This Is What My Truman Show Looks Like
Underpants, tube socks, and a shaggy lost dog story
I have a shaggy lost dog story but bear with me. It's worth it. With people staying in all the time these days, why not join me on my wild adventure? Especially one involving a lost shaggy dog that ends in a pair of tube socks, welts on the backs of my thighs, and a Christmas miracle.
And scene —
My hubby and I were running late yesterday because every red light in town was conspiring against us. There was also the itty bitty matter of the school lockdown that was blocking many streets in our neighborhood, which meant we had to find an alternative route.
What a day. The swat teams needed to frisk every student in the high school because eight of them had been caught smoking pot in the lounge and two of the smokers were carrying guns. I know what you’re thinking. Your high school has a lounge? Damn, girl. Where are you? Malibu?
By the time we got home, I was 20 minutes late for my cupping appointment. I drove into my garage and ran up the stairs to change into my bathing suit shorts, sports bra, and tube socks.
I know what you’re thinking. No, I’m not a Dallas Cowboy Cheerleader — at least that would be your conclusion if you walked into my closet. Who needs 30 sports bras and hot shorts except someone cheering for a football team and trying to support jiggle and bounce?
You’d be wrong though. This is my uniform to prepare my suction cup torture. I have a frozen shoulder that resulted from a bike crash in ’97. I was in the Tour de France and that druggie — what was his name? Right. Lance Armstrong. Well, he was smoking a spliff laced with speed and knocked me over. He didn’t even apologize, but he did send me a free bracelet.
It was either the Tour or maybe when I fell down that cobblestone hill in Seattle. I know. Cobblestone. You’re probably thinking, when did you fall down a cobblestone hill? 1812? Possibly. The ’90s are a bit of a blur. Now, I know you're wondering “Were you drunk?”
Not yet. It was only 9 a.m. I was biking fast and I turned around to see where everyone else was which made my bike do a 360 and me, have titanium in my body.
No, I don’t beep at airports. When I do, it’s because I’m carrying a gun. A glue gun, Jesus. You think I’d bring a gun into an airport for any other purpose than to bedazzle my jean jacket while I’m on standby? I’m insulted.
Anyway, I’ve tried everything to get my shoulder to unjam, but it’s like duct tape on a bull ride. Effective but temporary. Lately, I have been trying a form of Eastern-influenced cupping physical therapy that is helping. A physical therapist comes to my house and puts suction cups all over my body to release my fascia.
Cupping is extremely painful because it sucks up my skin until it leaves dark circular bruises. The first time my PT cupped my back, my mom said, “You look like a Marimekko quilt.”
Once my cupping began, my husband immediately left to go run more errands because cupping makes him want to vomit and he’s also normally protective about someone covering me in bruises. He leaves right away so he doesn’t throw up, hogtie my PT, or call the police.
I didn’t notice when all this was happening that our little dog, Hot Dawg, was not around. Usually, she attacks my physical therapist upon arrival. I think her instincts are similar to my husband's. Why are we letting this lady beat up our mistress with mini plungers?
After 20 minutes of being voluntarily tortured, someone started repeatedly ringing my doorbell. Sometimes UPS does the incessant ringing because we live on a street where packages are often stolen. It’s UPS’s way of saying, “Come and get it or it’s on you.”
I told my PT to look out my window because I couldn’t move without screaming. She said there was an auburn-haired woman at the door and I shrugged, subdued by cups. Auburn hair is beautiful, don’t you think?
Then someone started banging hard on my glass door. I asked my PT to run downstairs and tell them she didn't live there, but to ask what they wanted. If the auburn-haired person was a criminal, I didn't want my PT to get injured. She’s really helping my shoulder and I can’t imagine finding someone new during COVID.
I heard a voice yell, “Your dog is out!”
I immediately jumped up and started ripping the suction cups off my body. Pop pop pop.
My PT pulled off the ones I missed. I grabbed a sweater and ran outside.
“She went that way!” yelled the auburn-haired woman and a group of teenage girls, pointing north. They looked at me like I was nuts, but as I said, they were mostly teenage girls.
I started racing north yelling “Hot Dawg!” and clapping loudly. In retrospect, running down the street yelling what sounded like “Hot dog!” and clapping looked crazy.
Especially when I was only wearing a bathing suit bottom which could be underpants and tube socks pulled up to my knees. And there was also the matter of large black welts covering the backs of my legs.
When I saw someone, I would stop clapping, and ask them if they’d seen a dog. A lot of people turned away. Shit, I thought. The next time I see a crazy person, I’m gonna think twice.
Had there not been a school lockdown, and every cop in our town was surrounding the local high school, I might have been thrown into a police car — just for questioning. But, due to the nationwide gun epidemic, it was just me running down the street in my underpants and the civilians judging me.
No one was making eye contact except one workman in a neon vest, who seemed curious or always wanted to meet a middle-aged Dallas Cowboy Cheerleader covered in welts.
“Have you seen my dog?” I yelled in his face.
“A little red one?” He asked.
“I saw it run across that street ages ago.”
Let me stop for a second to discuss my outfit. I know it breaks up the story but it feels like an important detail I need to address.
