OK so maybe my dog walking contract isn't coming up for arbitration. Nonetheless, I want a raise. Never mind how I'm reliable, and good at my job and all that. I need a raise due to the hazards and unpleasant surprises I endure in the line of duty.
Some of you are thinking: Come on. You've got the best gig in the world. You get paid to walk dogs! Fresh air. Exercise. Dogs. You don't have to deal with people.
Well, see, that's the problem. I DO have to deal with people. That's why I want a raise.
Example. I arrive at Charlie's house. (Charlie is a pseudonym for a large friendly dog who is about 9 years old. I have known and walked Charlie for some eight years.)
There's a sticky note on the door. It reads, "shhh the baby's sleeping :)"
As quietly as possible, I insert my key into the lock and push the door open. I ease inside expecting Charlie to trot merrily up the hall toward me. No Charlie.
Employing my very best stage whisper, "Charlie! Charlie?"
Faint whining from somewhere.
More whining and the sound of a paw against a door.
There's a door to the right. I open it. Charlie emerges. I quietly put his collar on.
Suddenly, a woman I've never seen before appears. "Go away!" She gestures violently. It is not clear whether she is addressing me, Charlie, or the both of us.
She is looking directly at me now. "Who are you?" She looks a bit frightened.
I feel a little sorry for her because I am no one to fear. Mostly though, I am very ticked off that this encounter is happening at all. "I am the dog walker. Who are you?'' I reply.
Charlie moves toward the woman. The woman ducks behind a door yelling, "get away!"
I mutter, "jeez, he's a Golden Retriever." I am thinking something else but my good manners edit the remark. I let Charlie outside and turn again to the woman.
"Who are you?" she asks again.
I repeat that I am the dog walker and hand her one of my cards. I point to the note on the door and ask if the baby is here. The woman shakes her head. She says, "I'm going to call Poopsie!" (Poopsie is a pseudonym for Charlie's owner.)
"Please do." In a tone slightly more hostile than intended, I add, "look. I'm going to walk the dog now. I have a key for the door." I hold up the key so she can see it. "This opens the inner door. That's how I got in. Please do not lock the outer door. If you do, I will have to break a window to get in, then YOU will have to explain the broken window to Poopsie."
I turn and join Charlie outside. I do not close the door behind me. Charlie and I take our walk.
I call Poopsie to determine my next move. Should it turn out that Poopsie is, say, bound in the basement with duct tape, I will take Charlie home with me.
Poopsie says the woman is the maid. The maid is afraid of Charlie so Charlie is locked in the spare bedroom while the maid is there. The maid doesn't usually come on Wednesdays. The maid called her a little while ago and it's all straightened out.
In closing, Poopsie says, "I forgot to tell you."
If I had a dollar for every time a customer said, "I forgot to tell you"...