Picture this. You are enjoying a relaxing drink, perhaps some appetizers, on the outdoor patio of McCormick & Schmick’s, an upscale seafood restaurant at the Omni San Diego in the trendy Gaslamp Quarter. You spot a small dog lifting his leg on a strip of grass flanking the sidewalk directly in front of you. Not a big deal. Nature calls, it’s a cute dog, and the performance is oddly acrobatic: you’ve never seen a dog take such an extended, three-legged pee.
But during this golden showers show, the woman accompanying the pup fumbles in her large black tote, takes out a kidney-shaped glass dish, and places it under him. She then proceeds to transfer the urine she’s collected into a jar with a top, giving the original glass dish a cursory wipe with a napkin before bundling everything (except the dog) back into the bag and scuttling away.
At best, you experience amusement; at worst, a loss of appetite.
I am, of course, the fumbler responsible for this humiliating display. Welcome to my first post-diabetes vacation with Frankie.
Here’s the thing. In order for me to administer the correct insulin dose, I use Diastix strips to test Frankie’s urine glucose levels. Usually I do it in the privacy of my backyard, bringing the glass dish (a former ashtray, only kidney-shaped by coincidence) inside and letting the microwave timer count off the requisite 30 seconds for the test.
Lacking a watch with a second hand or anything else to measure off the time in San Diego, I’ve devised this elaborate scheme for bringing the pee back into our hotel room, where, I’ve discovered, my laptop has the requisite clock.
Yes, the stretch of grass Frankie chose was the closest to the hotel entrance and I’m pleased he didn’t take me on a long excursion away from the hotel. That said, I’m convinced he took pleasure in finding a spot that was maximally embarrassing to me; it’s a mischievous terrier trait he’s perfected at home and, I’ve now discovered, can take on the road.
But the story gets even more embarrassing.
Back in the hotel room, when I told my friend, Clare, about Frankie’s urinary exhibitionism, she asked me why I have to go through the complicated glass jar transfer process. “Why can’t you just put the urine test strip in his pee stream?”
I explained the need for the 30 second computer count.
Clare was still perplexed. She believes I am a smart person — in fact, I often depend on her to assure me of this.”But can’t you just count to 30?” she asked.
Now why didn’t I think of that? I can’t really explain it, except that I have a tendency to ignore horses in favor of zebras when seeking solutions. So instead of streamlining the pee strip process, as it were, for my trip, I complicated it by adding steps.
I’m sure this story has a moral, perhaps one involving the need for fresh perspectives — and vacations. Then again, I’ve started visualizing Frankie deviating from his usual balletic routine and making a sudden turn, while I squat, test strip in hand. He too will adjust his behavior and take his perverse terrier pleasure by peeing on me.