Thursday, June 28, 2012

Ah, Fiesta!

I recently was coerced by fate, availability and the lovely wife into taking the dogs “for an outing”.  Something important was happening at the homestead and the Doodles, who consider it their canine duty to bark like mad banshees when people come to the house, were not invited.    

Not knowing what else to do, I decided to take them – and Juneau, the energizer bunny, Vishla – to Fiesta Island.

Fiesta Island is a large track of undeveloped land in Mission Bay and it  is where every year the Old Mission Beach Athletic Club of San Diego sponsors it’s annual Over The Line tournament.   Over the Line is basically beach softball.  Three man (or women) teams compete against one another in an odd shaped triangle on the sand.  Don’t ask me the rules I don’t know them.  But I do know it’s a fun game.  And I do know this particular tournament is about winning, yes, but it’s also about how obscene the names of the teams can be.  Which is major.   And I know too, that the women’s team names make the men’s sound like endearments.   Actually when you get right down to it, the OMBAC Over the Line tournament is mostly about drunk guys of all ages calling for drunk women of all ages to take their tops off.  And the women -  at the least the ones with tattoos – do.  What fun!   Oh - and at the end of the tournament they crown the annual Miss Emerson.

Meaning Emmerson t**s.   

Americana at its best.

(The Desperate Man, of course, has never attended this event on Fiesta Island because though he likes beer and breasts as much as the next guy, he doesn’t deal well with parking.)


Every other time of year it is an awesome place to let your dogs run free.   They poop, they pee, they butt-sniff the other dogs of which there are many.   They race, they roughhouse.   Fiesta Island is the only place, other than our living room, that the Doodles will play fetch and so I always bring a ball thrower with the hopes that I’ll heave it so far out into the water, the Dudes will be swept out to sea.  Or claimed by a water skier. Or arrested by the Coast Guard.

Never happens.

But give it time, they’re still young.

Juneau, they hyperkinetic Vishla, had never been to Fiesta Island before. 

He didn’t like it.   No. 

He loved it.   He went insane over it.   “How come you never told me about this before”,  he said, and ears flapping, he began racing around, bouncing off the landscape like he was a ball of flubber.

Turning, he raced away, doing Mach 123 down the beach and disappeared in the distance.   Moments later he came racing up behind me, leaving me to conclude that he had just circled the world.

When the Dudes went into the water, he just about turned himself inside out with excitement.   He jumped from all fours several feet up into the air, landed stiff kneed and immediately did it again – and again.   He then ran into the water up to his toenails, stepped on a piece of sea weed and did a world record, backward standing broad jump out.   And then barking, he ran in circles, as if blaming it on his tail.   

I felt like I was watching a Warner Brother’s cartoon.  Somehow Wiley Coyote and the Roadrunner had married and mated and the results were this gangly dog who could run a billion miles an hour but had no sense of direction.

The Dudes were embarrassed to no end.  Whenever Juneau would come bounding up to them, they’d growl and turn away as if to say, ‘Get the hell away from me, you idiot.  That Collie bitch is staring at us and you’re embarrassing me.”

One slight draw back of Fiesta Island  is that salt water plays havoc with a dog's digestion.  I brought nine plastic bags, three for each of them, more than enough.   They were all used within 30 minutes.  As a semi-responsible dog owner, I always try to clean up after my canines and I’m good at giving dark, disapproving looks at people who don’t.  I’m not good at taking them.  And so I proceeded to walk the beach, pretending these shit machines didn’t belong to me. 

Of course, when an attractive women passes, you can ask her if she has an extra poop bag.  Dogs and poop bags are a great conversation starter and I wish I’d known that as a young man when I had no conversations starters at all.   I wouldn’t have even needed a dog, just the poop bags.   And often the attractive woman will be walking a poodle.  This means Napoleon, the Don Juan of dog eunuchs, will immediately attempt to hump it.   This can make for uncomfortable silences and nervous smiles.  But if it doesn’t, than you know you’ve got yourself a winner.

(As a footnote, I should mention that pushing a baby in a stroller or, better yet, toting it in one of those belly carriers, is also a great way to meet women.  In fact, it's like a smile button.   I wish I’d known that when I was young man as I’m sure I could have borrowed a baby from somewhere). 

At the end of an hour and a half, the Dudes were exhausted from all their ball chasing and swimming and pooping and humping and were panting so hard, their tongues were hanging down to around their clavicles.  They were making it obvious they wanted to go home and get back into their usual routine of sleeping  18 hours a day.   Juneau, however, was having none of it.   Even though he’d already run around the world three times, gotten himself stuck in a drain pipe and survived half a dozen wrestling matches that resembled the X-Games, he wasn’t ready to go and was still careening around like the Tasmanian Devil (another great Warner Brother’s cartoon). 

Juneau, as you might know, is a service dog. He is being trained by the lovely wife for placement in the wounded warrior program at Camp Pendleton.  He lives to obey.

Everybody but me.

Juneau, come!” I said.  Juneau, come!”

He turned and ran away down the beach.    He came back.  He hovered on the periphery.

“Come, Juneau!” I said.  “Come, Juneau!”

He turned away and began playing with an obese Pomeranian.  The Pomeranian’s owner, as obese and wild haired as her dog, smiled and asked if I had an extra poop bag. 

Juneau, if you don’t get your butt over here right now I will kick it in to next week!”   

This was, of course, an empty threat.   If I were ever to kick Juneau’s butt into next week, the lovely wife would kick my butt into next month.   But I was hoping Juneau wouldn’t know that.

He does.  He did.  He ignored me completely.

Five minutes of threats and entreaties later, the Dudes shook their heads in disgust and impatience and turned and padded off in the general direction of the car.   Juneau sat a moment, then raced right by me, yipping – “Guys, wait for me, wait for me!   Guyssssss!"  They ignored him and because they did, like a little kid wanting to hang out with his older brothers, he followed them all the way to the parking lot.

Somewhow I resisted strangling Juneau with his leash.

Fiesta Island.

A great day. 

And to make it even more so, on the way home the dogs had a spirited contest to see who could puke up the most salt water in the backseat of the car.

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