Every day I walk the two slow dogs up our street. We used to make it the whole way around the big block, but that became too much for old man Chip. Then we would turn around at the end of the first street, but he was dragging through that, so now we're down to two houses in and that is more than enough for him. Lola could go farther, but since she is not up to Ruby's fast pace, she and Chip make up the slow sniffer team. And almost every day, we see the "nice lady", who spends more time walking her dogs than I do. I used to call her the crazy lady, because it seemed that all she did was walk her dogs and drive to the park to walk them again. I would literally see her driving to the park three times a day AND walking them in the neighborhood. The little babe learned which was her car since we saw it so frequently. (This wasn't really as mean a term as it sounds, because I can easily fathom neighbors calling me the "crazy Corgi and baby lady".) But then one day the little babe called her the crazy lady and I had to put a stop to that immediately, so she became the "nice lady". I do not know her real name. We say good morning and remark about the weather as we slowly pass each other on opposite sides of the street, but do not go into deeper conversation. Something has always been a bit different about her; I thought she had perhaps had a stroke at one point, from the stiff way that she carried herself. However, over the past year we have seen her driving less and less and now she is not able to drive at all. She does not walk as far as she used to and to put it bluntly, her body looks like it is breaking down. I do not know what illness or disease she has, but it has altered her drastically. Yet, she continues to walk her dogs every day.
As I crested the top of the hill today, moving fast and light with just Ruby and not weighed down by the little babe, I saw the nice lady sitting on the bench in her front yard, waiting for a ride. I said good morning and she asked me how I was; I replied with the typical, "Good." "No," she replied, "you're great." I made some lame comment back and continued on, but immediately started thinking about her reply. Yes, I am great. I have a healthy working body. I live in a safe neighborhood. I get to spend my days with my creative and beautiful daughter. I have a caring and handsome partner. All of my needs are provided for. I have no reason to not be great. The dog poop, the cat vomit, the mouse poop on the kitchen counter, the bills due, the regular frustrations of life, do not really add up to anything that subtracts from that greatness.