Dog Bites Me. (Is It Hubris to Be a Talking Mime?)
Almost anyone who has had me as a landscape consultant knows that I have a tendency to pretend to be a future tree, bush, rock, pathway, or any number of physical objects. Picture a much-too-talkative pantomime. I do this to help people visualize what they will get when we are “done” with the project. (Picasso said, “to say a work of art is ‘done’ is to kill it,” and I say this is even more true outdoors than in a studio.)
But there I was yesterday, minding my new clients’ business. Dogs were barking behind a tall iron fence. The clients were calmly telling them to be quiet. I’d seen it before. Having been introduced to Apollo and Max, lovingly I said, “Hello,” to them, but then quickly ignored the two pooches and started consulting about the desperate need for shade trees in the area. The thought of being able to use their kitchen patio in the daytime—not just morning and night—made my clients’ eyes light up, so I soon transitioned into how a vine against the fence would help make the dogs more comfortable, too.
Turning quickly, as I often do in talking-pantomime mode, I wagged my ass just a little to show how a trumpet vine (with flowers as big as my branched-out hands) might wiggle up a post. Suddenly Apollo, the German Sheppard bit my right butt-cheek, dead center. Although no blood excreted from my fatty flesh, and even though I was able to finish the consultation and bike back from my clients’ home not far from Lone Butte, my cheek is still swore as I write this the next morning.
My clients apologized profusely and said they were surprised because he’d never done that before. When they later said they almost never entertain people in their backyard and certainly not near the dog fence, I started to take the offense less personally. But still one has to ask? Was the universe trying to send me some message? Is is wrong to make a living as a talking pantomime?