Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Spot the lilac

It hits me in the nose with a light purple biff.  I know it will take a matter of seconds to locate the source, and there is, lilac bush at ten o'clock.  A few paces, it happens again:  quick scan and -- lilac bush, two o'clock.

Sometime during May, Hades and Victoria fall into step.  The temperatures are the same, and the lilac bushes in both cities bloom.  Then Hades will stride ahead, headlong into humidity.  Something similar will happen briefly in October, only Hades' fall colours will be shorter-lasting and more brilliant.

I venture out into this ready-to-vanish window of evening temperateness whenever I can, although this month, I have to, if my pedometer is short the day's 10,000 steps.  Also, the Accent Snob needs his walk.

Try telling him that.

We thought the warmth of spring would revive a doggy enthusiasm for strolls that has been noticeably lacking in the five months since he joined our household.  He's certainly sniffing the greatly-expanded menu of intriguing smells with some gusto.  (Not sure if the scent of lilac is among these.)  Unfortunately, the re-emergence of olfactory delights also brings out other summery things, and we've discovered the hard way that somewhere back in the ten years before we met him, the Accent Snob developed a phobia for skateboards.

Take a recent evening, as I trotted westward (ho!) down McKay Street.  I noticed the Accent Snob doing anxious shoulder checks, and immediately scanned the immediate vicinity.  All I saw was a lady in a bright pink Spandex concoction jay-jogging toward us.  It took me several minutes to make out a small boy behind us, still a block or so away, pushing slowly along on a skateboard alongside his strolling father.  The Accent Snob's sensitive ears had picked up the dreaded sound.

All of a sudden, the AS bolted and the handle of the retractable lead flew from my hand.  To my horror, he dashed into the street which, fortunately, was early-evening quiet.  Calling futilely, I followed as he dashed up the opposite sidewalk.  After a few panic-stricken seconds, he realized he was pelting towards the problem, wheeled around frantically and dashed right into me.  I was able to grab his lead.  He continued to pull away -- he's damn strong when he's scared -- and I desperately looked for a side-street that wasn't there.  I finally hauled him back to the other sidewalk and held him until the young boy coasted by obliviously.

Clearly, I need to transfer my lilac-spotting skills to skateboards.  I wonder if I could learn to smell them.  However, given that their occupants are usually pre-adolescent, post-adolescent, and downright adolescent boys, I doubt I'd want to...

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