Saturday, February 18, 2012

Code Talk

We talk in code, my husband and I, to avoid the apoplectic behavior demonstrated by the use of the word "walk," or "frisbee," or "Niña" (the name of my sister's dog).  Our dog Milo has learned so many words that a misstep--or misspeak as the case may be--sends him right over the edge.  He can distinguish between the hole-y espadrilles I wear around the house and the shoes I wear in public.  He knows I'm ready to leave when I put on my clogs but isn't sure he's going, too.  He pays attention to my feet.  When we're getting ready for a walk, I avoid my sneakers until the very last minute.  As soon as I've produced them, he is relentless.  He jumps, he licks, he gets his nose in there so it's hard to tie a knot.  I don't touch the closet door.  I don't touch my little carry-all sack or the leash.  And I never say "walk."   But it's a fine line between ready and not ready, so we tiptoe around it. 

When we were small, I remember waiting for our father, the minister, to emerge from church on Sunday after the congregation (his fan base) had sensibly exited to enjoy the rest of the day.  We--four ravenous children--would sit in the car waiting, waiting, waiting.  And then he would appear for the drive home in anticipation of the open-faced sandwich with whatever meat and gravy was left over from the roast of the night before--turkey, beef, pork, etc.  Mother would drive and they would talk in the front seat.  In order to make sure we weren't privy to whatever secrets they discussed in that ten-minute ride, they spoke in code as well.  Pig Latin was their language.

Much like our precocious dog, Milo, my parents' precocious children figured out what they were saying and taunted them with it--much like Milo when he hears something familiar that, to him, means fun.  Much like my husband and me, my parents figured out they would have to keep their conversations in the bedroom.  So we talk funny now.  Keeping secrets from Milo.

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