Wednesday, July 7, 2010

“My Dog Ate It” and Other Weird Explanations

I made the earth-friendly choice, and qualified for a full-body search.

As you might imagine, seven kids, two adults, three dogs and two cats generate a lot of trips to the grocery store. In an effort to make my appointment to our city’s sustainability steering committee a slightly less laughable matter, I’ve been trying to “green up” my family’s shopping habits by reducing the number of plastic and paper bags we tote out of stores, and increasing the amount of items we buy in bulk in order to consume less packaging.

Last week I picked up a few baggies of dried culinary herbs and spices at our local natural foods store. At the register, I tossed the small bulk packages into my oversized purse instead of accepting a paper bag. When I got home, I refilled each and every spice jar in my pantry, except one. One of the herbs was missing.

Fortunately, the rogue baggie was located in a corner of my purse a few days later by a security guard at the county clerk’s office during my bag check. He was extremely interested in the cut green herb inside.

It was oregano. I swear!

It’s not the first time I’ve been mistakenly suspected of “holding.” A few years ago, I went through a period of passionate green tea consumption. While driving solo through another state in the wee hours of the morning, I accidentally floated slightly over the fog line and was pulled over on suspicion of driving under the influence. Knowing I hadn’t consumed any alcohol, I confidently rolled down my window to speak with the trooper.

He caught one whiff of my breath, called for backup, and asked me to step out of the car.

He confiscated my travel mug, took a hearty sniff of it, and requested permission to search my vehicle as three additional patrol cars pulled in behind me, and I stood, bawling and shivering, on the side of the highway while red and blue lights whirled around my head.

Green tea, my friends, has a very “grassy” smell.

I’m not the only one in my family who finds herself in uncomfortable situations with harmless or ironic explanations. Pepper recently found herself facing a library fine for a book she misplaced. “I don’t know what I did with it,” she said. “I put it… somewhere… and now I can’t find it. I’ve looked everywhere!”

The book’s title? “Airhead.”

When our black Lab, Perseus, was a puppy, he had a chewing habit. A big one. Our friend, Bullet Bob, kept Persey for a few days while we were out of town. A frantic cross-country telephone call from Bob informed us that the pup had chewed through a bag of grass seed and followed with a bag of concrete mix for dessert. Persey lived, but the week that followed caused me to view topiary yard ornaments in an entirely new way.

Not long afterward, Princess brought me a book, chewed to pieces. It was no mystery who the culprit was, and as Perseus slunk into the back yard, it was evident that even our budding veterinarian daughter was beginning to lose her patience with our canine’s insatiable appetite for non-food items.

That book’s subject, of course, was dog obedience training.

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