Saturday, 16 July 2016

Dogs for Lunch

I am a self confessed Crazy Dog Lady.  I love them all.  Even the little ratty looking ones that you could fit in your pocket.

My favourite dogs, however, are what I call 'real dogs'.  I have no idea why I call them this as obvs ALL dogs are real.   Even Spike from Tom and Jerry.   Yes he is.   What I'm trying to say that is that I'm a sucker for a big dog with a baggy face and excellent slobber potential.  

When these particular dogs cannot be found, I will indiscriminately pet anything with four legs and a tail (and is a doggo).  Cats, I can live without.   All that aloof indifference is not for me.  I need a waggy tail and a face filled with joyous wonder.   

Anyway, as I suffer from social anxiety, I find that I tend to avoid speaking to people on the streets.  I have been known to take a whole other route to get where I'm going if I think there's the SLIGHTEST possibility someone might want to chat to me.   


It's not that I don't like people; I do.   I'm just rubbish at small talk and it takes me right out of my comfort zone. Anything that induces anxiety is generally avoided at all costs.  Unless that person has a dog.  Then, I'm more likely to change my route and follow someone (harmlessly, of course) if there's a slightest possibility I might be able to steal a quick cuddle from their puppies.

Dogs for Lunch
Me, hoping that this is a good anti-people disguise
I have zero social anxiety about pooches.  In fact, I have absolutely no fear of *anything* about man's best friend; I simply want to speak to All Of The Dogs.

Making Plans for Suzi:
When LT returned home from the gym earlier this week and told me that he would be popping round to one of his new fitness buddy's homes to pick up some tools.  I said how it lovely it was that he was making new friends and thought no more of it.  

Later, he decided that it'd be nice if I went along with him to say hello to his new friend and his partner.   I decided that, in fact, that *wouldn't* be nice because it sounded like very much like I'd have to make conversation and that's not something I like being involved in.

People tend to think I'm rude because I don't say much.  Most of the time, I'm desperately wishing my time away so that I can go home.  Alone.   With no one to force me into a conversation I don't want to have.  

Anyway, things took an unexpected turn when Les cheerfully appeared in the kitchen the following day with the Very Important News that his friend has dogs.  Two of them.  Clearly, I started to reconsider my position on the matter, but eventually decided it would still be in everyone's best interests if I stayed holed up in the cottage, rocking in my chair, far removed from human interaction.  

You can imagine my horror (go on, I'll give you a minute) when Les called this gym friend, whose name is Martin, btw, and before I knew it, we'd been invited round for lunch.   FOR LUNCH.   Not just a quick 'Hello' before picking up the tools and heading for the hills.  Oh no.  Now it was an Actual Thing.

Dogs for Lunch
Me, trying to pretend I'm asleep so I dont have to do any peopleing. 
Les, being the friendly type that he is, instantly signed us both up and, in doing so, gave me less than one hour to think/panic/dwell and worry about all the thing that could/almost certainly *would* go wrong when I got there.  I could almost hear the locals gossiping in the Spar that night behind the Welsh cakes asking if they'd heard about the local Dr's odd fiancĂ© and what a weirdo she is...

The only thought keeping me sane was the dogs.   And because there were two, I decided I could pet one with each hand for the entire duration of my visit.  That would keep me calm.  

The Moment of Truth
I dressed in something slightly more attractive than my usual attire of joggies and wellies and we headed off down into town.    As soon as the front door opened, I was greeted by two beaufitul doggo faces and the best waggy tails I'd seen all day.    Martin and his partner were also lovely, but back to the dogs.    

Les chatted to the humans and I interjected every so often with intelligent, pertinent questions, such as 'what's your dog's favourite snack?' and 'do you put them in kennels when you go on holiday because I have a massive garden and they could come stay with me, you know'.     

I hoped that Les had given them the heads up on me before I arrived.    'I'd like to apologise in advance for Suzanne' he'd have said.  'she likes dogs more than people, so she doesn't have much to contribute'.  

I was slightly (OK, completely) alarmed when it was annouced that we would eat lunch in the dining room and that there were NO DOGS ALLOWED.    WTF?  The dining room is a dog's very favourite place and not permitting them entry verges on abuse, as far as I'm concerned.    Not only would I be without my new buds but I'd also now have to make some sort of human interaction.  My specialist subjects are serial killers, travelling and dogs.  I don't really care about anything else, tbh.  This often makes me a slightly odd conversation partner.  I gave Les some serious side eye across the table, which he sensibly ignored.  

After 5 minutes in the dining room, I realised that the 'no dog thing' was a non starter. Martin instantly went further up in my estimations as being the type of person who just couldn't say no to a set of furry chops when the pups invaded the space and he let them be.    This was my kind of person.
    
Dogs for Lunch
I haven't eaten in, like, 10 minutes.   What's that you have there?
We ate a fabulous meal of chorizo and chick pea stew, accompanied by some lovely red wine and, when it came time to go home, I wasn't quite as desperate to get away as I usually am.  As it turns out, humans can be fun.    And these two were absolutely fabulous.   More so because they were dog owners, obviously, but also because they'd travelled so extensively and nothing brings me out of my shell like someone who has a love of exploring.   It was fascinating to listen to the stories of where they'd been and compare notes about places we'd all visited, and those still on our lists.   I even spoke.  

I guess the lesson I learned was not to stress that everyone will hate me because I don't say much (they might have; I'm not sure) and just stop panicking that I'll always detest every new situation I find myself in.  Also: still don't go to anyone's house who doesn't have a dog; just in case.   That's a risk I'm just not willing to take.    Baby steps, folks.  

Would I go back in a heartbeat? No.  Because one outing won't make me less anxious.  However, if I was to go back a hundred times, I'm sure my pulse would eventually return to normal and I'd, dare I say it, even enjoy myself.    And you won't hear that from me very often.  Glad I made the mammoth effort, though.   I might even try it again someday.  

If I'm forced.     


Suz x


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