breakfast—and Pav roars out her crate I HAVEN’T EATEN ANYTHING IN OVER SIX HOURS.  I’M STARVING TO DEATH.  WHERE’S BREAKFAST?—you can see hellhounds turning away and delicately pressing metaphorical handkerchiefs to their noses in a gesture that would not disgrace the Duke of Avon.

^ Although since I take Astarte—with her Kindle app, and a live credit card registered on amazon—to bed with me, who needs to get up?

*** This category includes Peter

† Mrs Redboots

I think bulldozer-headed Labrafrellingdors are a Race Apart. Just not far enough.

Noooooooo – they’re LOVELY! Best dogs in the universe! Intelligent, obedient, loving…. what’s not to like?

Well, I’m not going to agree that they’re the best dogs in the universe, but you mistake me.  I’m not damning all Labs, just the huge stupid—um, bulldozer-headed—ones which invariably belong to people who don’t have a clue or they’d have bought a real Lab.  The old-fashioned working-style Labs are still around and while occasionally they too are rowdy fractious pains in the patootie, generally the old-fashioned ones have manners because they belong to people who teach their dogs manners.  I’ve even known one or two this-kind of Lab I’d have been happy to have stretched out on my sofa.

But I think it’s true I’m more drawn to the hard-graft dogs.  Neither sighthounds nor bull terriers are terribly interested in the finer points of the human ideas of training.  If I were going to get a super-trainable dog it would probably still be a border collie . . . because I like the manic.^  Gun dog breeds tend to be the exact opposite of manic.  You don’t see many Labs who’ve been taught to dance.  . . . Although Pav’s latest somewhat-on-command trick is standing on her hind legs and she’s good enough at it she could probably learn to dance if I put the time (and the fooooooood) into it.

^ Possibly not all border collies are manic.  All the ones I’ve known are, however, including the ones who can speak seven languages and have advanced degrees in quantum physics.

†† These dogs are a *&^%$£”!!!!! sore point.  They belong to regular visitors—a bit like me, then—and while they aren’t exactly thrown out and left to their own devices, their people don’t stand there and watch them the way I do mine.  And when there is unpicked up dog crap in the mews courtyard, it is not my dogs who are responsible.  Or I who am irresponsible.

††† None of which work on the hellhounds.  Just by the way.

‡ Clearly I should start carrying Emergency Hellterror Retrieval Rations in my jeans pocket too.

‡‡ A stone is fourteen pounds.  I have no idea why.  Pav, who is a mini bull terrier, not a pit bull, weighs a little over two stone.

‡‡‡ Who never ever craps in inappropriate places.  Its people are not included in the attack, by the way, because they are nowhere around.

§ ‘Never repeat a command.  You are teaching your dog to ignore you.’

Mostly critters

 

Katinseattle

The tail dropped, the ears flattened . . . and she rushed past Yog-Sothoth and hurled herself into my lap/arms.

My hellterror. Mine.

I’m not tearing up. I’m NOT.

Oh good.  No of course you aren’t.  . . . I was counting on there being at least a few saps in my audience.*

Catlady

Feynman, my youngest cat, is . . . aloof and troublesome and prone to destroy things. . . .  

. . . Richard Feynman, I assume?  Well, you’d expect him to destroy things, wouldn’t you?

Except. He loves it when I sing. Or play the piano. Or sing and play the piano . . . he’ll come, force his way into my lap, and PURR, and snuggle, and do all the cute things that cats do that, in most cases, prevent us from turning them into earmuffs.

I’ve tended to use the threat ‘hearthrug’ to the dog population.  Hazel, the smallest whippet of the previous generation, was going to be a muff.  Pav, with that dense plushy fur, would make a very good muff.**

 The other day, I was standing up and singing, and he couldn’t figure out what to do.

You don’t stand up to sing?  Golly.  I’d still be making tiny squeaking noises*** if I sang sitting at the piano.

He tried twining around my ankles, but that wasn’t good enough. He stood on the coffee table and watched. . . . After a few minutes . . . he launched himself into my arms (cats almost never do that, by the way).

Snork.  What a guest post this would have made . . . ::wistfully:: . . . a video guest post.  What do you sing?  Does he have a preference for Aida or Les Miz?

