Cat: Bad Odds

The grandtoddler was here this weekend. While that’s generally a delight, it appears it impeded my ability to recover from Friday’s adventures, which featured work angst and some amazing curry pot pie.

I’m still exhausted, which is crazy because I’m doing my regular bi-weekly jaunt to San Francisco on Wednesday. I need to be on the bounce.

I might still be recovering from too much rich food. I may be adjusting to springtime high pollen counts. I’m also still, it seems, corresponding with Death.

Master McToddler walked Ren with me for our regular Saturday morning outing. But then Ren spied Curly-tail, a rival barking foe. Ren asserted his interest in closing the distance to Curly, and McToddler, who was holding the leash, was unprepared for Ren’s yank. He dropped the leash, and Ren ran off to open hostilities on Curly.

Curly’s human picked Curly up. She was completely understanding about dog chaos and accepted all my profuse apologies. I was able to regain control of Ren and admonish him for hostile behavior.

But then I saw that Master McToddler had run way ahead of me.

And then he wasn’t responding to instructions to return or wait.

And then he started crossing streets, which he is totally not supposed to do.

Then he turned one corner too many, and vanished into air.

Oh. Fuck.

I searched around for him. A car started up and went down the driveway just a wee bit too fast. No boy anywhere.

I went home to check to see if he just returned. Also to inform my sweetheart that I lost her grandson. Thankfully, he had come home. There he was, safe and sound.

I’m still breathing relief, and terrified of what might have happened.

That’s the end of junior-dogwalker lessons with Uriel. Done. Forever. Not without some handcuffs or a toddler-sized ball-and-chain, or simply securing him to my leg. Or enough age and cognizance that he can engage with me in a material contract. Maybe one drawn up by a lawyer and signed in blood.

One bad accident to the boy-out-of-control would have been the defining moment of the rest of my (very brief) life. I don’t know how parents deal with wayward kids who charge onto the highway and chase cars. But our list of little boys who disobey parents and guardians and toddle off into active traffic to their tragic and gruesome demise is not zero. The list may be short,* but oblivious, unrestrained children killing themselves by diving to their peril is a thing that occasionally happens. And when it does, the event becomes a life-defining moment to pretty much everyone closely associated with that child.

I’ve already experienced tragedy by improbability. One of the lessons I learned from trying out Texas Hold ’em (I played Poker Night at the Inventory and its sequel, both of which I like and recommend) is that super-rare hands come up. I’ve had at least one straight flush, and numerous fours-of-a-kind. And the challenge when is to not freak out and broadcast to the other players when such magical hands fall my way. Also to not to go into a murderous rage when someone else turns out with an awesome hand that is slightly better than my awesome hand. Thanks to the river, you fucking bastard.

But this is to say black swan events happen in real life. Sometimes unlikely candidates get elected by surprise. Sometimes hail-mary football plays work. Sometimes todders race out into the street into the path of a speeding reckless driver.

So yeah. Two days later, I’m still awash with relief that neither I nor Mr. Reaper drew a rare hand on Saturday.

* The child death rate (ages 1-14) by automobile accidents in the US is about ten per 100,000, and one in five is a pedestrian so out of 100,000 babies, two of them will get killed running away from their grandad(-figure guardian) and crossing streets unattended into traffic. Not likely, but not odds I ever want to play again with Mr. Runaway.


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