The other day I saw a television commercial with a bunch of people working in a dog treat factory. Every worker was wearing a hair net or head covering. I thought, why? Have they never noticed what dogs will typically eat on any given day? I will spare you the details, because if you’ve ever had a dog then you already know. But seriously, a few stray hairs is the last thing anyone should worry about.
My little Pomeranian, Gus, once hauled off with a set of dentures belonging to our host. Fortunately, they were found later on the front lawn and in reasonably good shape. Gus also took off with the same host’s hearing aid. These are not items that one can afford to lose to a 15-pound dog that thinks such items are his personal chew toys.
Other things that don’t make sense is the fact that universities don’t have valet parking. Some say parking on college campuses is a nightmare, which depending on one’s situation, could very well be. Just because something is a first world problem doesn’t mean it’s exempt from being a horrible inconvenience that could use some improvement. My partner, Jay, suggested an app for a valet parking system, to avoid having to walk uphill in the rain, sleet, or snow in both directions. Jay also suggested a system of rickshaws — consider it conditioning training for college athletes. Another underutilized source of manpower, the way I see it.
Another thing that doesn’t make sense is the fact that I never get tired of patting myself on the back. Especially when it comes to outsmarting my genius partner. One afternoon this last winter, I walked into the kitchen and smelled something burning — like electrical burning. I called to Jay in the other room to come to the kitchen and help me detect its source. We both sniffed everything in the kitchen — the stove, the light fixtures, behind the fridge, all the usual suspects.
We sniffed and sniffed like a couple of bloodhounds, but nothing, no source. We gave up and said we’d wait and see. Jay went back to his desk, which isn’t actually a desk but a partially caved-in card table I found at the thrift store, holding a desktop computer atop, and a bouncy ball for a chair I call the Sitting Ball. I lingered a few moments in the kitchen/dining area, sniffing, sniffing, until it occurred to me to check the heating elements in the dining area. Good call. The smell was coming from Jay’s wet shoes leaned up against the heating vent. This pleased me to no end, to have outsmarted a trained electrical engineer.
Of course, this reminded me of the time I fixed the washing machine, following Jay’s painstaking troubleshooting sessions. And the time I fixed his laptop. Both times I had suggested unplugging and plugging back in, as with the washing machine, and shutting down and removing the battery before restarting, and both times worked like a charm.
One time I couldn’t access a certain clearance system for software I was using for a college writing contest. And after troubleshooting with an expert IT guy for most of an hour, it occurred to me to suggest reconciling the passcode with the one I was given. And yep, that was the trouble, the passcode had been off by one lowercase letter. It surprises me that the easiest solutions aren’t the first things professionals will try. Makes no sense, right? These solutions coming from someone who smudges with sage whenever I need to use the printer.
It’s like when Jay loses something — his wallet, his glasses, or his keys. I always seem to know exactly where his misplaced items are. As if my uterus is some kind of homing device. It’s a superpower. One morning Jay woke me up out of a dead sleep because he couldn’t find his keys.
I said, “Look in your pant’s pockets.”
He said, “I did look and they aren’t there.”
I said, “No, look in the other pocket.”
He said, “I looked and I’m late, and … oh. I didn’t look in that pocket. Never mind.”
Midge is a citizen of the Standing Rock Sioux Nation and was raised by wolves in the Pacific Northwest. Her book of essays Bury My Heart at Chuck E. Cheese’s was a finalist for a Washington State Book Award. She enjoys composting and frisky walks through dewy meadows. Midge lives in Moscow.