The Ted Effect
It was lunchtime. And on this particular day, we were going to be eating in downtown Los Angeles. This was a visit mommy at work day, and Gayle works in the middle of the city, in one of the many high rises. I always marvel at how “green” downtown is. So green, in fact, that the people fertilize the buildings with their urine and feces. It’s good to expose your children, early on, to the smell of urine in the street and the occasional discarded heroin needle. Biodegradable heroin needle, of course. It’s these types of enriching experiences that make city living so enticing.
On this day, it was just Alistair and I – no Noble. Gayle had a busy day, and needed to squeeze a lunch in, between meetings, so our timing was crucial. Even though our timing was spot on, no meeting in the history of meetings has ever gone according to its meticulously plotted time frame. So Alistair and I had to find something to do in the city. As luck would have it, my brother Andy, who works in the same company, was getting ready to take his pomeranian, Ted, for a walk to pick up lunch. Sweet! I would just go with Andy on a stroll, Alistair bjorned, until Gayle could meet up with us.
Normally when I’m out with Alistair, I get inundated with baby gawkers. Old ladies and young gals alike will rubberneck as I walk by, spouting an endearing ooooh baby or a Gollum-like “precious!” Sometimes, if time permits, I will stop and engage an old lady while she adores Alistair. Who am I to hoard the cutest baby in the world? This wasn’t a normal day, however. This was the day we walked with Ted.
As we walked, I endured my little 6 month old baby getting snubbed over and over again by the people of downtown Los Angeles. I would hear a “precious!” coming toward us, and before I had time to nod and acknowledge to the oncoming individual that yes, indeed, my son was precious, they bent down to get a couple of pets in on Ted, and inform my brother how adorable his dog was. This happened multiple times. At one point we passed a restaurant with outdoor seating. And a chorus of people, five tables worth, all stopped their boring conversations and their food shoveling to shriek with delight and make comments about the cutest dog ever walking by. Did these people not see that I had a baby boy on my chest?! The cutest baby ever to be born?! How could not one person acknowledge that? Andy addressed my confusion, “We call it the Ted Effect.”
Apparently, this is commonplace for Ted. Everywhere they go, Ted commands the attention of the cute-seekers. Alistair never had a chance. Ted was using dog magic. Humbled, I accepted our second place, or last place, spot and realized that not everyone in the world, no matter how misguided, finds Alistair to be the king of all that is lovable. As Andy came out of the restaurant with his order to go, he led us across the street for the walk back. Thank god, too, because one trip past those dapper, downtown dog loving d-bags was enough…. What? I’m not a sore loser! That’s ridiculous.