I wrote this on LiveJournal in 2005 & it’s making me laugh because not only am I exactly the same, but now I have a sidekick. It’s no wonder Henry grumbles and makes excuses every time I suggest going for a walk around the neighborhood.
People will tell me, “Hey, you really need a hobby.” And you know, I often find myself agreeing, as a means to excuse whatever odd personality quirk of mine that’s in the hot seat. But I was thinking about it this morning, and goddammit – I have tons of hobbies!
I like walking through cemeteries while making off-color jokes about dead people. I like stalking people of otherwise uninteresting stature. I like eating uncooked ravioli and tortellini. I like making up new names for my cats (I just changed Nicotina’s name to Breakfast Nook). I like making pets out of fruits and vegetables. I like to walk down dark streets, alone, while pretending that a murderer is after me.
So maybe my hobbies aren’t of your average crafty/sporty variety, but I’ve learned to embrace them with every fibre of my being. But I left out my favorite: Annoying Henry. I live for the satisfaction of pushing him to the point where he inhales through clenched teeth and widens his eyes in a furious glower.
Annoying Henry can take place anywhere, really: in the car, on a plane, in the house, while he’s cooking, at the grocery store, in a cemetery. But my favorite time to push the Henryific buttons is during our nightly walks. Add snow to the equation and you’re in for one night of flawless agitation.
I was fairly calm and collected yesterday, so Henry didn’t hesitate when I suggested bundling up for some neighborhood ambling. I waited until we had been walking for a good ten minutes before springing into my antics. That’s when the snow throwing began.
Henry never flinched as each ball of packed snow slammed into the back of his coat; his pace never faltered and he continued along the sidewalk, hands in pocket and head facing straight ahead. I spied a discarded beer bottle jutting out of the snow and reached down to pluck it from its nest. Henry, without so much as a quick glance thrown over his shoulder, matter-of-factly said, “Put it down.” How did he know? He does this psychic eye routine all the time. Here’s a quote from an entry about cemetery carousing:
So this lady was there with her dog, right? They went into the woods. They were back there for awhile and I said, “Hey, do you think that lady — ”
Me: “You didn’t even know what I was going –”
Hoover: “Do I think she’s having sex with her dog? No.”
HOW DID HE KNOW!?
Twenty minutes without provoking a reaction can really start to nullify the fun-having. I remedied this by forgetting the snow and moving on to bigger and better tools of attention. I dropped out of sight and while Henry unknowingly continued walking down the sidewalk, I began the laborious task of chiseling off a hunk of ice from a snow bank using only my shoe. Relentlessly stubbing my toe was a small price to pay for the exhileration of ambushing Henry. I crept back onto the sidewalk and, stooping down low, caught up close enough to whale the sharp block of ice-encrusted snow at his feet. The chunk of ice skidded into the ground right behind Henry, erupting into a billion frozen shards and crystals, like a bag of uncooked rice exploding onto a linoleum floor, as the pieces of ice and snow swirled and clattered around his feet. And his gait never quavered. How he does it, I’ll never know.
Realizing that this plan of attack was no good, I accepted the fact that it was time to resort to the one thing that gets him every time – my voice. I caught up to him and fell into place at his side, and began tugging on his arm. “I’m bored. I’m hungry. I want hot chocolate. Do you love me? Have you ever been in jail? Wanna break into that house? Wanna steal that car? Who do you like more, Bobcat Goldtwait or Kato Kaelin?”
It wasn’t working. Time to dupe him. We turned off the main road that we had been walking along and onto a quiet street lined with houses. It was dark with very little through-traffic. I stopped walking.
“Let’s make out,” I urgently demanded.
“Why?” Henry was suspicious. Good.
“Because it’s so romantical out here! There’s the snow and trees…and look! There’s one of those Dippers!” I exclaimed, pointing toward the sky.
“That’s Orion, you asshole.”
Dipper or not, I had him right where I wanted him. Moving in for an embrace, I quickly slipped my snow-encased gloves down the collar of his shirt. Finally, I elicited the reaction I had been gunning for the whole time. He forcibly removed my icy gloves from his chest and shouldered past me. Acting hurt, I dejectedly said, “I just wanted to be close to you. Won’t you at least hold my hand?”
I really hate it when my plans backfire. He made like he was about to acquiesce with the hand holding, and took my hand in his. Only, this wasn’t what hand holding was supposed to feel like! Burning pain raced up my arm and I could hear the popping and snapping of knuckles and cartilage. Not ready to bow out so early into the fight, I sucked in a lungful of air and bellowed, “HELP ME HELP!!” We both froze in our places and looked up and down the street, waiting for houses to light up in vigilance. Realizing that he had been backed up against a wall, he flung my hand away from him and mumbled, “Why can’t you just walk? Just walk.”
And then he bought me a sundae at McDonald’s, but he refused to walk up to the drive thru like I suggested. Can’t win ’em all.