At the Diner
Oil on canvas, 24x36
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We were going in to eat at this very same diner on a recent sweltering morning when I saw a car parked with a dog in it.
The windows were cracked open, but the car was in the direct sun. It was already 86 degrees and getting hotter by the second.
"Who owns the car with the dog in it?" I asked, loudly, when I got into the diner.
"We do," a man said. "And he's alright."
OK, I thought, either do it or don't, but decide.
"No," I said, "he's not. And if he is now, he won't be in about 10 minutes."
"He's alright," the man said, "and it's none of your business."
"Yes, it is," I said. "It's everyone's business. That dog is going to get sick or die if you don't get him out of there."
"You want to take him for a walk?" the man said. "Take him for a walk then."
"No, I don't want to take him for a walk. I want you to move the car."
"He's my damn dog, and he's fine," the guy said. His wife and young daughter said nothing. They had clearly just arrived, and were studying the menus. It would be a long time before that dog was safe.
By this time, we were seated, and I was crying. I hate this, but it happens to me, and there's nothing I can do to stop it.
"I'm going to call the police," I said to Peter.
The guy overheard. "You want to call the police, call the damn police."
"Fine," I said, "I will." I turned to Peter. "Let's go," I said. "I can't stand to be here and watch this."
I called the police, and we left. I wish I had done more. I wish I'd stayed until the cops came. I wish I had taken the poor dog for a walk. But at least I did something.