Every Thursday night, I take my pugs, Blossom and Jade, to a playgroup at a local pet shop. The group is referred to as Yappy Hour and my girls love it. I don’t do the dog park thing, so this is the one opportunity a week they get to be off leash with a group of other dogs.
The play commences at 730 in the evening and lasts about an hour. In the fall and winter months, it is already dark by 730, so I can just wear the glasses I use for all activities that don’t involve the sun. My night vision is almost non-existent, but the dogs keep me in line and I always walk the brightest path along Sunset Blvd. I have walked that stretch of road so many times, even the grooves in the sidewalk are etched in my memory. I am not generally comfortable being out by myself at night, but I cling to the false sense of security that my pugs give me and brave the dark for their sake.
In the Spring and Summer, I am faced with a season specific dilemma. The sun can stay out as late as 8pm on warmer nights and I struggle with the decision between wearing my sunglasses and having to bring a bigger bag with me or baring my eyes to their most bitter enemy. I have to admit that I can be a bit lazy and so sometimes choose exposure to the sun over packing and carrying a bigger bag, but most of the time, I wear my sunglasses and bring the regular ones for the hour in the pet shop and the walk home.
On an evening in the middle of the summer this year, I got myself and the girls ready for Yappy Hour, packed their bag with treats and poop bags and put my regular glasses into another bag with my wallet. When I got to the pet shop, I tucked myself into a corner to change my glasses and found myself in an unexpected bind. The case was empty. I had left my glasses on my desk and brought an empty case. Without glasses, the world is a complete blur for me, so I started to panic, just a bit. I was wearing my sunglasses, but they were no use to me; they are too dark to wear inside and it was getting dark outside. How the hell was I going to get home?
I took it in stages. First, I had to get through Yappy Hour without being able to see who was who or which dog was which. Fortunately, I am well-known to most of the staff at the pet shop and the woman who oversees the playgroup is our dog trainer and knows about my RP. I let her know what was going on and asked her to keep a bit of an extra watch on my girls because I couldn’t see them clearly running around the play area. But, I still had to figure out how I was going to get home.
I don’t know the other humans in Yappy Hour well enough to ask them for a ride home and I think most of them walk there anyway, but thankfully my husband works about 5 miles from home. I hated asking him to leave work early, but this was an emergency. I called him and of course he agreed to come and get me, but he couldn’t leave until almost 9 and the pet shop closes at 9.
At 830, Yappy Hour came to an end, I put the leashes on Blossom and Jade and I just sat there pretending to look for something in my bag while everyone else trickled out. Then, I got up and began to wander the store, taking care not to topple over displays or crash into any pillars. I chatted with our trainer for a bit, but she and the other staff were busy getting the shop ready for closing time.
The time passed like molasses. 845 and my husband hadn’t arrived. Ten to nine, still not there. Five to nine, the staff were locking the back door and there he appeared; my hero come to escort his blind wife home. I was so grateful to see him, but also felt foolish and ashamed that I hadn’t been more prepared.
Since that night, I haven’t left the house without making sure my glasses are in the case.