Many a morning, a pleasant security guard greets me as I teeter into the building, coffee cup balanced in one hand and load in the other. She is a short, chubby, dark woman, with a huge smile that lights up her whole face. She always calls me Miss Wallah, even though she knows my first name and asks after my health. She's not always on duty because they rotate the guards here, but she's one of my favourites because she lights up my morning with her cheeriness. It's hard to maintain the facade of a grinch with someone grinning back at you and telling you to have a lovely day. If she's around when I'm leaving she always enquires about how my day was, and commiserates over the long hours, even though we are both still here and chances are her morning started long before mine. Her lot cannot be easy, the work is tedious and the hours long but she maintains that cheerfulness throughout and I have the greatest admiration for her.
The rain came down this morning, bucket a drop, the pounding on the roof made me want to turn over and curl with a warm arm draped over my side and feet cocooned by dog. Ah well, if wishes were horses I'd have a herd and though the temptation to linger between the sheets with the hound draped across my feet was strong, work was waiting and reluctantly, I did the morning routine. There was a slight deviation from the norm, but the rain was coming down so hard when I left home, you could barely see the cars in front of you. It was miserable, but if we stayed home every time it rained, we'd be home six months out of the year! But at least I could huddle inside before making the dash to the car, getting slightly soaked down one arm while struggling to close the umbrella through the gap in the open car door.
This morning the pack of stray doggies that congregate under the building eaves were gone, probably driven off by the cleaning staff. They were most present yesterday when I was leaving, five mutts of indeterminate breed, varying in size with the common pointed nose, curled tail and bristly fur typical of the Caribbean hound. When I see them I'm always a little troubled and my thoughts go to my own pampered hound, waiting patiently at home, safe, comfortable and secure until my return. The resignation in their eyes always makes me sad, any sign of attention from a passing human causing them to wag their tails and look hopefully at you. Almost too much to bear, at least they have each other, abandoned by their humans to populate the roads, breeding randomly, bereft of home and love.
The contrast between these two experiences, the dogs and my guard made me pause again this morning. Something to think about, even if only for a moment.