The Thing Is with Steve Canavan
Something happened to me last week that’s never happened before – I was urinated on by a dog.
You may wonder how this occurred and how, more to the point, I allowed this to happen. I mean if a dog is weeing on you I think the general reaction would be to move away as quickly as possible - unless you’ve got some weird sort of fetish, the type Louis Theroux might make a documentary about.
So let me tell you what happened.
I was halfway through a day’s work (by that I mean I’d been sat at my desk for four hours playing an online card game), and decided it was time for a spot of lunch.
I headed to the canteen and was delighted to discover the soup of the day was creamy vegetable, my personal favourite on account of it being slightly less lumpy and unpalatable than the other soups they make.
I flashed Barbara, my favourite canteen worker, a cheeky smile and, as I’d hoped, she gave me an extra dollop of soup from her ladle, then handed my bowl back to me with a saucy wink and said, ‘enjoy lovey’ (it’s a good job Mrs Canavan isn’t the jealous type - the chemistry between Barbara and I is electric).
I then put a bread roll in a brown paper bag. Well, if I’m being honest, I actually put two in. You’re only meant to take one but I discovered several months ago that the bag is just big enough to fit a second one in, and if you then hold it a certain way (sort of half-hiding it behind your soup bowl) when you pay for your food the cashier doesn’t notice. Hence for the last five months I’ve been - and it feels good to get this off my chest and come clean, for the guilt was beginning to eat away at me - stealing a bread roll every single day. Please don’t think ill of me and rest assured that this heinous act of thievery is the most daring I get in life, though I did once take an extra plastic fork when purchasing a mushroom risotto from Marks & Spencer.
As it was a nice day, I took my soup, bread roll and illegal bread roll outside. There is a picnic-style bench where I work, by the front entrance, with a seat at either side (I’m aware that was an incredibly boring sentence - perhaps the most boring I’ve ever written, though lord knows it faces stiff competition - but, bear with me, for you need it for what’s to come).
I was absent-mindedly guzzling my soup, mulling over the little things in life like whether I should stay with Mrs Canavan long-term or try and find happiness, when a woman approached.
She caught my attention because she looked slightly odd - she was wearing a top which covered less flesh than your average bra and a pair of trousers so hideously coloured I assumed she was partially sighted - and she had on a lead one of those ridiculously tiny dogs that seem to be in vogue. (I’ve never got the point of these miniature pooches; you may as well buy a hamster and throw it a stick).
This woman and her canine companion loitered where I was for a minute or two and then she sat down on the other side of the table, with her back turned from me.
I didn’t have a problem with this. She clearly wanted somewhere to rest her legs for a moment but didn’t want to talk - and the feeling was mutual because I was at a crucial part of my creamy vegetable soup, the mopping up the last dregs of the soup with a bit of bread bit.
So we both continued what we were doing until suddenly, a short while later, she turned in urgent fashion, looked down and openly gasped in horror. Instinctively I too looked down and saw the gerbil - sorry, dog - squatting and urinating on my trainer.
I jerked my foot away, simultaneously smacking my knee against the underside of the bench and letting out a little yelp.
The woman, given what had happened, didn’t look particular sorry or embarrassed. She grunted whatever is the very opposite to a heartfelt apology in my direction and then turned to her field mouse - sorry, dog - and said, ‘bad boy Rocky’.
I didn’t really know what to do
I’m not very good at conflict or argument and I didn’t want to cause a scene, but on the flipside my trainer and sock were soaking wet through and stunk of dog urine.
I was at work, I had half the day remaining, and no change of socks or shoes.
“Erm, it’s ok,” I mumbled to the female dog owner, although what I actually wanted to say was ‘you bloody idiot, why on earth did you let your stupid little dog empty its bladder on my right foot? I demand you go to the nearest shop and purchase me a fresh pair of socks - plain black please, I don’t like novelty coloured ones.’
Despite her lack of remorse, she obviously felt some embarrassment because she departed the scene rather quickly, leaving me to squelch back to my desk.
I took off my shoe and sock and placed them on the radiator.
For the remainder of the day everyone who came in my office stopped in their tracks and remarked, ‘my, there’s an odd smell in here’.
The moral of the story is this: if a woman with a dog comes to sit next to you, do not take your eyes of the little blighter.
I fear my socks will never be the same again.