Discovering the dog park

You can’t miss it, my friend Sue said. Indeed, you can’t. As I approached the construction zone next to Oregon Coast Community College, a long stretch of chain link fence gleamed in the sunlight. I parked beside the gate, let Annie out and entered South Beach’s brand new dog park.

Wood chips cover the ground. Tall fir trees surround the site, adding to an aura of serenity not found many other places. To the south, cars glide in and out of the college. From the north, we could hear soft hammering sounds from the houses being built in the new Wilder subdivision. Someday, this area will be filled with homes and shops. The dog park will be moved to another location, but for now, we had lots of room to run.

And we did run. No one else was there when we arrived, which was a relief because I’m never sure how Annie will behave around other dogs. She slowly sniffed her way around the park, marked her new territory, then sprinted across the park, running one way then another. I followed, tossing tennis balls I found here and there. When our legs got tired and Annie’s tongue hung a foot long, I sat on a stump and she lapped up the cool water provided in giant steel dishes.

It was so peaceful. Yes, we have a large yard of our own at home, but out there, I’m listening for the phone, watching the clock, thinking about how I should paint the shed, cut the grass, or stain the deck. Here we could just play and be free.

A car pulled up. I leashed Annie, just in case. A young woman got out, followed by a pup she said was only 12 weeks old. My dog chose to defend her new territory, so we went home. But we’ll be back.

If your dog wants to play and meet other dogs, follow the Oregon Coast Community College signs just south of the Yaquina Bridge. You can’t miss the dog park.

Red-faced at A&W

Has this ever happened to you? I had just given my order at a drive-up A&W at the intersection of I-5 and Highway 34, coming back from a job fair at Chemeketa Community College. It was already around 8 pm. I hadn’t had much to eat all day. No time, too many butterflies in the stomach. I hadn’t planned to stop because I wanted to get home in time to watch the Grey’s Anatomy season finale. Priorities, you know? So I’m at this drive-up at this ancient eatery in need of a paint job, and I have told the invisible young man in the speaker that I want a regular root beer, regular hot dog and regular fries. I’m just a regular girl, aren’t I? Not exactly a healthy meal, but it had been a long day.

As the voice was confirming my order, I thought to look in my wallet to see what configuration of bills I would use to pay for my food. Oh no! All I had was one dollar bill and a few nickels and dimes. The twenty I got at the grocery store on Wednesday was in the pocket of my heavy coat, which was at home, this being an unusually warm day. I couldn’t even afford the root beer. I tried to explain to the voice that I had to cancel my order. Like one of those computer voices on the telephone, he kept saying he didn’t understand. Would I please confirm my order? After the third try, I simply drove out of line and back onto the highway, still hungry, thoroughly embarrassed and five minutes later than I wanted to be. I never did see the source of the voice. For all I know, it really was a computer speaking to me.

Now if I had not cared about the TV show, I could have eaten at a sit-down restaurant that took credit cards. No problem. Or if I had checked my funds earlier, I could have used the ATM at the college. But no, there I was, bigshot writer with one dollar and change, fleeing from the A & W.

Earlier that afternoon, I was guest speaker at Kitty Pavlish’s writing research class at Oregon Coast Community College. That fluffed my ego up so nicely, I decided to go for the job fair in Salem, looking for teaching jobs to supplement my writing. I was doomed to be late, even though I drove like a maniac, but I managed to speak to people about distance education, jobs in the English department, and community education courses. I came out of there excited about the possibilities. They’re actually looking for teachers, and it’s a great college, all red brick and new, in a beautiful green setting.

By the time I got home, I knew I couldn’t do that commute on a regular basis unless I earned a lot of money. It’s two hours minimum each way and most of a tank of gas, but I did learn some things that should help me wherever I teach.

Meanwhile, I missed the first 15 minutes of my show and then they had to end it with both Izzie and George apparently dying, George looking like raw meat after he got hit by a bus. Lovely thing to watch before bedtime. Why couldn’t he just ride off into the sunset?

During a commercial, I emptied my coat pockets: $20, a wolf keychain I bought two weeks ago,two dead AA batteries from my camera, and a smaller battery whose origin I do not know. If you think that’s bad, you ought to see my car!