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03 November 2009 @ 02:18 pm
[Poll] Tuesday in the Park with the Earthling. And Strangers.  
Ever since I realized, back in college, that I was dropping social cues with the kind of consistency most people reserve for breathing, I have maintained two mental lists, and I spend at least a small part of every day going over them: Social Cues Dropped (But at Least, in Retrospect, I Know What I Was Supposed to Do or Say) and Social Clues Dropped (No Clue What Should Have Happened.) I am pleased to say that the second list is generally shorter these days than it used to be. (The other one is much, much longer. But this post is not about my oddities.)

There is also a third mental list that I update less frequently. It is probably best titled simply WTF?, although I think of it as Other People's Mistakes.

Today, I had an interaction that I am tentatively slotting into the third category, but I'd like your opinion on it.

Because of an unexpected appointment cancellation, I took the earthling to the park rather later than is usual. After some time on the swings and the playset, the earthling went into climb-every-mountain mode and began slogging up the highest hill in the park.

At the top of that hill is a stone bench and table. When we got there, there was a man, middle-aged and normal looking, sitting on the bench, and a dog, one of those big silky collies that always look dignified even when they are running into trees, sitting at his feet. (This one did not, while I watched, run into a tree, but I will never forget seeing a collie do that. It changed my view of them forever.) When we got near the bench, the earthing experienced summit sadness and began refusing to go in any direction that was not further up, which was problematic, since we were as high as we could go. Observing me negotiating with the earthling, the normal (looking) man leaned over and said to me, thoughtfully:

"You know, I think my dog is the love of my life."

"Yes, dogs are wonderful," I said, most of my mind on the earthling.

"I've never felt this way about anyone else," he said.

"They're really wonderful," I agreed, starting to feel like I was joining a conversation already in progress.

"She's sure better than any woman," he said, sort of chuckling. Then he paused, and in a low, more personal tone added, "Or any man."

"...Oh?" I said.

"I really do love this dog. I mean love this dog," he continued. "People can't understand that, but it is what it is and I don't regret it." He paused for a second, then added, "I just wish people were open-minded. That's what I always say: keep an open mind."

"That's, um, nice. You have a good day, now," I said, and scooped up the earthling and carried him, protesting vigorously, toward the car.

So, my question to you people is: was that as weird as it felt at the time? And if so, when did it go off the rails?

Poll #1480467 Weird or not?

Was that conversation weird?

Totally not. I've had that conversation, like, five times this month.
Um, a little bit, maybe, but I have weirder conversations every day.
Yeah, it was weird. I mean, he probably was just expressing himself strangely, but seriously, dude, choose your words with more care.
Totally bizarre. Really, people should restrict those sorts of confessions to the internet.
...I'm sorry, I'm still all distracted by wondering exactly what that man's relationship with his dog really is. What was the question?

If you thought it was weird, where did it go off the rails?

First thing he said. Who opens a conversation that way? What happened to "hello"?
Second thing he said. No talking about feelings at the park, mister.
Third thing he said. Your relationship history is something you should reserve for people whose first names you know.
Fourth thing he said. Did he, um, mean what it sounded like he meant?
I repeat: I really don't think that was weird.
Still Waiting For My Jetpack: puppy (grrr)azewewish on November 3rd, 2009 10:51 pm (UTC)
Dude, I love dogs like pie, but, um, yeah. That was totally WTF, and not in a fun way.
tried to eat the safe banana: Dogthefourthvine on November 3rd, 2009 11:15 pm (UTC)
I love dogs, too! MORE than pie, even! But...yeah. WTF? I mean, I often don't know how to respond to things people say, but I think, in that case, maybe there just wasn't a good response.
(no subject) - bustedflush on November 4th, 2009 01:43 am (UTC) (Expand)
birggitt: Fuck!birggitt on November 3rd, 2009 10:56 pm (UTC)
As much as I love dogs (and I love them A LOT), I'll never categorize any of them as love of my life
And, dude TMI!!!!
Also, where are the pics of the Earthling? I'm missing him madly!
tried to eat the safe banana: Dogthefourthvine on November 3rd, 2009 11:17 pm (UTC)
I love dogs, too - and, if I had not met Best Beloved, I could maybe kind of see describing one of them as the love of my life, although that is likely not the phrasing I would choose, but - really, sir? REALLY?