Anyone else have into-arms-leaping or musical critters?  Chaos tends to stare at me when I sing—the hellhound bed at the mews is right next to the piano and he will get up, gravely take the few steps, sit down, and look at me earnestly—I think it’s a ‘are you feeling quite all right?’ look.  He comes racing back to check on me if I sing out hurtling too.†  Darkness is eh, whatever, and Pav is YOU DON’T PLAY THE PIANO WITH BOTH HANDS WHEN YOU’RE SINGING YOU CAN PLAY TUG OF WAR WITH THAT OTHER HAND, AND IF YOU DON’T I AM GOING TO BASH YOU REPEATEDLY WITH THIS TOY UNTIL YOU FALL IN WITH, OR POSSIBLY ON, MY EXCELLENT PLAN.

I’ve known several cats that did go in for leaping into people’s arms, but they were all Orientals—Siamese and Burmese—which I think cat people consider a Race Apart.††

. . . Oh, bleggh.  I have to go to bed.  I have to get up early and address some . . . ANGUISH.  ANGUISH . . . housework.   I have visitors coming on Thursday and this ‘oh my husband’s had a stroke and my ME is in a bad mood’ will still only take me so far.  D’you suppose I could call the festoons of cobwebs swags?

PS:  THE DISHWASHER REPAIRMAN COMES TOMORROW.  YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY.

* * *

* Just as I was delighted as well as relieved that a number of you got a thrill out of Kes’ last line on Saturday.  This is a digression for another evening, but this is an example of why KES is fun for me too—I wouldn’t ever have dared write a proper book about a fantasy-writing protagonist, let alone a LOTR-obsessed fantasy-writing protagonist, let alone a LOTR-obsessed fantasy-writing protagonist who quotes one of the peak moments in LOTR during a culminant moment of her own.

** Speaking of which, I don’t seem to break out in a rash on contact any more.  Major yaay.  It’s not that hard to keep her off the insides of my arms, which are most at risk, in winter, when I can pull my sleeves down, but it’s a big lousy nuisance in warm weather.  I suppose it may have been puppy fur or some seasonal allergen that we missed this year because of the RAAAAAAAAAIN but I think it’s likelier that, as we roll into our second year together^ I’ve just got used to her.  I have a long history of adjusting—usually respiratorily—to critters I live with, but also, age is good.  The wrinkles and the rheumatism are a big stupid bother^^ but your body is also a whole lot more likely to say, Get all hysterical and overwrought about something?  Nah.  Can’t be arsed.  Whatever.  Get on with it.

^ !!!!!!!!

^^ If I didn’t have rheumatism I could still eat tomatoes and ice cream.+  Erm.  Not together.

+ So, would I rather have weird, mostly of unknown origin rashes most of the time and be able to eat tomatoes and ice cream or wrinkly baggy but rash-free skin?  And yes, I suspect an underlying intolerance of dairy and the nightshade family has been a problem for a very long time.

*** I made a startling discovery Sunday night at the show—I mean the Christian unity service.  There were, as previously observed, lots and lots and lots and lots and lots of people there.  And the hymns, to my horror, weren’t the fine old classics, but more of the ghastly power ballads to God things that we sing at the evening service at St Margaret’s.  Shudder.  Well, I like singing, and if that’s what’s on offer that’s what I’ll sing.  Feh.  But in order to make a noise I may shift down to chest voice and bellow.  My startling discovery is that my head voice is now just as loud as my chest bellow—possibly louder, or at least there’s a cutting edge to the soprano range that makes it more readily noticeable in a mushy crowd roar.

† When I sing in the car I have to be prepared for the cold wet nose in the back of the neck.  Since hellhounds are pretty well trained to lie down in the car in motion this usually only happens at stoplights when sudden convulsive jerks on the part of the driver won’t send us into the opposite lane of traffic.^

^ Also I’m betting that nine out of ten, indeed ninety nine out of a hundred, people seeing my mouth moving in the car assume that I’m talking on a hands-free phone.  I know we’ve had this conversation about random singing in public and some of you insist that I’m not the only one.  Well, I seem to be the only one around here.

†† Although I know people who consider sighthounds a Race Apart.  And other people that bullies are a Race Apart.^

PamAdams

I’m sure that the hellhounds would have examined the deadly grey balloons closely, and given that superior sighthound sneer, and strolled away. 

Well . . . whippets aren’t usually sneerers.  They’re sort of the bullie end of the sighthound spectrum:  cheerful and optimistic and possibly a little frenetic.  And my guys are mostly whippet.  They would certainly do the close examination but then they’d prance past in a ‘you don’t scare us but we’re keeping an eye on you so don’t think you can try anything’ manner.

^ I think bulldozer-headed Labrafrellingdors are a Race Apart.  Just not far enough.

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