I was standing in line at Borders recently and happened to catch the eye of the guy standing behind me. He was holding a plush toy and a card. He looked at me sheepishly and held up the toy: "It's a gift." I smiled. He added: "Would you like this as gift?"
I hestitated and then said no. Adding: "But then I'm not really that kind of girl." What kind are you, he asked. "The grown up kind," I said.
Not meaning to scratch, but I do hold a disdain for girls who, after the age of 10, collect plush toys. And maybe a little for the guys who think we like them. Seriously, where would a grown woman keep a plush toy?
Well, I'll tell you: On her bed, partly under the pillows. Because this girl in fact does own a plush. A truth I totally forgot when I zinged the hapless Romeo. I own a smallish Labradoodle-looking dog, which has a label that reads: Douglas -- The Cuddle Toy.
It might at first appear obvious, Douglas, dog, etc., why I have this. And maybe at first it was Douglas, dog, etc. But now -- I sleep better if I get hold of a leg or the tail. The dog is comforting. Nee soothing. I look for it when I shut the light.
I don't know if I would feel the same about Douglas The Cuddle Toy with a man in the bed. I sort of think I would sneak him, hide him under my pillow and grab hold when it's time for the business of sleep.
In another, related story, he is considered the "Situation Rectifying Hound," having to do with wondering what it would be like if I walked around in public with him and let him, in a strange Peter Lorre-type voice, talk to shop people who were not helpful, specifically the Williams Sonoma guy who got a little sassy about a particular knife I was looking for.
What if I went back to that guy and had Douglas do the talking? What-ho his sassiness then?
Douglas, the Situation Rectifying Hound: Keeper of sleep, secrets and sadness. Holder of loss.
Grown up or not.