Pics of the earthling are not due for almost a whole nother month! But perhaps I can post some ahead of time. Just not with, you know, creepos at the park.
(no subject) - birggitt on November 3rd, 2009 11:30 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Trinaninasis on November 3rd, 2009 10:56 pm (UTC)
As Abby from The Truth About Cats and Dogs said, "You can love your pets, just don't looooooove your pets".
miscellanny on November 3rd, 2009 10:58 pm (UTC)

that was what I was thinking! Us, them.

(no subject) - beledibabe on November 3rd, 2009 11:39 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - thefourthvine on November 3rd, 2009 11:17 pm (UTC) (Expand)
your royal pie-ness: buffyverse: xander duh faceentrenous88 on November 3rd, 2009 10:58 pm (UTC)
Oh my.

*dog-naps the dog in question*
tried to eat the safe banana: Dogthefourthvine on November 3rd, 2009 11:19 pm (UTC)
Frankly, that would probably be for the best. I would have, except my sole instinct was to get the earthling out of there.

*blinks rapidly, many times*
Daegaer: The horror! by makesmewannadiedaegaer on November 3rd, 2009 10:58 pm (UTC)
Woe, I am sad for the doggie who at the very least has a weirdo owner.

(I was torn between it going off the rails at the first thing and at the fourth. But in truth the natives of my fair land (and especially this fair city) are much given to the leaping in to surreal conversations with strangers, so a lack of "hello" would not be that weird here before the real oddness started. However the implied "His wife, a dog" counts as weirdness. Oh yes).
tried to eat the safe banana: Dogthefourthvine on November 3rd, 2009 11:20 pm (UTC)
Yeah, see, I was okay up until the fourth thing, although it really did sound like he was having a conversation with someone other than me - just vaguely off in some way I can't describe. But even so, I was fine with it until the last thing. And then I got out of there.

And then worried a bit about the dog.
misspamela: Pete sssh - lordessrenegademisspamela on November 3rd, 2009 11:00 pm (UTC)

Yeah, that's all I've got.
tried to eat the safe banana: Dogthefourthvine on November 3rd, 2009 11:21 pm (UTC)
That was kind of all I had, too, honestly. I mean - seriously, if you were having an inappropriate relationship with your dog, would you TELL people? And if you weren't, wouldn't you avoid saying things that made it sound like you were?
sheldrakesheldrake on November 3rd, 2009 11:01 pm (UTC)
Now, I chose the second thing he said for where it went off the rails. Because, sure the first thing is run-of-the-mill weird. But the second thing is where it becomes... interesting.

This is why I dislike interacting with people I haven't, er, vetted first.
sheldrakesheldrake on November 3rd, 2009 11:03 pm (UTC)
(I also considered the fourth thing, but by then I fear the rails have just become a distant dream.)
(no subject) - thefourthvine on November 3rd, 2009 11:22 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - azurelunatic on November 4th, 2009 02:00 am (UTC) (Expand)
Anoel: office jim wtfanoel on November 3rd, 2009 11:02 pm (UTC)
I don't know, I mean obviously not the best way to have a conversation but sometimes people feel they can share things with strangers that they can't with others. And I'm all for pet love which inspires you to want to talk about your pet a lot, I do it for other people's animals I see. But the open mind thing combined with the dog > man or woman...came off horribly creepy and I would have run away too. Or been tempted to call the authorities.
tried to eat the safe banana: Dogthefourthvine on November 3rd, 2009 11:27 pm (UTC)
Yeah. It was definitely creepy, although I have spent the past two hours trying to convince myself that it wasn't MEANT that way, and he isn't actually, um, involved with his dog, and he just didn't hear what he said. But. Well. I'm only half succeeding.
Cats. Not to be trusted.: mystery men dear lordcatwalksalone on November 3rd, 2009 11:04 pm (UTC)
Did the trolls break out of the internets again? We really need to do something about security. *gets clipboard, makes list*
tried to eat the safe banana: Dogthefourthvine on November 3rd, 2009 11:28 pm (UTC)
See, that actually is the good part of this: at least I am reminded that the internet is not the only place where there are weirdos. But, yeah, I vote we do something about security. Can we arm them?
(no subject) - catwalksalone on November 4th, 2009 08:16 am (UTC) (Expand)
a particularly troubled Romulan: st:xispocklookingupillariy on November 3rd, 2009 11:05 pm (UTC)
That was weird at point 2 and totally TMI and completely park-and-talking-to-a-woman-stranger inappropriate at point 4. Strategic retreat was called for. Also, I feel sorry for the dog.
tried to eat the safe banana: Dogthefourthvine on November 3rd, 2009 11:30 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I'm worried about her, too. Normally I comfort myself, when I see someone not handling a dog perfectly, with the thought that the dog is obviously well-cared-for (when it is, which this dog was), but in this case - that is not as comforting as it would otherwise be.

