I dropped the girls off at their respective schools this morning, came home fully intending to have 3 hours in the studio. The dogs looked at me, and I received their telepathic massage that it has been ages since we went for a walk together. So I relented.
Once at the park, I ran into a guy I used to see all the time with his German shepard. I wasn't sure it was him at first, he had lost a lot of weight, the shepard had put some on. We got to talking- turns out he's been in the hospital. "I thought I'd be one of the lucky ones and not get sick until I was really old" he said. I wanted to ask, but read his mentioning the generic 'sick' as he didn't want to get specific. And really, it doesn't matter. We talked about our kids, his are older, about to go to high school. We talked about the economy, his company laying off 20%. We talked about his health care bills and how screwed you'd be if you didn't have health care. He said they told him at the hospital not to loose his coverage, because the sick he has is an ongoing condition. "Do you think Obama will get it passed?" He asked me. I told him I hoped so.
The dog park connection is a strange one. In some ways the most honest way to get to know people. You learn a lot about someone from how they treat their dog. We have stood together in the snow, in the rain, in the hot sun with gnats. We've talked about politics, dog food, hockey, kids, cats, TV shows... before you know it you are friends with people that you often have little in common with aside from a willingness to brave the elements for your dog. People who you may have known for a long time only as their dog's name.
The small talk adds up. The kids that come with the dogs get older, the dogs start to get gray, the dog owners get older and you realize that you've been standing in the field with these people and their dogs for years. Watching the time go by.