Thursday, September 13, 2007

Excuse me

In the last few months, a new family moved into the condos directly behind our house. The family -- as far as we can tell -- consists of a man and his two (or three) small dogs. We know this because every morning the two (or three) small dogs begin their day with a high-pitched and unrelenting barkfest.

Complete aside: Barkfest reminds me that I used to work with a woman who pronounced breakfast "barkfarst". Bark. Farst. She herself admitted it was ridiculous, but she said she couldn't help it.

Anyway. Let me be clear. I love dogs. Really, really love dogs. I share custody of a small dog who I love more than life itself. But two or three small, very yappy dogs going at it at 7:00 in the morning? Nope. Don't like it. You can't make me.

To make matters worse, like a rooster letting you know the day has begun, the man yells at the dogs.

Marlo! Tommy! Come! Here! Marlo! Tommy! Marlo! Marlo!!

Cock-a-doodle doo, indeed.

To be clear, my Sidekick believes one of the dogs may be named Carlos. I contend the dogs are named after Marlo Thomas, but I suppose there could be a Carlos in there, too. This, along with the intensity of the noise, makes it impossible to know whether there are two or three of them.

So, yesterday morning it was 7:15, and the whole thing starts up. The barking, the yelling. And it wakes my Sidekick and me up. We've been enduring this for months now. I was kind of hoping it would just stop.

My Sidekick, a very well-mannered and smart fellow -- a man of action, if you will -- got up, went to the window, and let out one of those really loud whistles that some people can just make. It's really loud.

And all the noise stopped. Just like that.

Amazed at the power of it, I wondered aloud about what that whistle means to people and how they interpret it. My Sidekick suggested that it places people's attention on what they are doing. I contend it's really startling, but somehow everyone (every man) knows what it means. Am I right, ladies? Whatever. It worked. And I was glad.

And then there was this morning. It was a little better in that it was 8:45, not 7:00, and we were awake and going about our morning already. But still.

Marlo! Tommy! Come! Come!! Marlo! Tommy! Marlo! Marlo!! Tommy! Tommy!!

For the love of God.

I went to my Sidekick and just stared at him. A blank stare. A hopeless stare. A why-oh-why-Lord-must-this-be-so stare.

My Sidekick shook his head, walked over the window, and sat there for about 15 seconds. Listening.

Maaaarlo! Tommyyyyy! Maaaaaaaarlo! Maaaaaaaarlo!!

Oh, it was getting worse. It was now a sing-songy, ready-to-debut-on-Broadway belting out from the diaphragm.

And then my Sidekick responded. Loud and strong, assertive yet polite, genuinely curious with just a splash of judgment:

Excuse me. Do you have to yell at the top of your lungs every morning?


No answer. No barking. Just silence.

I was truly impressed with the whole thing. It was perfect.

Now, here's the thing. And tell me if I'm wrong. If I had said such a thing, even forcefully, it wouldn't have had the same effect. I'd be some lady being bitchy. But that brilliant intervention out of a dude's mouth? Well that, my friend, is just the truth. It is to be listened to and heeded. A person will stop to be accountable if a guy is saying something is wrong. If a woman says something is wrong, she's too sensitive.

The good news is, my Sidekick is fully aware of this, and he uses his powers for good, not evil. The other good news is, maybe that dude will take his pair or trio of dogs and figure out a different way to deal.

The best news, here's a picture of my dog. You know, just as a palate cleanser.

You can tell by the look on his face, he doesn't like those little dogs either.


heather t said...

You are right about the man-woman voice/yelling thing, and it is so unfair.

I wish I could do that loud whistle, too.

kim said...

I don't think I shall ever invite Dr. B to my house. Maggie's yip is like an ice pick going through one's eardrum. It's like no other sound on earth, and the sad thing is that I end up yelling at Joey for making her bark. She is a follower and only barks when Joey is excited about something. So, instead of "Marlo, Tommy...," you get, "Joey, knock it off! Maggie, stoppit!" I think I need Ceasar to pay us a visit...

Oh, and just to prove your point, I yell to no avail. Jim merely looks at the dogs, and they stop immediately. Hmph!

kim said...

PS> Your baby is adorable!

Stacey said...

how obnoxious!!! I always am really careful when the dogs are outside playing even in the middle of the day that they don't bark too much - I have dogs and still find it annoying!!!

Kristy said...

Oh my goodness you puppy is precious!

I am glad you've found SOME resolution to the barking/yelling issue. I hope it will improve long-term.

Stella said...

Double standards are for chumps. (And, uh... I guess that means we're all chumps, at some time or another. But still, I'm with you: totally lame.)

Also, your pooch is both adorable and way cooler than those yippers.

Pam said...

The whole double standard thing -- I'm afraid it's true. I do wonder sometimes if I could learn to express the sort of things that get ascribed as b*tchy in a different way, and be perceived as feisty, or assertive. I'm not saying I take the blame when I'm perceived that way, unjustly. I just wonder.

Your dog is adorable!

Ashley said...

You have a secret dog? How have you kept him a secret for so long?

And yes, there is an double standard and it blows, and yes, small dos can make an unbelieveably enormous amount of noise. My upstairs neighbors just got this, and I am ready to wring its little rodent neck. You'd think someone was murdering a panther.

Mary Ann said...

Do let us know what happens tomorrow morning!!!

tiennie said...

I have to agree about the man/woman thing. Why is that?!!! Your dog is too cute for words! Yes, I agree with the above - I want to know what happens tomorrow morning!

Mue said...

What a lovely picture of my grandpuppy!

Rose Red said...

Your dog is gorgeous! Looks so happy. Probably very happy he doesn't like with Marlo / Thomas.

vt said...

Had no idea Sidekick could do (I'd do italics if I could here) 'that' whistle. I spent about a year on and off trying to learn (italics) that whistle when I was in elementary school. Can't do it. Not in my constitution. Color me jealous!