innocentsmith on November 3rd, 2009 11:09 pm (UTC)

My own social skills are sometimes...iffy, so in all honesty I probably wouldn't have blinked at the opening. I've probably used weirder conversational gambits, myself. But I would've been joking.

From that point on, it's sheer wtfery, with very strong "his wife? a dog" implications. So yeah: RUN AWAY.
tried to eat the safe banana: Dogthefourthvine on November 3rd, 2009 11:32 pm (UTC)
I agree with you entirely, and especially with the "his wife? A dog" aspect. Also the running, obviously.

Maybe we will go to a different park for a few days.
astolatastolat on November 3rd, 2009 11:10 pm (UTC)
I would answer your question except there was a hysterical Kris Allen bestiality story written for the first AI kinkmeme that hilariously traumatized the entire fandom and that is all I can think of and now I am rolling around laughing.
tried to eat the safe banana: Dogthefourthvine on November 3rd, 2009 11:36 pm (UTC)
NOT HELPING. Now I am picturing that man as a subject of fannish attention and, OMG, I may never read slash again.

(I am now wondering if Adam Lambert was the dog in that story, and I cannot believe you made me write that sentence. This is going to go down in my (imaginary) diary as the most I've thought about bestiality, in, like, ever. And that's not really a goal I had for myself. At all.)
(no subject) - astolat on November 4th, 2009 12:09 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - thefourthvine on November 4th, 2009 01:20 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - ladyvyola on November 4th, 2009 02:08 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - _minxy_ on November 4th, 2009 12:11 am (UTC) (Expand)
Loriel Eris: wtf // farscapeloriel_eris on November 3rd, 2009 11:13 pm (UTC)
Poll answers for the record: Totally bizarre and First thing.

However, I really wanted to picked the last option for the first questions. As in really, really wanted to. *g*

And for the second poll, you forgot an option:
Days / weeks / months / years / decades ago. This guys was never on the rails. The conversation had no hope...

Also, I really hope that he did not mean the fourth thing the way that it sounded like he meant. Because that is totally where my mind went...
tried to eat the safe banana: Dogthefourthvine on November 3rd, 2009 11:37 pm (UTC)
I, too, hope that he was simply not considering how his words might sound outside of his head. Hope hope hope hope.

Because if not, poor doggy.

And, yeah, quite possibly this conversation was doomed from the moment the universe was formed. Eeep.
Lucy: Wendy gogglescereta on November 3rd, 2009 11:14 pm (UTC)

Dude, boundaries.
tried to eat the safe banana: Dogthefourthvine on November 3rd, 2009 11:38 pm (UTC)
I know! I prefer weak boundaries to be restricted to the internet, where I can CLOSE THE TAB if I want to.
gwynevere1 on November 3rd, 2009 11:14 pm (UTC)
I'm debating between "Call PETA, now!" and wondering if you just feel into some Life On Mars world.
travels_in_time: LoM--Sam & Gene don't buy ittravels_in_time on November 3rd, 2009 11:35 pm (UTC)
Nobody in Life on Mars had abnormal relationships with their dogs. As far as we know.

Although "Dicky" Fingers did have a thing for sheep, now that I think about it...
(no subject) - thefourthvine on November 4th, 2009 09:35 am (UTC) (Expand)