With something of a sleep deficit I found myself once more on the desert road to Neom. “Dead dog,” observed my passenger. “Ugh. Still there is it?” I watched the street cleaner dispose of the cat the other day with a special tool that had a wire loop. He picked it up by the head and carried it at arm’s length to a skip. This poor hound died too far from the city to receive such hallowed rites.
Moments after we see the poor dead dog, we see on the other side of the carriage way – sitting up straight by the side of the road – another dog. This one is alive and alert. “I think it’s waiting for its friend,” I say. We both just carry on though. We can’t cross the carriageway and my passenger has to get to work.
Time ticks by. Some hours later I’m on the other side coming back, this time with a rally driver for a passenger. We have had some car time already and she is a comfortable and thoughtful conversationalist. We’ve covered a lot of idealogical ground when we see the dog again. This time it is lying, sprawled, not looking at all well, exactly where it had been hours ago. Without needing to question I know this passenger isn’t going to start saying “What are you doing, no, stop, it might have rabies” as I pull into the verge. She’s a rally driver. Her natural instinct is not going to be fear. “I’ve got an empty coffee cup. We can fill it with water. And crush up some of these biscuits,” I say. She starts sorting the water before my seatbelt is off. She’s all over this plan.
We both approach the dog under the desert sun making the stupid noises humans make to try and teach creatures we aren’t intending to kill them this time. Occasionally drivers honk us as they shoot past – ineloquent noise with no meaning but itself as honking can only ever be. Encouragement? Criticism? Nah, just noise.
The dog rouses and takes a few suspicious totters away from us. We pantomime putting the food down and redouble the stupid noises. It looks at us and those ears are suddenly quizzical. At least it doesn’t have rabies. It is curious but scared. We start to back away like servants before the emperor, gesticulating at the remarkable offering we have made. It watches us until we are all the way back in the car. Then when it knows we aren’t going to try to kidnap it, it begins to totter towards our pathetic gifts. We are watching because we have mirrors and it doesn’t know we are looking at it. The water is the thing. I think it was sitting there because it had run out of ideas and lost its hunting companion. Hopefully it’ll find new patterns. “It’s eating! It’s eating!” I drive off. Places to go. Or sometimes not:
More tomorrow and a proper nights sleep tonight. It’s quarter past nine. I’m done. I’m glad we stopped to do ridiculous things to prolong the existence of that cur. Life is a beautiful thing.