Ronnie: Alter Ego # 721169

You know how every star has a side-kick? Every TV family has that one neighbor?
In a good comedy, the second billing is usually REALLY annoying?
Well, I'm not the star of anything; never have been. I way prefer to be the comedic side-kick who seems wacky but who has a heart of gold. Nichole to Paris, am I to so many of my neighbors.
If this was a sitcom, set in the 1980s, I would be the Annoying Neighbor wtih a Heart of Gold. I would be the guy with a can of beer in a koozie. I would have a scum stash and a Camero. I would be full of myself in that 1980s, macho way but mysteriously never really go out. I'd spend a lot of time peering out the window, like a little old lady instead of a mushtachioed lothario in too-tight Wranglers. I'd hitch up my pants a lot and look away before making a non-sensical "observation". Often, I'd snort a wad of snot into my throat, only to spit it out of the way of conversation while laughing at my own toilet humor. I would also have the ears of Superman but somehow, only when there's gossip a-foot and never when my dog is barking or my TV is blaring.

Man...I only wish I could snort and spit. I can barely do either as it is. In the area of noisy bodily functions, I am not the winner of any 8th grade competitions. And no, that's not exactly a complaint for my real life.

But as far as comedy is concerned, I would be waaaaaaaay funnier if I could belch properly. Bodily function humor and the number of animals I have would combine to create some glorious compsite of stereotypical loserdom, the kind that make people laugh and laugh and laugh.

I have a fucking zoo at this point, a zoo of loyalty.

I pretty much let my pets do as they please. When new people are around, I sort of offer and gesture toward the cats: "Those two are mine - just, you know, let me know if they bother you or anything." In reality? They bother and I don't care. G-Love and Maggie Sauce follow me around and beat the snot out of some helpless bird, in anyone's yard. Their activities make me as proud as a redneck momma would be of her 3 year old asking for his first NASCAR tee-shirt.
Since they follow me everywhere though at somewhat of a distance, they make it to all of my neighborhood rounds, where I collect gossip, make observations, and calculate my own popularity. For example, if I am invited over to The Madame's place for some chicken and crudités, shortly after I arrive, two cats will be stalking the door or sitting on The Madame's car, patiently waiting for me.
Those two appear in doorways, windows, on roofs, and on - sometimes in - cars that are parked out in front of where ever it is that I am visiting. Of course, if the Girlz in the Hood are hanging out for any length of time, they are also killing things, digging holes, and shitting or whatever else it is that rock and roll kitties do while they are waiting to follow me to the next stop.

And Rosie?
The way I allow my dog to run around is a perfect example of how you can take the girl out of Southern Illinois but you can't take Little Egypt out of the girl. Rosie gets out a lot. Sometimes she rushes the door while I am trying to leave and I have to pretend to her that I wanted her to go out, so I open the driver's side door of my Bitchin' Honda and invite her in. At which point I grab her by the collar and carry her back into my house because I AM TRYING TO GO TO WORK, ROSIE! YOU ARE NOT INVITED.

A lot of times, though, I open the door and out she goes. On purpose. Leashless.
Why, Sarah?

Well, here's my theory: Dogs her size need a minimum of 20 minutes of running every day, right? Rosie is obsessed with me and ultimately, like her kitty sisters, she follows me where ever I go. Again like her kitty sisters, she follows at a distance. So I open the door and let 'er rip and she tears around the property a couple of times and then comes to the door, panting and wanting to jump into my waiting arms for a good head scratching or belly rub and lots and lots of praise.

In my head.

Well, to be fair, that is what she used to do. I'd open the door for her and follow her out and she'd do a couple of laps and then come in for a nap.

Now, I open the door for her to run around and instead of doing her laps, she makes a beeline for The Capables' cat food. She chomps it down as fast as she can because bearing down on her, she hears Darth Sarah purposefully striding, complete with the theme music. So she abandons the cat food and runs up to their door to scratch at it just long enough to smear it with paw prints and to get the attention of their dogs who get riled up and start barking at her, either to stop or to come in and play - I can never tell which. I think I'm probably more pissed off that she isn't an easy little doglet anymore and that she's in her terrible twos, which means that basically, no matter what I say or do, she will not do her tricks, she will not play with her toys, and she will NOT, under ANY circumstances, come to me when called.
This is when I start drawling loudly and cussing. I can't help it. The Southern Illinois is irrepressible when I am angry, tired, or drunk. Of course, I know I probably shouldn't be letting her out to run if she can't behave but I still think it's probably better for her to tear around the property with me trailing her and cussing, than it is for her to be put on a leash and walked or for her to be left inside to chew on me or the table. So I open the door and I let her go running and I follow her, cussing. Whateveski.

The little trick that I like to think I am getting away with is that the closer I get to the dog, and the more likely I am in earshot of neighbors, the more I try to pretend that I am not actually a redneck character/comedic relief player on a popular TV show. Close examination would show the jury that I actually AM that spitting side-kick named Ronnie and that in real life, I play a responsible and caring neighbor named Sarah, or DJ AZ-Is for the fans. Sophisticated, tasteful, and knowledgeable about the world state of affairs.

The closer I get to the dog, the more apt I am to pretend like she got out on her own, and I can't believe that the silly puppy got out AGAIN! For the benefit of anyone watching: "Rosie! No!! Oh puppy, Come on, sweet little puppers! Mama has treats!" If I know that nobody is around, that exchange goes something more like this: " "Goddammmit do-wog, git over her' naw-ow" "Fahn. I don' cire. Bah, Rosie! Bah! Ah say-id Bah! I'm goin' in Bah Rosie, Bah!" And I turn and walk back toward my place, hoping silently that the rat is following me. Which, to be fair, she always does.
Once she's headed back across the driveway, just in case anybody could hear me when I thought for sure they couldn't, I kind of look around slyly, like I am checking out the property for any other signs of disturbance, surveying for anything amiss that I can go clean up, and I make one final hitch of my pants and kind of shake my head, saying just loudly enough in an edited-for-accent voice, "Sigh. That crazy dog! She's just a handful! I don't know what in heaven to do with that wacky puppy-pie!"

You know, like it's not totally, 100% my fault.

arizonasarah at 8:41 a.m.

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