Thursday, April 22, 2021

Dorri Olds & Busta Rhymes

Who is in the photo at right?

That’s me, Dorri Olds, holding my Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Busta Rhymes for our very first walk. He’s in a blue puppy carrier. You know, the same kind that humans tote their babies in. My first name for the little feller came from his gorgeous brown eyebrows. I named him Buster Brown. It was also a play on words. There was an old-time Buster Brown shoe company. The logo was a winking kid and a bug-eyed brown pet.

However, many New Yorkers have an accent. We drop the R’s. Since I heard myself always calling him Busta, and because he was such a soulful dude, I changed his name to Busta Rhymes — you know, like the rapper. Sometimes I call him Busta Move. Or just Busta or Bustaboy. I never knew I could love anyone as much as I loved my previous pup Buddy. At first, I felt like I was cheating on Buddy by loving Busta so much. But my friend said, Buddy loved you so much, he’d want you to be happy.

I’ve been freelancing out of my Chelsea home-office since 1994. I am a writer, author, graphic designer, internet strategist, and more. I do branding, marketing, book design. I was born on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. I’ve checked out a few parts of this country, and Europe, but Manhattan is where I fit. Before I go on about me, here’s an interesting thing about Cavalier King Charles Spaniels. There are four types: Blenheim, Black and Tan, Tricolor, and Ruby. These can all be born in the same litter. I love him so much I painted his precious face [image left].

As a 15-year-old runaway, I discovered a magical place: Greenwich Village. It was stuck in a time-warp and I’d always wanted to be a hippie but was born too late for that. I got caught, went back to school, then got accepted at Boston University. I had ants in my pants and I loved to dance. It was so hard to find the right school. After attending four colleges, I took a two-year leave of absence from Parsons School of Design. I knew I was going to be rockstar. Ha! My poor parents. I became a waitress. I nabbed a cool apartment on MacDougal Street. I went back to Parsons. I was in an indie documentary —I even have an IMDb page now! I lived on MacDougal Street for 17 years. I loved it but it wasn’t magical anymore—too cleaned up. The creatives and the fun gritty-city characters were replaced by NYU staff and students.

After graduating Parsons, I bought a 1-bedroom in Chelsea and paid off my mortgage in nine years. Back then, I worked as an Art Director for a litigations graphics firm. We made huge charts that illustrated evidence for the jurors. We did high-profile cases the press nicknamed. These included John Gotti's Windows Trial, The Central Park Jogger, and the Exxon Valdez horrific oil spill. I worked about 60 hours a week. In my time off, I had exhibits and sold 51 of my paintings. I also kept writing and got short stories and articles published.

What's the occasion for your Coffee with a Canine?

Busta Rhymes is a Black and Tan Cavalier, but just like the Blenheim Buddy, Busta follows me wherever I go. I hear Busta padding behind me whenever I beeline to the kitchen. He sits and stares—just like Buddy did—watching me first flick the on switch and then open the fridge to grab a carton of Silk's vanilla soy milk.

What's brewing?

As Bustello espresso drips into its waiting glass cup, I foam the milk. Oh, that smell! I think of Italian cafes in the Village.

When the cup is full, I sprinkle a cinnamon-chocolate mix of powders on top of the steamed milk in the mug. After pouring the espresso in, I’m intoxicated by the aroma filling the room, then I down three delicious gulps.

Any treats for you or Busta on this occasion?

After my wake-up ritual, I turn towards Busta and stare back at him. He stays seated, but his tail starts swishing back and forth on the kitchen tiles. I say, “Busta, are you hungry?” The tail goes nuts, thump-thump-thumping. Then he looks at me like I’m the best doggie mom in the world. He eats slowly, chewing each morsel. Buddy inhaled his food. I know it’s weird to compare them, but I can’t help it. Buddy was so alpha, he demanded the spotlight—like his mama. Busta is mellower. It’s funny though. Whenever I tried to get Buddy to fetch a toy, he looked at me like, “Pullease. Whaddya think? I’m not a dog.” But Busta loves fetch almost as much as food and walks. It’s a dumb, monotonous game. Busta’s euphoria comes when he chases the ball. Then, he races up the doggie steps onto the bed. He pushes the slobbery ball against my arm, until I throw it again. I lose interest in whatever I was watching on Netflix.

How were you and Busta united?

After Buddy’s death, I was spiraling down. You know that blues song, “Gloomy Sunday”? Billie Holiday’s aching wail tells the story of a woman on her way to her boyfriend’s funeral. The mournful lyrics got the song banned. “Would they be angry if I thought of joining you?” I was getting that despondent after Buddy died. I didn’t know how I’d ever be ok again. But, just as Buddy had been a gift from a loving friend, my Mother and a different dear friend, brought me my puppy and told me, now I had to get out of bed. They were so right!! You know us creative types—high highs and low lows. But Busta is such a snuggly lovebug. As was Buddy.

What is Busta's best quality?

He is so sweet.

If Busta could change one thing about you, what would it be?

He’d say, “Mom, can’t you stop working so much? We could be playing right now.”

If Busta could answer only one question in English, what would you ask him?

We have that covered: When I ask him “Busta, are you hungry?” his crazy thumping tail is the answer.

Or maybe the question should be this:
“Busta, can you please stop being a drama queen? Why can’t you understand that I have to finish this work before we can go see Uncle Terry for a playdate."

If Hollywood made a movie about your life in which Busta could speak, who should voice him?

What a great question! My favorite voices are manly men like Mads Mikkelsen, and lovable and distinct kooky voices like Christopher Walken, and booming voices like James Earl Jones. But none of those would fit for my Bustaboy’s voice. It would have to be soft-spoken, and sweet. Jack Nicholson is too edgy. Clint Eastwood and Tommy Lee Jones are too raspy and tough. Oh! I know who could do it!! John Legend. He can sound very sweet.

What advice would Busta give if asked?

He’d say, “Mom, why can’t you get it? Those humongous plastic garbage bags outside by the curb freak me out! Especially if it is windy. I need you to hear me. Please respect my boundaries. And another thing, I don’t like wheels. I don’t like your laundry cart, or people on skateboards, or those baby strollers, or bicycles. No, I don’t need prozac, Mom. I need you to listen to me."

Visit Dorri Olds's website, Instagram page, Twitter perch, YouTube channel, and Facebook page.

--Marshal Zeringue

1 comment:

  1. What a cutie! Dogs are the best cure for a broken heart.