Monday, May 31, 2004


I was the last one on the plane. They were already closing the fuselage door and had announced boarding for the next flight as I ran up. I embarked and found my seat as the plane taxied toward the runway.

After stowing my briefcase, I looked around the craft. It was a typical commuter flight: half-full, people spread around to even out the weight. I was sitting across the aisle from an older woman and her pet dog.

At first, I didn’t realize it was a dog. She had it under the seat in front of her, confined to one of those little pet carriers that looks like a suitcase or an oversized purse. I realized it was a dog when it started yipping.

And it yipped a lot.

And every time it yipped, the lady would kick the case. Or hit the top of it. Or shake it.

And every time she did this, it made the little bundle of hair, teeth, and bows yip all the louder.

So she would kick the case.

So it would yip.

So she would kick the case.

So it would yip.

My amazement at discovering the location of Yorkshire Terriers’ volume control soon gave way to mild irritation, then distress, then an urgent plea that the stewardess bring me “just one more triple gin and tonic.”

She did.

About halfway through the flight, the dog got tired of being kicked. It quit yipping, and she quit kicking. In fact, it got so tired of being kicked, that it lay down on its back, with its tongue sticking out. It didn’t move the whole rest of the flight. It didn’t move when the plane landed. It didn’t move when she picked up the case and set it on her lap preparatory to disembarking. When it crossed her mind that maybe she had kicked her dog to death, the look on her face was priceless. I wake up laughing, remembering her face.

And how much she jumped when the dog woke up, that too was classic.

I just hope she learned her lesson.

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