Lame Adventure 462: Puppy Love

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.

Me: Huh?

They repeat that same statement.

Me: What are you saying? Have I been burglarized?

They pause.

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.

Mean Streak circa 1971: he loved having his picture taken.

Stupid Pet Trick photo. Mean Streak circa 1971: he loved having his picture taken.

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.

Bleecker sitting still for a nanosecond.

Bleecker sitting still for a nanosecond.


64 responses to “Lame Adventure 462: Puppy Love

  1. It seems you have a new friend. Meanwhile, I’m still trying to figuring out the riddle of the door via property management.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Bleecker is adorable. Hopefully, he will be a good guard dog for the next time someone doesn’t lock their locked door?

    Liked by 2 people

    • If her first few weeks in the hood are any indication of what the years to follow will be like, Bleecker just might coax the robbers into giving her belly rubs — at least until the cops show up. Berners are clever.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. The door lock puzzle sounds confusing. Zen-like mysteries and circular thoughts. Wait, not thoughts. And of course, not thoughtless. It’s not clear to me that I will get any clarity on NYC door locks right now, so I will kick that can down the road.

    Thanks for the canine introductions. What’s up with Meanie? Was he not part of the Bay Area love your brother crowd? Are those encyclopedias stacked next to his left?

    Ninety-pound Bernese dogs seem to be very popular with the younger set, even those housing in tiny urban apartments. It seems to be a trending breed. Your new friend, Bleecker, is a very hot item. Cute little guy.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Bruce, Bleecker is definitely the cutest new critter on the block. Even my arthritic left knee lightens up when we see her. Puppies have magical powers. I’m still baffled over what the story is with my door, but my stuff was all there, so that’s a happy ending. Or maybe not. They could have taken out my trash. But maybe they were not sure what is trash in my modest abode. Yes, Meanie was sitting on a desk chair next to a stack of encyclopedias. My brother, Axel, and I art directed that brilliant shot. We created a white background out of typing paper taped to the wall. Then we failed to center the lens and didn’t think to move the encyclopedias. Judging from Meanie’s willingness to smile happily for the birdie, he didn’t mind. Afterward, he probably resumed barking with gusto.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Bleecker will be a big dog. Lots of input to and output from that system over the next several years. But, isn’t it cute now?


  5. My bachelors is in communications and part of my studies included language and social structure. At first I thought your locking conundrum was a possible triple entendre, popular in rap songs by the way, but at second glance, I think it’s actually what’s called a sociolinguistic phenomenon – intelligible only to those using it…hope that helps
    (Such an entertaining post – love the dog photos!!!)

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thanks for clearing this up for us. This professional contribution was necessary.

      Liked by 2 people

    • ” … sociolinguistic phenomenon – intelligible only to those using it…hope that helps.” Actually, I’m more baffled than ever, but I only have a BFA in Film.

      Bleecker’s such a friendly little furball and Meanie, he had his endearing moments … particularly when he slept.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Ha! Sorry, didn’t mean to confuse you further! Let’s just say whoever used that sentence in describing your door was probably the only person who really understood it. I sure don’t! Have you ever thought about getting your own dog?? Would love to hear what name you would give it!


        • My building does not allow dogs and unfortunately, I’m allergic to cats. But I get my fixes of animals in spurts. I know a few in the hood and my sister who lives in the SF Bay Area has a great pooch, Thurber. He periodically shows up on this site. And I’ll always have my memories of Mean Streak.

          Liked by 1 person

  6. I have two of these Bernies as neighbors and they’re the sweetest dogs in the world! Big babies! When I see them out on their daily walk, I always go out to say hi because they’re so damn friendly. The sad thing is, since they’re so big, they don’t live very long. Sigh.

    Glad you weren’t robbed… xoxoxo

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I’m wondering if the management meant that you had locked your deadbolt lock but it wasn’t seated in the door? Therefore the door wasn’t actually locked. Anyway, Bleecker is darling! I have a couple of clients who have Bernese Mountain Dogs – they’re beautiful and have a wonderful sweet nature (also usually very smart).

    Liked by 1 person

    • In theory, I know exactly what you mean, Cathy, but I have to hold my doorknob when I lock my door, so I don’t see how that could have happened. But I suppose there is a first time for everything. Isn’t Bleecker the cutest! She’s very sweet right now and I do hope that she stays that way.


