Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Out to Pasture

Today's column is brought to you by Black-Eyed Pea. With over ninety-three restaurants in eight states, Black-Eyed Pea serves wholesome, home cooked food. Remember, it's "Home Cookin' Worth Going Out For."

Actually, I'm just having lunch here. Dubious Quality has not yet secured a corporate sponsor, although we are in serious discussions with Chico's Bail Bonds and Pip Boys Cleaners.

I stopped off at Einstein's Bagels on my way to work today. As I was leaving, I pulled out of the parking space and saw a woman leaving her car. She turned to look at my car to see if she had time to cross in front of me. She didn't, but usually I'll stop and let someone go, as unlikely as that may seem to regular readers of this column.

This lady was wearing black jeans and a red sweatshirt, and her hair was pulled back in a ponytail. Appropriately, as it turned out.

I motioned to her to cross, and when I did she got a big grin on her face. She then proceeded to prance across the street, hands held high, as if she were riding a horse. Or maybe she was a horse. I'm somewhat lacking in my real-time analysis of street theatre.

I'd apparently waved through My Little Pony.

She pranced and cantered all the way across the street, laughing and a bit clumsy, and by the time she was finished, I have to admit that it was a little endearing. I'd have thrown her an apple if I had one.

And as I watched her, I could think of only one thing: Kathleen Burdett.

In our elementary school, Kathleen Burdett was known simply as "Pony Girl." She occasionally walked as regular humans do, but mostly she galloped, cantered, or pranced. She came with a full complement of horse sounds.

Wait a minute. That sounded kind of dirty. This is a fifth grader I'm talking about.

Okay, she MADE a full complement of horse sounds.

And every day, absolutely EVERY day, her hair was in a ponytail.

Now having a Pony Girl in your class is unusual enough, but Kathleen Burdett had one feature that made her unlike any other girl in the world: she had a crush on me. That's right--she'd come prancing into class, neighing and whinnying as she she came to a halt. In front of my desk. Where she'd tell me she liked me.

I had absolutely no idea how to handle this with a regular girl, let alone with a girl/equine hybrid. So I mostly just slouched down in my desk and made sure never to give her a sugar cube.

Then one day I came into class and she was gone. I remember thinking "Hey, she can't move--she has a crush on me!"

But she did.

So as I saw Pony Lady prancing across the street this morning, I thought about Kathleen Burdett and hoped that she was still galloping somewhere, hair in a ponytail. Happy.

And after I got to work, and no one else acted like a horse, it was, I admit, just a little disappointing.

Site Meter