Although this reads like something out of a movie, it did happen and i am so grateful for what he had to show me.
i had finished uni for the day and was in one of those “i need a caffeinated substance or will face certain death” moments. Not wanting to face the hoardes of students lining up for over priced coffee at the uni food outlets i took the tram to Degreaves street. I sat at an out door cafe with Peter, my Jack Russell Fox Terrier, a constant four legged companion and ordered a long black, my choice for stressful moments.
I was thinking about the future. Could I be a good student after a long time, do i have it in me to write a thesis, do i have enough staying power to get through a degree like this. Is my topic good enough, will i win the respect of my colleague. Over a long black i was having a semi existential crisis of the postgraduate student kind.
Then I saw him….At first I didn’t notice him. I kept drinking and lit a cigarette paying no attention to what was going on around me. He walked up to me, stooped over and wearied with age, but then i noticed the sparkle in his grey eyes.
“You have a nice dog” he said, in a thick european accent, leaning down to pat an excited Peter.
“Thankyou” I replied, the standard response when someone compliments Peter.
“You know, i had a dog once.” He began to say.. Sitting down at the table and ordering a cup of tea… the cheek of it, i thought, considering i didn’t know his name.
His name was Lazslo, and his accent was Hungarian. He proceeded to tell me the story of his childhood in Hungary. During the war they had no money and food, but had a large Wolfhound Lazslo named “Digger” for his ability to dig huge holes in the front yard..Lazslo heard his parents discussing how their only opportunity for food would be to eat Digger.
” I leave the gate open one day, so Digger ran away”… ” I love that dog..” four months later they manage to get passage to australia through Lazslo’s aunt.
With that, he got up.. ” you have a nice day.. you too nice dog” Patting Peter, he shuffled up Degraves street saying “My name is Lazslo, i live in Fitzroy but sometimes I go for a walk”.
It made my existential crisis of the Postgraduate student kind look stupid and quite pathetic.. I paid for his tea and my coffee, stubbed out my cigarette and thought, the world needs to be a tiny bit more like an old Hungarian man who left the gate open for his dog.