Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Watch Your Language Around the Dog

When I was very young, I was very proper.  Never swore, spoke precisely and properly, and eventually that all wore off through the rough annealing process known as Elementary School.

One develops language via the influence of media, peers and the random changes of life.  You hear a word and begin to use it because "you know" what it means in a sentence.  Many times you find that you're using it wrong but for the most part, you can suss it all out.

In my case, I find that while I do tend to speak my mind while out and about, I have one very important person who has lately effected change upon my spoken word.

My Dog.

You see, she's a McNab dog.  Think of a Border Collie bred for intelligence.  Then add a bit of reserve, general fear, and a dollop of calmness.  They are wickedly intelligent.  If you speak, they are listening and that may indeed be part of it.

I can't use certain words in her presence without sending her into her "I Must Make It Better For It Is My Job" mode.  She's a counselor in the best sense of the word but since she's a dog, she's learned English as a Foreign Language.   So she'll get it wrong.  Frequently and colossally wrong.

I am her entertainment, especially when I'm cooking.  When I cook it is my entertainment.  I do it because the challenge of getting it better than right appeals to me.  Being a Project Manager, I find that getting the order and the process of anything down is perfectly complementary to my being in the kitchen and slopping a dusting of some curry powder on a chicken Pattie to be served on a biscuit for breakfast.

Try it some time, if you are looking for something savory to go with your eggs, it may be for you.

But that's the rub.  You see she's decided that the word Bad is "The Word Not To Be Spoken".   Sort of a McNab "B" word.  Always to be written in CAPITAL LETTERS and even perhaps Italicized! 

This morning when making that Curried Chicken Pattie, I had the Coffee Roaster going.  The room was controlled chaos.  The Parrot was doing his best to out-shout the Roaster-cum-Popcorn Popper and that was when I noticed that I had forgotten to start the timer.

That timer is very important because all it takes is 15 seconds more time in the popper to send a batch of beans to becoming undrinkable "Starbucks Burnt Beans" quality coffee.  

No, Starbucks won't be one of my sponsors any time soon.  I've never actually had a mug of their coffee that I have enjoyed.  Ever.

But that was also when I scared the dog.

She was hovering just out of range since I have her trained not to come into the kitchen if I signal for her to go.  I looked at the timer and said "Uh Oh, that's bad." in a conversational tone to myself.  Just a casual throwaway comment.

In a black, tan and white flash, my faithful sidekick was now glued to my calf.  Being jumpy since I hadn't actually finished making that first mug of coffee, I startled.  My arm jumped and knocked the dinner plate off of the scale that was being used to allow the first batch of beans to cool.  Now the dog being freaked out by the noise began to recoil in abject terror as the little brown beans scattered.

As I dropped an F Bomb I began to pick up my scattered treasure, and realized that the dog had been thoroughly freaked out.  The Explosive Expletive added to The B Word had her completely unnerved. 

It was time to make amends and let the coffee roaster run, after all I had another few minutes left until second crack stage.  More importantly I had My Best Friend to comfort. 

Luckily, she calmed fast, then walked away as if nothing had happened.   I heard the first crackles of the Second Crack stage begin and requisitioned another plate from the cupboard.   All is well, no spilt milk, the coffee beans would be recovered and brewed on some other day.  I had been forgiven and forgave myself for making a fool of myself in the kitchen.

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