When Rosa Parks can’t sleep, I can’t sleep, either.
December 1st marked the anniversary of the day Rosa Parks – the original - gently refused to give up her seat on the bus.
I was reminded of the date by National Public Radio, which I listen to in the car, going to and from work.
I don’t think my little dog, Rosa Parks, heard that information, though she’s alert to items of interest when they concern her.
Once, as she sat on my lap to watch Jeopardy, I knew the answer to the “final jeopardy” question.
“It’s Rosa Parks!” I told her, “They are going to say your name!”
Her eyes brightened attentively.
It was an easy question, and each of the three contestants had the correct answer. As the host, Alex Trebek, revealed them, he read the answers in his strong, television game-show host voice: “Rosa Parks”…”Rosa Parks”…”Rosa Parks!”
Each time my little dog heard her name, her ears perked up and her eyes darted back and forth. She looked at me as if wondering whether she should go up there. By the time he said her name for the third time, she was quivering with excitement. Rosa Parks proudly swaggered down the stairs to present her famous self to poor Clover Sue, the dog who wasn’t mentioned by Alex Trebek or any other television personality.
Like I said, though, I don’t think my little dog had access to the news that day.
I don’t know what made her so restless.
Sunday is a long day at work for me, so I don’t have as much interaction with the dogs as on any other day of the week. Still, we took a short walk in the cold before I went to open the hardware store, and we got another walk in before I went back to town to serve dinner at the restaurant. I gave the dogs their dinner when I got home, before sitting down to my own meal. We played for a bit, the best we know how, and had a little inside/outside time before settling down for the night.
Except for Rosa Parks, who never did settle down.
First, she decided her ears were itchy, so she scratched and rolled and rubbed on them until she had the blankets in a snarl. Then she thought she needed more love and attention, so she came around to me for a long belly rub. She explored every possible sleeping place, from behind my knees to on my feet to curled around my head on the pillow I was using. Next, she needed to go outside. We repeated this pattern, with variations, all night long. Ignoring her didn’t help. When I thought, “no way does she really need to go out again,” I heard her little feet go padding into the hallway…which is her default area for leaving messes if nobody is around to let her outside…and I jumped out of bed again.
After the fourth trip down the stairs to throw on robe and boots and stand outside to protect my little dog from night-time predators, I gave up on the bed, and just lay on the sofa.
I say “sofa,” but really it’s a “love seat”.
And I’m short, but still not short enough to sleep comfortably on a love seat.
From there, the path to the door was shorter, but had it’s own hazards. By morning, I had memorized the “run-into-the-coffee-table, bump-the-magazine-stand, stub-toe-on-the-trunk and step-right-on-the-dog-dish” routine.
When it was time to get up, it seemed like I’d already been up for hours.
By the time I was showered and ready for work, I felt like I’d been working all night.
As I was getting ready to leave the house, Rosa Parks was settling in for a long nap.