I was driving, holding steady a cup of dog urine, wearing my son’s pants, on a rescue mission.
You with me?
No worries. You’ll catch up.
First, my dog had a urinary infection. On her second round of antibiotics (very expensive antibiotics, may I add), I was required to bring a sample of her urine back to the vet’s office. And the doctor had stressed that it be “fresh urine.” Which, for the unindoctrinated amongst you, means the second your dog pees, you’re running like Jesse Owens to get the godforsaken yellow liquid to someone in a white coat before the heat, the cold or your neighbor’s small child somehow contaminate it.
. . . looked down and realized that what I thought were my black yoga pants hanging over the chair were actually my son’s basketball warm-up pants. In my rush to keep fresh pee pristine, I had put his on by mistake. Given he is now about my height, an easy mistake to make.
But, I realized in my hurry, that my—ahem—womanly hips filled these out a bit more than his do and I really did not want to split a seam. As you already know, turning around was not an option or my dog’s urine would no longer be defined as FRESH and I would have to chase her around the neighborhood all over again, holding a small plastic container under her rear every time she so much as hinted at squatting. It’s not pretty. Just ask my neighbors.
Trying to adjust these tight pants at a red light, while still holding dog pee, my phone rang. It was a friend whose car had been hit and she needed a ride right away. The short end of a long story is that the cat she had taken to the shelter, in hopes its owner would come to find it, was going to be put down. The woman at the shelter said if she wanted to save it, she needed to come back to get it in the next hour. My friend had already named this cat America (don’t ask) and would be crushed if she was put down.
Amazingly enough, she asked no questions and said she’d be waiting. Which may just be the best definition of a good friend.
My phone rang again just after hanging up. I thought it might be my friend again. But instead, it was a former colleague’s daughter, who I had been putting off for far too long. She wanted to talk to someone who was in journalism, as she had recently graduated with a degree and was trying to break in and learn the ropes.
“I am so sorry but I can’t talk now. Can we set up a time for Friday?”
But she was on to me, knowing that despite my best intentions, three previous Fridays had already passed—and still no interview. She was ready to grill me.
“This will only take a few minutes,” she said. “I just want to pick your brain about . . .”
By this time, I was heading into the vet’s office, trying to walk with tiny steps so my pants would not split, but this put the pee in a precarious position as I navigated ice and snow in the parking lot.
I knew I had made a commitment to this young woman and I WOULD keep it. Just not now.
“Listen,” I said, “I’d love to talk to you. It’s not that I don’t want to. It’s just that right now, I’m worried about dog pee. I have to take off my son’s pants. And then I need to help save America. I’ll call you later. And you’ll make a good journalist. You’re persistent.”
As I hung up and began to walk away from the vet’s reception area, I noticed the woman behind the counter giving me a strange look.
And then it hit me. I burst out laughing but didn’t have time to explain.
I’m not sure if the young journalistic hopeful will still want to talk to me after hearing my immediate priorities. The receptionist certainly did not invite further conversation.
But after helping to save America, I know my friend wants to chat with me. And I guess that’s all that matters.