Sunday, April 17, 2005

Snuggler Smuggler

Well, with David heading to North Carolina to a furniture trade show, it was decided that Goblin should come to New York with me, as she has been shuffled around to a lot of different caregivers in the past few months. Parental guilt is kicking in.

When Goblin is riding on Amtrak, a little subterfuge has to be employed. Her traveling bag (which she loves to burrow into) could sort of pass for a gym bag, if one ignores the face peering out from behind black nylon net. The trick is to make sure that she doesn't get restless during the three hour train ride, and give away her presence.

So, we do what good parents do: we make sure she's had an invigorating and tiring walk, we have a heart-to-heart chat with her about what our expectations are, and then we slip her a roofie.

Uh, I mean, a veterinarian-prescribed sedative, hidden in a piece of Pasteurized Process Cheese Food Product.

Goblin always knows when we're packing to go anywhere; her usual response is to dive into her bag and not come out, hoping we will take her along wherever we take the mysterious black bags with zippers. Of course, today her wish came true, and I carried her all the way from home to Penn Station in Baltimore. The last time I came through the train station, there were police dogs roaming the area. I hoped that wouldn't be the case today, since Goblin (who hardly ever makes a sound) would surely go nuts in the presence of uppity german shepherds, roofie or no. But luckily, no dogs.

The trains were packed this weekend: besides the problems with the brakes on the Acela trains (which caused all the Acelas to be cancelled and replaced with smaller-capacity trains), the Orioles played the Yankees today in Baltimore; the trains were full of baseball fans.

I didn't manage to snag a window seat, where I could stuff Goblin's bag out of sight. Even in my aisle seat, no one really paid attention; as usual, I was surrounded by businessmen who were busy having shouted cell phone conversations that went like this:

"Mike? MIKE? I'm ON THE TRAIN.

Mike?

MIKE?

You're breaking up, REALLY BAD.

I'm ON THE TRAIN, to NEW YORK. If you can hear me, I'll CALL YOU when we LAND in NEW YORK."

I thought, "When we land?" Okay.

These businessmen appeared to be in the professional sports industry. Mike, whoever he was, couldn't get through on his cellphone, but e-mailed his fellow businessmen's Blackberries to say that he was at the Toyota Arena in Houston, and he found it "plain vanilla." They discussed this endlessly, as there were three of them -- two sitting together, and one across the aisle, who couldn't quite hear. They repeated the message for him, louder and louder, till I finally wanted to burst out of my seat and scream, "PLAIN VANILLA! PLAIN VANILLA! MIKE THOUGHT IT WAS PLAIN VANILLA! VANILLA! PLAIN! HE JUST. DIDN'T. LIKE. IT.!!"

But instead I thought, "Mmm. Vanilla."

Ordinarily I go get a drink and maybe a snack and stretch my legs, or else sleep a bit, but I sat warily through the entire trip, ready to forestall any questions that might come up if Goblin started waking up. Questions like,

"Um ... is your luggage squirming?"

"Pardon me, is your bag snoring?"

Or, "Excuse me, did your purse just fart?"

Worse, though, if Goblin became gaseous ... my seatmate was more likely just going to think it was me. Delightful.

But Goblin played the role of illicit contraband well; we made it to New York without incident. We hopped on a local train up to the Upper West Side; Goblin emerged from her bag in her old Central Park stomping grounds, near David's old apartment. She seemed overjoyed - and by that I mean, she peed everywhere. It takes a lot out of a little dog who is trying to mark all that territory.

We ambled over to the Upper East Side, to the new apartment, which she remembered. She is snoozing now, having deposited her toys all over the room.

Tomorrow, we're up early so she can terrorize squirrels in Central Park; then she gets to go to school with me. She will have to hide out in her bag for the subway ride, but that shouldn't be too much of a problem.

Then, she can help me realize my dream of being the professor who dispenses catty criticism while petting a small dog in his lap. If I can pick up a Truman Capote costume from the store tomorrow morning, all the better.

"I thought your song was fine, but Goblin here found it derivative, pretentious and dated. Didn't you, precious?"

Okay, time to wrap it up. Goblin is snoring. All is right with the world.

2 Comments:

Blogger Hanuman1960 said...

Awwww! Such a warm, sweet, tail..er..um..tale! Those squirrels (or students for that matter)will never know what hit them!

5:49 AM  
Blogger Jeff said...

As if yelling into your cellphone improves the reception?!

Cute story! Say hi to Goblin...

6:56 AM  

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