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.