  8. I currently live with a Cockapoo. A foul, unpleasant beast. It used to growl and bite me (enough for blood to flow) but we put her on doggie Prozac a few weeks ago and it’s working out okay. Personally, I’d like to toss her into the Hudson but my daughters would sooner get rid of me than the dog.

    Bleecker is a name only a new arrival would give a dog. Bernese Mountain dogs can grow to 80+ pounds. It’s cruel to keep a dog that big cooped up in a tiny NYC apartment. They should set up checkpoints at all the bridges and tunnels and if your car contains a big (or potentially big) dog, you have to turn around and go back to where you came from.

    Liked by 1 person

    • The idea that you’re a chew toy for a dog no bigger than a slipper amuses me, Mark. It sounds like you’ve met your match in six pounds of terror. We nearly got a Cockapoo before we found Mean Streak. We wanted someone bigger than a punt dog, but looking back, that Cockapoo was soooooooooooo sweet. Meanie was asleep in a corner away from his siblings. Like idiots we thought that was adorable. Only later did we realize that he separated from them because his nature was so disagreeable. My neighbors seem to know a thing or two about big dogs, so it’s possible that their apartment is significantly larger than a postage stamp.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. UpChuckingwords

    Bleeder is very very cute but Mean Streak is pretty adorable too sitting there on the chair. Maybe the door was ajar and in locked position? Like you locked it but it didn’t catch?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Bleecker is definitely a pooch that could grace a puppy of the month calendar. She would own Miss April. As I explained to Cathy, I have to hold my door’s knob to lock it. It would be hard for it not to be in position, but I suppose anything is possible. Hey, when I was a kid I believed in Beatles 4-ever.


  10. UpChuckingwords

    Bleeder? Ugh. Damn autocorrect


  11. I would give them 40 shades of holy hell.


  12. Blecker is gorgeous.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. There’s nothing like a good dog. When I was a kid, I had a dog named Winchester. I think I’ve mentioned here before that even though he’s been gone for almost 22 years, I’m looking at an 8×10 of him right now. He was a great dog.

    I may be one of those people who “give their kids dog names.” They’re not flavor-of-the month names, but they’re all strange. But for real, when we named our youngest child, one of my asshole friends actually said, “We named our dog, X.!” He was telling the truth.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s a great story about your kid’s name, Smak! Thanks for sharing it here!

      I completely agree with you that there’s nothing like a good dog. As bi-polar as Mean Streak was, if I could press a button right now and have him by my side I’d do so — after I suited up from head to toe in armor. Seriously, he was a lot of fun. When I think of those who are gone that I miss most, he comes in third after my parents.


  14. What a weird phone call from management. Glad you got it all worked out and it had to be nice respite from the Grind. Bleecker (and I always loved Bleecker in the Village too) is gorgeous as is your sweet little Meanie–what a poser! I’m a sucker for a furry face. I love all dogs, preferring them to humans at times. You’ve made me smile on a Monday with these sweet pup pics, V. I needed it. Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Glad to be of service, Brig! The weather was rainy. I would have been perfectly content to stay put at The Grind plus I stayed later that night. When I reflect, the trip was worthwhile because it allowed me to meet Bleecker. Meanie was indeed a camera hog and soon, I think Bleecker will get used to being photographed, too. Right now, she’s such an action figure!


  15. Tom-thievery is a common event around our house. It all began the moment our first AARP invitation arrived in the mail. Our thief has no need for guns, tools, electronics, or precious gems. Instead, he/she covets items like a flashlight, fly swatter, Calvin & Hobbes books, and car keys. We decided the only way to protect a pie was to cut it into sections and wrap our stomachs around the individual slices.
    Cute pup, but when he hits 90lbs. it’s gonna take a lot of groceries.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Tom-theivery? That’s a good one, Russell! The only way I protect a pie is to not allow one in the house. My market, Fairway, bakes some terrific ones in a two-person size, or for one person in to sittings if that one person has any self-control. Unlike last winter, this one was not one that came with weight loss. Yes, when she’s an adult dog, Bleecker’s upkeep with indeed skyrocket, and everyone on the block will probably be less inclined to hold her, unless they’re the recipient of an industrial size tube of back ointment.

      Liked by 1 person

  16. I’m in love with little Bleecker, too, but admit I’m really excited by the name Berkeley. Now that’s an outstanding name, V. I’m so glad nothing was stolen from your place. Your management sound like a comedy act. Are they trying to be funny? The locked/unlocked…what the?


