Dramatis Personae: Me and Emily the Dog. Place: our sunroom, where my favorite arm chair for working is located. Local temperature: 54 degrees. I am sitting in the arm chair (squishy brown leather, able to hold two adults, tightly, or one adult and one child, or two children, or one human and one dog).
Me (shivering): Brrrrr.
Emily (moseying into the room): Hey, let’s cuddle. (Lopes up into chair, shoulders her way into 3/4 of the space)That’s better.
Me: Hey, I was sitting here. Share.
Emily (expanding more than a 40 pound dog could reasonably be expected to do): This is sharing.
I push back. Skirmish ensues, at the end of which we are each in possession of roughly half the chair. Resigned to temporary sharing, Emily noses her head under my left arm and begins to radiate warmth. I can feel my fingers begin to loosen up. I write for a while, check email. Occasionally Emily sighs gustily; with each sigh she expands slightly. At the end of an hour I realize that she is now in possession of something like 3/4 of the chair, and my right hip, jammed into the arm of the chair, is beginning to go numb.
Me: Shove over, Em.
Emily: Urgghhh. (This is a sound roughly resembling that of Lurch on The Addams Family when asked to do something.)
Me: No, really, doggle. Move. (I shift slightly to the left, attempting to reclaim the chair.)
Emily: Yawn. So comfy. Ignoring you.
Me: Come on, Em-dog. Share.
Emily opens one eye, regards me balefully, shifts infinitesimally to the left, then ruins the effect by sighing again and expanding rightward. There follows a five minute battle of shoves and settling, at the end of which Emily is roughly in control of 2/3 of the chair.
Emily: You are unreasonable. Urrrgh.
Me: I’m losing the circulation in my hip, dog.
Emily: Starts to sigh.
Me: And don’t start with the sighing again!
Emily: So cruel. My chair.
Me (reasonably, I hope): I was here first.
Emily: Now that‘s just childish.
Me: I’m getting a cup of tea. When I come back we will discuss childishness.
I make a pot of Lapsang Souchong, return to the chair, to find Emily sprawled, her legs straight out in front of her, occupying the entire chair with her head draped gracefully off the edge. She opens one eye and regards me with a mingling of triumph and apprehension.
Emily: Too bad. (She would be smirking if her face allowed for it.)
Me: You know, it’s my house and my chair. (I put down the tea and bodily move the dog.)
Emily: Urrrghhh. Don’t you realize who I am?
Me: You’re the dog. I’m the human. Read your manual. My chair.
Emily (with hauteur): I am the dog. I have long teeth. I am WOLF! You bow before me. I don’t understand your failure to understand this; you must be really stupid.
Me: ‘Scuse me? Wolf? You’re more likely to lick me to death than use those long teeth. Move. (I lift her legs up, flipping her onto her back, clearing half the chair and settling in it.) That’s better.
Emily (bitterly): You don’t understand. I am the dog. I rule. I sigh. (She sighs.) I am ill-used.
Me: Right. No one has ever suffered as you suffer. My heart goes out to you. (I croon baby-talk.) Who’s a stupid animal then? Who is the dumbest and most vicious dog in the world? Who’s the most put upon animal in the whole wide world? Who doesn’t get fed or taken to the park or walked or cuddled?
Emily (expanding outward): Why, that’s me! Totally ill-used.
Me: Of course it is. (I sigh. It doesn’t work the same for me as it does for her.)
Emily sighs again, showing me how and increasing her share of the real estate to roughly 7/8s. My tea is cold.