Fido & Me — Mechanicsville

“Golly, Fido, I thought you were going to come unglued there for a while.”

Fido was in the back seat, getting over his latest exploit.

“You hardly ever honk your horn,” he said. “How was I to know?”

“Fido, a car horn these days ain’t nothing what it used to be.  These are little beeps, compared to back in the day. Used to be, a car horn was a symphony of alarm.”

“I was alarmed,” he said.

We were in a mechanic’s garage over the East Bay, and Fido had made his presence felt in a big way. All I heard, actually, was a loud horn (loud at least in the modern world), and in a split-second, the whole garage was upside down.

“!&%$&#!” the mechanic yelled, followed by a “Gol dang it, Fido!”

The mechanic, Earl, had been under the hood, jimmying a new alternator into the car. The mechanic was older—a wise old Q-Tip who had been banging on cars for decades.

I had put Fido into the back seat of the car so I could walk across the street to a convenience store.

“Would you buy a convenience for me?” Fido wanted to know.

“You bet, Big Boy,” said I. “What flavor?”

“Any old thing.”

Fido is easy that way.

Fido generally likes the car. He can sit there for hours. It does not temper his enthusiasm or curiosity, though. So, as per usual, he decided to use my absence as a chance to sit in the driver’s seat.

That’s when he leaned against the horn.

“I thought I was going to jump out of my socks!” said Earl, the mechanic.

Fido himself just about jumped out of his fur, too.

“Never seen a dog move that fast from the front seat to the back,” said Earl.

The other mechanics were standing around our car when I got to the car door after purchasing some convenience.

“That’s a pretty smart dog,” one of them said.

“Fido?” I said. “Oh yeah, he’s smart as a whip. What kind of whip, exactly, is beyond me.”

“What else can he do?”

From the back seat: “I can make the car roll backward!” Fido yelped.

One night, Fido was in the car while I was in Vons, buying some convenience, and he figured out the emergency brake.

“Your dog just moved your car!” said a woman in the Vons lot. There were three or four people milling about. Fido was happy to get the attention. “I saw him jump from the back seat into the driver’s seat, and the next thing you know …”

“Did Fido seem happy, or triumphant or anything?” 

“He was the happiest dog I’ve ever seen,” the woman said.

Fido blushed.

He blushed the other day, too, when he honked that horn and almost caused Earl to leap through the roof.

“Let’s get a new alternator every day!” Fido said.