I went to get some dinner, in the student bar of this university that I'm spending my days hanging out in, lately, working on these projects I'm really excited about, these projects I'm busy breathing life into, lately.
So I'm feeling kind of antsy and I go to the student bar to get some food, and all they've got left is this stuff called "chicken goujons" and you know, these badly processed chip things, and I turn from the counter and realise that there are about six hundred eighteen year olds in flouncy dresses and suits, and the chip lady tells me that it's some kind of first year ball. There's nowhere for me to sit and eat my chicken goujons, so I go outside to the outdoor courtyard, and the rain is pelting down on the roof above where I sit, eat, and watch the parade of loud satin and umbrellas, running for cover and madly text messaging.
That's when the pooch shows up. The one pictured. He just showed up, quietly sat at my table, sat and looked at me. His eyes watery, sad looking, old, he looked dirty, neglected, not malnourished. Matter of fact begging. No bullshit about it. No tricks, no fancy stuff, no cuteness, no smooth moves. So I gave him some of my chips, the crispy ones, the ones I don't like. He ate them. I gave him more. I took pictures of the girls in their vehement coloured satin, some with quite elaborately positioned cleavage, some in frou frou meringue style, all with spindly heeled sandals and their toes squidging around in the rain, as they ran across the courtyard, through the downpour.
Later I got to thinking about the Trinity Ball, the satin-fest of my own extreme youth. I never wore satin: went only, I think, to two of them, though it could have been more, and I certainly have many vivid memories from them. To the first one I wore very short scarlet velvet, bought a ticket off someone on the day, having resisted the whole affair for a full year before that. And the second one I worked at, as hospitality chica. That night was notable for being offered a line of cocaine for the first time (aw..) and some London rapper tried to bribe my t-shirt from me (for the t-shirt's sake, I think, not the be-bra'd female underneath it). The Buzzcocks played that year, some reunion gig, I don't know if any of us youngsters really knew who they were. They seemed to have fun, though, and trashed the sound system, middle aged rebels that they were.
Back in the Stables courtyard, the pooch kept looking at me. He wasn't aggressive, but it was intense. I gave him more chips, then some chicken, then decided to buy him some kind of food in the shop. So off I went, and found a can of sardines, and got looked at sadly by the boy behind the counter with the large auburn eyes, and went out again in the rain, looking for sad pooch amongst the legs of the suited boys and the satinned girls, but sad pooch had disappeared. I felt wretched.
Reminded me of a horribly mangey, very sick and suspicious, terrified and starving dog I met in New Orleans one hot august evening. I followed him into some midtown ghettoes trying to give him some can of dog food I had bought in a petrol station. He didn't want it, kept running from me, suspicious of what I was up to. Followed him all the way to Basin street, or Perdido, some street once full of hookers, now famous from a song that came from that seething time in the life of that city. He fucked off, finally, after giving chase to me in a small park, and I walked back through those ghettoes, with street dudes sleeping on benches, and tears pouring down my face, all the way to the St. Charles streetcar, feeling a place in my heart that was sucking from the inside.
Sometimes your help is not wanted and that is hard.
A boy tried to say something witty and friendly to me last night. I responded with ueber-caginess. He apologised for freaking me out. I responded with polite ueber-caginess. Oh I prefer when life is not so serious.
These tiny stories are important. Important to tell, sometimes. I don't know why.