    • “What the?” was my initial thought when I got that call, Amy. No, Building Management, a husband and wife duo I rather like, was not trying to access their inner Stiller and Meara. That memory goes into the file called “Headaches I Don’t Need”. Meeting Bleecker was a very welcome silver lining. She reduces everyone to mush. Please don’t reinforce the idea of me suffering a brain freeze and calling her Berkeley!

      Liked by 1 person

  17. You brought out the love for pets. I’m suprised only ONE person actually said they prefer dogs to humans.
    It’s a sick feeling coming home and seeing your door wide open. But the worst thought is not finding your key ring the next day, because it’s still hanging in the door knob outside from the night before..


    • Whenever I can’t find my keys, I immediately check my door. That has yet to happen over here in Lame Adventure-land, Tom! When I came home, my door was locked, exactly like I thought it was when I left for The Grind. Building Management later claimed that it was “locked but not locked”. No one ever said that the door was wide open. I’m still not entirely sure what that debacle was about. Put it right there with the mystery of wherever Jimmy Hoffa is buried or what happened to Amelia Earhart. Maybe put it a notch or two lower. Or just put it in the sewer.


      • I was referring to myself about the open door (robbed 3x) and key in door (2x), no hall monitor informing me of my dimentia. Have you ever been robbed in the UWS? The apartment building in DEATH WISH was on W75th St. It’s funny how the Hoffa and Earhart references might bring blank looks on faces under 30. I like how management uses double speak. It must be some kind of verbal waiver of culpability.


        • Back in the 80s when the crack epidemic was widespread, there were several robberies in my neighborhood. Fortunately, people these days seem more inclined to anesthetize themselves with the Internet and reality TV shows.


  18. The lock story convinces me that you are not living in the land of Manhattan but the land of Kafka.

    Love the critters, though.


  19. Ah, she’s adorable. Puppies are so much fun and I love how short their attention spans are.

    So this lock situation, I’m completely befuddled. Our door automatically locks when you shut it, which was an issue in the beginning since I didn’t always carry a key. I do now.


    • That is so true about Bleecker’s attention span. She seems to be most serious about playing.

      You and I are both befuddled about this lock situation, but my door is not the type that will automatically lock. That would guarantee that my lock would never again lock but not lock (whatever that means).


  20. Puppies have a way, steal hearts and attention. I think you have a friend for life now, without the need to feed, bath and walk in bad weather; what a deal.

    I would truly like to understand the mystery of the door.


    • Good points all about puppies and dogs, Val! I love them both but canines are just too high maintenance for someone as independent and open to spontaneity as me.

      You and me both about my door debacle. It’s a head-scratcher.


  21. It was completely worth having to go home to check out the lock situation just to have the opportunity to meet Bleecker. She’s adorable.

    Little Bleecker’s going to eat her weight in kibble every day until she is the size of a Toyota Yaris. Oh yes she is! Yes, she is!


  22. Your door issue is a little Schrodingerish-the door is locked, but not locked. When was the door locked, and became unlocked? It’s a paradox which, like the cat, makes my head a little explosive.

    PS I love your blog and I look forward to each new post.


    • Thanks for reading and taking the time to comment Sarah. You’re right about my door issue being “a little Schrodingerish”. What a relief that Building Management didn’t call to say that my door was put in a box with a vial of hydrocyanic acid!


  23. Bleecker’s adorable, LA!
    I’m baffled though as to how your door would be locked and not locked at the same time. Most definitely an enigma, if you don’t mind me saying…


    • I don’t mind your saying that my door situation was an enigma, Tom, because it was!

      Bleecker is just the cutest, but I have not seen her all week. Maybe all this attention has prompted her to go into hiding? I hope not! (I haven’t been around much at “Bleecker-hours”, either.)


  24. As a dog person I have to say that’s an awesome story. Dogs have a way of turning crappy days around for you. The way the look or something that they do, I don’t know what it is but they set thing right, even when you can’t figure out whether you were robbed or not. Dude. How weird was that? Your door was locked, but wasn’t closed. Twilight Zoney.


    • “Twilight Zoney” was a good way of putting whatever it was that happened, Guat, because it sure eludes me. Now, when I lock my door, I look at it and wonder, “Does it have a mind of its own?” As a dog person, have you seen this wonderful story that recently rain in the Times? Check it out:


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