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In England, people rarely feel free to approach and speak to strangers. One exception would be if you are walking a dog, or a baby, in which case strangers think it’s ok to tell you how cute/adorable/lovely etc. they are.

We had a baby — my wife still refers to him as “my baby”, but really he is not one anymore. So we had a baby and he had some plushed animals. One of those animals was a weird looking dog with a too-big eye, a mirror on the belly, hands full of stars, circles, squares, and holding various objects meant to develop the senses of a baby brain. Basically if it felt weird and made noises, our dog would have it.

We lived in Brixton, in London, when our baby was born. Brixton has a vibrant night-life, and if you decided to walk your baby at 6 AM because he wouldn’t sleep any more and you needed to re-energise yourself, you would meet all kinds of people dripping out of clubs, pubs or parties. Maybe it’s what politicians have in mind when they talk about social diversity.

On one of those walks that my wife did, my baby had taken his dog with him. And one of those partygoers, looking way too tired and drugged up, came up to the buggy, looked startled, and in true British fashion commented on… wait for it…. the dog. “Woooaawww that’s a cool dog, man!!!” He then walked away, happy to have met a dog friend. This dog became known to us as the crackhead dog.


I’m your best friend! Come talk to me!