This morning, started with the screeching of tyres and the honking of a horn.
It's an alarming way to start a Monday morning.
At first I couldn't see what had caused the snarl up in the traffic, or work out where the horns were coming from, but a dog suddenly appeared on the pavement in front of me, lollopping around in a clueless kind of a way, and the traffic started moving, so I assumed he'd been causing a fray.
He fell in alongside a woman ahead of me, trotting at her heel, running a few steps ahead, hanging back to sniff at something. She dropped a hand to run over his head and he kept pace with her. They appeared to be a happy duo, and together they rounded the corner at the top of the road at the station.
Thirty seconds later I rounded the same corner. Up ahead, on the bridge, was the back view of the woman, but no sign of her dog. I assumed he'd gone on ahead, lured by a particularly tempting whiff.
But no! I stopped at the newsstand at the station entrance, and there was our mutt, sniffing around behind the counter, and nudging the stallholder in the hopes of a scratch behind the ear. The stallholder obliged, simultaneously running his hand around the dog's neck, looking for a collar or name tag, but there were no clues. Mutt took off into the station, ducking under the ticket barrier, in a blatant flaunting of the rules and he was away.
Down on the platform, confusion reigned. "That was a dog!" "What's a dog doing here?" "Who does he belong to?" He wove between the morning commuters, sniffing here, nuzzling there, begging for scraps and attention. All the time the trail was wagging, the tongue was lolling, and he skipped along, keeping just ahead of me.
Then things got a bit hairy. He kept right on off the end of the platform. Where it sloped down at the end to the train tracks, he just kept trucking, sniffing exploring. The crowd got restless.
A combination of quick thinking and lunchbox shaking on the part of one commuter lured him back onto the platform, whereupon he trotted along to my side, looked at me in a happily feckless way, turned himself around, and say on my feet.
Would you mind ...?
I scratched him behind the ears and he leaned in. His tail was still drumming the platform, and he wasn't showing signs of moving. This was a dog who was comfortable, thank you very much. Another girl just along the platform watched on, then set off. "I'll go and get one of the men from the ticket office."
So I kept scratching his head and talking to him, and hoping that he wouldn't bolt when the train came. Then the train came and I realised that I wanted to bolt. That was my train!! My new furry friend and I watched the train pull in and watched the train pull out.
So STILL I kept scratching his head.
Suddenly a man was by my side; one of the ticket office men. "You again?" he asked, looking at the dog in mock frustration. He looked to me, "we'll take it from here. Thanks," and he clocked his fingers. The dog hopped up, stretched, and wandered off with the station guard.
And that's as much as I know.
Frustrating, isn't it, to not know what happened next? Well that's how I've spent my day, so I thought I'd share the frustration with you all too.
Conversations with a self
35 minutes ago