When I got a dog, I found out that some of my assumptions about dogs were wrong. I thought dogs bounded around all day long, since dog-people regularly remark on the lethargy of cats. Nope, I don’t know what breed of dog those people had, but our Clementine maps her day out in terms of room heaters, couches and cushy fabric.
I thought that dogs needed a daily walk (or two or three) because of all this boundless energy. Maybe that is true of some of those zippy little terriers and things, but since Clementine is a scent-hound, the only thing she wants out of a walk is to visit specific spots and catch up on the “news.” She wants to find out who else has been out (dog? cat? squirrel?) and what they had to say. It’s all very geeky, really.
Something like this:
- Get to one of the hotspots — the telephone pole at the end of the street is a major one — and go online.
- Read the e-mail.
- Has anyone answered the message you left yesterday? If not, re-read it. If so, re-read it anyway.
- Leave a new e-mail, in proper text-speak:
hi im clem n tine
im okay and u r 2
tell me who u r
And then she’s away immediately, pulling on the leash to get to the next internet cafe. But — whoa, baby! — here comes Otto the basset hound being walked the other way. We LOVE Otto. And so it’s time for instant-messaging, noses to opposing rumps:
Otto4U: how r u?
ClemNtine: ur smellin ok. u ok?
Otto4U: u smell ok.
ClemNtine: u ok?
Otto4U: hey wots that smell?
And just like that, Otto rudely starts multi-tasking, reading the e-mail of the sheltie who lives here. Clem gives him a Superpoke, but his attention is caught up in the prose of another and in crafting his own reply. Clem would like to reply to his reply, but she’s out of bandwidth. So she tugs me along. We’re losing daylight and we’ve got more stops to make.
… the fence post (nothing but spam) … the spot on the sidewalk (“hm. Mallomar?”) … fire hydrant (LOTS of e-mail!) … our driveway … our garage “wait. wots that smell? hey…. HEY!!”
Ace, the neighbor’s black cat, thought he had found a quiet spot. INSTANT instant-messaging:
Aceofhearts: b cool
Aceofhearts: bite me
ClemNtine: o no u dinnent!!
Ace suddenly remembers something he has to do back home. Clementine is quite adamant about investigating the entire garage after he scoots out a window. She re-reads the entire message thread to make sure she’s not missing anything. It’s all just as compelling as it can be.
But enough’s enough. She’s taken in all the new information she can hold, she’s done all the networking she can fit in, so it’s in the house, off the leash — bang-o. Offline.
Nothing new about Facebook or MySpace. Dogs have had it forever.