What *is* that thing, anyway?

Looking at this truck, what would you expect to be inside it? It’s not pigeons. It’s not rabbits. I’m not selling fish; yet all of those are guesses from people I’ve spoken to.

Most recently, I pulled into the gas station to refuel and when I went to pay the attendant asked me which pump I was at. I never know the number and I always answer with the amount of gas I pumped.

“What pump were you at?”

“I don’t know. I put in forty dollars.”

“pump five?”

“I don’t know. I’m the black truck.”

“Oh. That’ll be forty dollars, then.”

I pay and am about to leave and let the next person in line go through that delicate ballet of who owes what when I get:

“Oh. Hey, what is that thing?”

“What thing?” hoping that she isn’t referring to a huge spider crawling up my back or a horn that has started to grow out of my head.

“That thing on your truck. The blue box. Is it for selling fish?”

“It’s a dogbox. I have dogs; that’s how I carry them around.”

I can see the slow dawn of comprehension spread across her face. “Oh, so you’re the dogcatcher, then?”

*sigh* “No. They’re my dogs.”

“So you’re not selling fish, then?”

“Nope.”

Thankfully, the guy behind me coughs at this point and the attendant’s attention is momentarily drawn to him. I take this opportunity to make good my escape so I turn to leave and as I do so, the guy looks at me and asks “You don’t have any fish today, then?”

Walking back to the truck, I think about the guy who we met in the parking lot of Hunter’s dance school. Since both Jenn and were in town that day, we had both vehicles almost side by side. As we stood talking about who was going to do groceries and who was going to go home and feed the animals after Hunter’s dance class, this man sort of sidles over to the truck. He belongs to one of the cars in the lot, but curiosity would seem to have taken over and he’s now trying to peer into one of the holes in the door. He’s a good ten feet away from the truck though and standing on his toes to get a better look, like his gaze will deflect downward once inside the box.

“Nobody’s in there.” Jenn offers.

“Do you know where they are?” the guy asks.

“At home.”

Now he’s really confused: he thinks Jenn is talking about the people who drive the truck and if they are at home, why is their truck here? Seemingly still processing, he wants to say something more, but he doesn’t know what.

“It’s our truck.” Jenn volunteers. “All the dogs are at home today.”

“Oh! Dogs. I thought maybe you had rabbits in there.”

I look at the man and then the holes in the doors and wonder just how big the rabbits would have to be to stay in there. Or how exceptionally trained, I guess.

“No. We don’t have rabbits. Just dogs.” follows Jenn. The conversation ends somewhat awkwardly from there, him leaving in what could only be disappointment and Jenn and I looking at each other, thinking: “Rabbits?”

“Well, at least it’s not pigeons.” says Jenn, referring to the first time our truck was mistaken for something other than a dogtruck.

I was at the loading dock of Leon’s picking up our new kitchen table and I had just backed up to the door. I had the trailer hooked up to the truck because I didn’t know how flat the table and chairs were going to be. I’m not too bad with a trailer – I’ve driven lots of them, so I can manoeuvre them alright – and I was backing in beside another person who was loading up some furniture. It was a tight corner, so it was not like I could do the turn in one shot given the angle of the other guy’s vehicle and I had to pull out and straighten the trailer out a bit before continuing. Seeing this, the other guy assumed that I must have been in some distress so he starts backing me in by waving his arms around like he’s been stranded on an island for years and I’m the first plane he’s seen. I figure I’ll humour him so when I’m done, I get out say “Thanks.”

This prompts the question “What’s that for?” as he points to the box on the truck. “Is it for carrying pigeons?”

I answer “No. It’s for dogs” while I think about what it might look like, if it were for carrying pigeons: a moveable bird house with pigeons able to come and go as they please as I drive down the road. I think it would look like one of those bubble machines in a way, with birds flying in and out of the holes. We talk a bit more about the dogs until his vehicle is loaded and I’m left to wonder “Is it really that difficult to figure out what goes in this thing?”

In the end, maybe it is difficult to imagine what goes in the thing on the back of my truck. Maybe, just because I know what it’s for, it seems silly to suggest that it carries rabbits or pigeons or stores my fish for sale, but I’m not so sure. I understand it may not be readily apparent that dogs go in there, but really, rabbits?

I wonder what sort of creature I’ll get next?

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2 Responses

  1. It’s for ducks of course! How many did you say you’d like? 😉 I have a rabbit I’d be willing to part with too if you’re interested. Hey! Put something different in each hole and you can become a traveling petting zoo for kids parties. It’s an 8-hole box right? Let’s see….1.goat, 1 chicken, 1 peacock, 1 duck, 1 rabbit, 1 sheep? (see not just for Gilligan), and 1 dog. Hmmm….that’s only 7. Maybe you should get a pot-bellied pig too 😀

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