I was sitting at my desk at The Grind masochistically eating my organic kale lunch, when I received a call from my building’s management announcing:
Building Management: Your lock is locked but your lock’s not locked.
They repeat that same statement.
Me: What are you saying? Have I been burglarized?
Me: Was my door opened?
Building Management: No, it’s locked.
Me: So how was my door not locked if it was locked?
Building Management: We locked it.
Me: So you locked my door because it was unlocked?
Building Management: Yes. You didn’t lock it when you left.
They then give me a convoluted explanation about how to lock the door that I’ve been locking almost every day of my life since September 1983.
Me: I know how to lock my door. I know I locked it when I left this morning. How do you know my apartment wasn’t broken into?
They have no response to that idea. Elspeth, my boss, has heard my side of this frustrating conversation.
Elspeth: You better go home and see what’s going on. You might need to file a police report.
I doubt that anyone took my eight-year-old MacBook, spin bike or platform bed. At least I hope that. But I heed The Boss’s advice, catch a 1 local and head home to the Upper West Side. I’m calm. I don’t have a sick feeling. A light rain is falling when I exit the train at West 72nd Street and hot foot the rest of the way to my hovel. I enter my building and encounter a member of Building Management.
Building Management: Did you get the phone call? Your door was locked but it wasn’t locked. We locked it for you.
I still don’t know what that means. I walk up three flights to my sanctum sanctorum. It is locked. I enter. If anyone broke in, they were not compelled to take anything. Possibly they thought:
Would-be robber: What a dump!
I once knew someone whose place was broken into. Their stuff was so shabby the robber left two tens on the kitchen counter. Apparently, my would-be robber left with his or her disgust. As I exit my building I encounter my first bright spot of the day: an adorable Bernese Mountain Dog puppy on a red leash. She and her young guy owner are running short sprints back and forth on the sidewalk. But I’m a new distraction. She wants to check me out. She sniffs my hand and licks a knuckle. Her fluffy coat is dotted with mist from the light rain. In the idiot voice I use for delightful small animals and cute small fry I ask:
Me: And what’s your name?
Young guy (speaking in puppy voice): Bleecker!
Me: You’re in the wrong neighborhood for that name!
For non-New Yorkers, Bleecker is the name of a popular street downtown in Greenwich Village.
Young guy (speaking in puppy voice): I like it up here!
I ask her age and he tells me that she’s ten weeks old.
Me: Welcome to the Upper West Side, Bleecker.
I’m impressed that this fellow has not named his dog, Linda, and his daughter, Bleecker. Maybe the trend to call dogs people names and people dog names is reversing? My encounter with Bleecker makes me think about my beloved childhood dog, Mean Streak. When we bought him at a pet store in San Francisco the day after Christmas in 1969, the shopkeeper told us that he was part poodle, part spaniel and his coloring was similar to a Berner. Meanie shared much of the temperament of a Berner. He was loyal, faithful, intelligent, but where he diverged was that he was more inclined to snarl than be very affectionate. Wound tight by nature he was a constantly aggravated barking machine who viewed every visitor as an unwelcome intruder. Gluttons for punishment, we loved him. Meanie weighed about thirty-five pounds.
I am seeing Bleecker more and more. Proving that I’m fast approaching 392 in dog years, I’ve been suffering brain freezes and I’ve almost twice called her Berkeley. She is very playful and sweet. Her fur is incredibly soft. Right now, she weighs about fifteen pounds. When I was talking to Randi, her woman co-owner, she told me that Bleecker would gain two pounds every week until she reaches her adult weight of ninety pounds. The pooch that is a little bundle of energy that eagerly stands on her hind legs with her paws pressing on my thighs might soon be placing those same paws on my shoulders. That might be more disturbing than charming, but for now, Bleecker’s stealing hearts, thieving I condone.