Tuesday, 6 January 2009

O, to be a wandering mongrel

O Lord, isn’t it just wonderful to be back at work? I can’t think of anywhere in the world I’d rather be than at my desk on this Monday morning as the rest of the world continues to nurse its festive hangover.

My walk to work this morning was along a deserted O’Connell Street. Gone were the usual cast and crew of screaming school children, friendly lollipop ladies, depressed office workers and stroppy-looking college students.

Along the way, I met only a wandering mangy mongrel, whose frothy jaw dropped in shock at the sight of a lone worker walking into the office at 7.30 in the morning on December 29.

“What are you looking at dog? I got Christmas and St Stephen’s day off, some of us have to actually work for our wages, we can’t all be bloody teachers you know,” I snapped.

The scraggly mongrel looked a little hurt at my outburst so I apologised and offered him the remainder of my toast but kept the last bit of cheese to myself. Beggars can’t be choosers and all that.

“I’m fine thanks,” he declined. “I’ve got three turkeys buried in People’s Park and I’m off to collect a fourth now from an old woman down on Ballinacurra Road.”

I momentarily considered joining the dog on his travels for turkey. How bizarre would that have looked? A man in a shirt and tie, turning up at your front door on all fours with a manky, soaking dog.

“We’re here for the turkey m’am.”

Wouldn’t it be grand though? Flouncing around the place with all the other carefree canines, collecting castaway turkeys at every open bin, not to mention being able to scratch wherever and whenever the mood struck you.

Have you ever noticed how satisfied a dog looks while having a good scratch? I honestly don’t know if I’ve ever felt that level of satisfaction.

The more I thought about it, the more attractive an option a dog’s life seemed. A return to nature, no more 9 to bloody 5, no more deadlines, getting up when you wanted, going to sleep when you felt like it, roaming the streets, chasing cars, barking at children, biting the particularly annoying children.

What part of that doesn’t sound like fun?

I dropped my bag and spun around to call the dog back but he had already bounded 100 yards down the road, head held high, his tail wagging vigorously at the thought of the half-eaten turkey in Ballinacurra with his name on it.

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