Like most people, I don’t feel like my insides and outsides match. However, at that moment, when I was running down the street in tube socks and underpants, my insides and outsides were aligned.
Let me pause here to tell you how important The Truman Show was to me. Seeing The Truman Show was the moment I suspected I was living a similar life to Jim Carrey’s character. I had, however, never figured out if I was a peripheral character or the star. At this moment, it hit me. I was Truman.
But I wasn’t Jim Carrey’s Truman. In my Truman Show, my mornings began with me running past my neighbors wearing underpants, a cashmere v-neck sweater, and tube socks.
“G’morning, Amy!” They’d wave as I passed.
“Have you seen my little red dog?” I’d ask them.
“Not yet, but we’ll keep an eye out,” they’d all say, smiling.
Sorry to digress again, but I’d like to explain why I am my truest Trumanist self when I am running down the street in tube socks, underpants, and a cashmere sweater. It’ll help you understand my main character better.
When I was little, my dad used to pick me and my sisters up from the South Side of Chicago and bring us to a little town named Miller, Indiana, on the outskirts of Gary, Indiana. I know, fancy.
We weren’t great packers and our backpacks might have carried more licorice than a change of clothes. So, on the Indiana toll road, dad always asked us, “Does everybody have their underpants?”
We answered, “No,” so we’d stop at a hardware store and get bags of tube socks and Hanes underwear, size irrelevant.
When my life is The Truman Show, the director would open the movie with me and my sisters in the hardware store, buying tube socks and underpants. Then, the movie would flash ahead 40 years to me running down the street in my underpants and tube socks searching for my dog.
It would all make perfect sense. You would say “Aha. I get this Truman because I see what she was like as a child.”
I live in the Northern Suburbs where John Hughes made Pretty in Pink, Sixteen Candles, The Breakfast Club, and where the Home Alone mansion resides. People don’t run around in the streets in their underpants here unless maybe they’re filming a John Hughes film and it’s the 1980s. Otherwise, it’s all Burberry and Brooks Brothers.
Fortunately, for me, I’m sort of a combination of Sophia Lauren and Gilda Radner so I can almost pull it off. I tell myself my outfit is a little sexy and a little John Belushi Era Saturday Night Live — before they called it SNL. Stupid abbreviation.
On the flip side, if you don’t think I resemble the love child of Sophia Lauren and Gilda Radner when I’m in my tubes and undies, you might conclude I am someone who escaped from a paddy wagon that transports people to the cuckoo’s nest and I somehow managed to unhinge myself from my straight jacket and I’m making a run for it.
Even knowing my appearance was confusing though, when I saw anyone I ran up to them and yelled. “HAVE YOU SEEN A LITTLE RED DOG?” Even when they looked frightened or had 9–1 started on their phone.
One Daniel Craig-looking runner, pulled out one of his earbuds, laughing when he saw me. “What?” he hiccup laughed.
“Have you seen my dog?” I said, not even giving a description. I realized the vagueness in my dog’s description didn’t help my sanity plea. Daniel Craig shook his head, grinning, returned his earbud to his ear, and guffawed his away back into his sex and gun-filled life.
About six blocks into my underpants-tube sock-sprint, a shiny black Audi pulled up.
“Hello,” an auburn-haired, ivory-complected woman said, leaning towards me. “I am Natasha. The house manager of — “ I nodded.
I recognized her as my neighbor's house manager and the woman who had earlier knocked on my door. Yes, house manager, that’s right. I live in a John Hughes’ movie.
Natasha said, “Get in. We’ll look for your little dog.”
I said, “Sorry I don't have a mask but I’m boosted.” I didn’t say, “Sorry to sit my sweaty underpants ass in your beautiful leather interior.”
We drove around the neighborhood, not finding Hot Dawg, yelling out the window at passers-by, who stopped because we were in an Audi, and they couldn’t see my outfit. Also, Natasha looked like someone you wouldn’t mind bumping into in a dark alley. Unless you were afraid of Russian spies.
Finally, Natasha said, “You need to go home and activate your dog’s chip. Call your vet.”
I wanted a house manager.
I called the vet and asked them where my dog was. They said, “The chip is not a GPS device. If someone turns her in, we can identify her.” Well, that’s stupid, I thought. I should have gotten one with a GPS device.
Then, my son and husband came home. I had already put on pants for another run around the neighborhood when they walked in the door, I said “The dog is gone.”
We all scattered. My son and me one way, my husband the other. My son and I ran for ten minutes, screaming her name when we got the call.
“I found her,” my husband said.
“Alive?” I asked.
We ran home. I held back tears. My son and I hugged.
When my husband spotted her, she was getting ready to run into a busy street. She had been gone an hour. She weighs twelve pounds, doesn’t wear her collar inside so it wasn’t on when she escaped, and she has zero street smarts. Losing her is more like losing a Gucci purse in a tornado. It doesn’t find its way back.
Hot Dawg’s being alive is nothing short of a miracle. But this is the holiday season and I have watched enough Christmas movies to expect a Christmas miracle. That, and if this is indeed my Truman Show, which I am certain it is, I get a happy ending. Before I walk off the set that was my life, I plant a GPS in my dog and EXIT-screen right in my underpants as I yank up my tube socks.