Where I come from, gossip is a national sport. Everyone does it. The farmers go to the coffee shop every morning and and talk about all the things that the other farmers are doing wrong with their crops. At recess, the teacher's lounge in the high school is full of teachers gabbing away about the class clown's latest antics. And the high school cliques stick together and talk about one another. It's a stereotypical small town.
I left this small town over 17 years ago and moved to a much bigger city, leaving much of that kind of stuff behind. Don't get me wrong; people gossip in the big city, myself included. But it's somehow different. First of all, you are far more anonymous when you are surrounded by one million people as opposed to a couple thousand, and so your best friend's mom's brother's daughter has no way of finding out about what you did last night. You are also far less interesting when there are so many other more colourful people around you. So it's been awhile since I have found myself to be the topic of local gossip... or at least so far as I am aware.
That is, until yesterday.
Faithful readers will remember that the Beast is currently having to wear the cone of shame so that he does not lick at his recent bike-related wound (which, by the way, is healing quite nicely, and the Beast wants me to thank everyone for their heartfelt concern). As you can imagine, this generates some buzz when we are walking down the street together. Little kids have come running up behind me to ask, "Hey lady, why does your dog have that funny looking hat on?" Concerned dog-park neighbours who see us out walking have stopped us to ask us what has happened and to tell us that they can't wait to have us back in the park. Many people just give us a look of sympathy when we pass by. And every now and then, we even meet someone who points and laughs at him. (Fair enough - he does look kind of funny looking with that thing on, especially since he bumps into everything in sight!)
Then yesterday, as I was walking home with the Beast, I heard a gruff voice coming to me from across the street, "Oh for God sakes. What did he do to himself this time?"
I immediately recognized the voice as that belonging to - forgive me - the creepy guy who works at our neighbourhood corner store. Which under normal circumstances would cause me to pretend that I didn't hear him and just keep going. But I wasn't wearing my earphones so I couldn't get away with that trick. I was forced to acknowledge him and engage in some kind of conversation. "What?" I said. To which he responded, "Well, isn't this the dog that hurt his hip in a bike accident? What the hell did he do to himself this time?"
Why on earth did creepy corner store guy know about my dog's accident? I never talk to him because he is, well, creepy. So I just quickened my step, muttered something about the Beast being a klutz, and got out of there.
I spent the next few blocks trying to figure out how he could know so much about my dog. When I got home, I talked to my husband. Did he and the Beast, perhaps, walk past the corner store while creepy guy was working one day? Did creepy guy perhaps ask him why the Beast was wearing a cone? Did he perhaps tell creepy guy about the bike accident?
No, he assured me that he did not. Nor did he talk to anyone else at the corner store about the Beast.