I took Pixie to the dog park the other day as I do every few weeks. She likes to stand outside the chain mail fence and have dogs run up to lick her hands. The dog owners typically ignore us - the type of people who frequent these parks usually don't give a hoot for humanoid kids. As we were getting drooled on by about 5 dogs, a big middle aged guy lumbered up and casually asked how old Pixie was. 15 months, I replied. He then told me about his 10+ children ranging from 16 months to 28 years old. He jumped into a quick barrage of overly personal questions about myself. A brief scan of his ring finger showed he probably wasn't married so I quickly put on my "I dig chicks" face.
I asked him which dog was his. None, he replied. I work here. I work here? He works at the dog park? Although my investigation of his ringless fingers had been thorough, somehow I had totally overlooked his enormous badge, tan uniform and Royal Canadian Mounted Police style hat. This guy spends his days in a hot, dusty yard making sure that no poop goes unscooped. Woah. And I thought being a waitress was bad. He told me about his recent application to the zoo but that he hadn't heard anything back yet. I didn't have the heart to tell him that it was just a bigger park with bigger poops that you could die attempting to scoop. Trying to make him feel better, I told him that the zoo is a dump too and probably not much better than his current gig but in hindsight, this probably didn't help our virile friend feel any better.
By the time I extricated myself from the conversation, I felt nothing but total and absolute pity for this guy although I have never been more grateful for chain link fencing before. He reminded me a lot of the overly friendly golden retrievers that had terrorized me as a kid. I guess if you spend all day watching dogs chase and woo each other it must ingrain itself in your routine. As I drove out of the parking lot, I looked back to see him staring through the fence wistfully at my taillights. That poor guy could really use a nice rub behind the ears.