It was less than 24 hours ago that I was sitting in a bar with D, telling her that I officially had nothing to blog about because I had a very close to non-existent love life. Okay, it is non-existent unless you count that guy I make out with sometimes who’s adorable but an absolute idiot. Think Jason Stackhouse (if you watch True Blood), and if you don’t (you suck) think Ken Doll. Anyway… I was fully prepared to take a break from blogging, I didn’t think my mom would miss reading my blathering that much anyway.
And then God felt bad for me (because I’m going to be a cat lady) and stuffed the hours following that conversation full of blogworthy awesomeness that I no doubt will wreck while trying to explain.
I hung out with members of a known biker gang last night. What did YOU do?
I don’t do drugs, or ride motorcycles, or have a history of self-destructive behavior (ish)… but I love A&E and all those shows about people who do any combination of those things. Last night, I got to recreate one of those shows with my new friends Creeper, Tombstone, Jeff and the other ones whose names I don’t remember. (Jeff got kind of screwed as far as the naming went). Tombstone looked like Santa- if Santa had a serious meth problem and an affinity for leather and Creeper was missing a prominent tooth…But it’s cool cuz he had shit tons of tattoos. ON HIS FACE. One of which being a tear drop that I may or may not have stared at the entire time I talked to him.
Because I was thinking what an awesome blog this would be (and because when I drink I don’t think about how ridiculous I am), I took a picture of Tombstone and Little Black on my phone. Then they made me delete it, and show them all the pictures on my phone to make sure I didn’t have any evidence of some of the scariest mother fuckers I’ve ever seen, let alone drank with. And since I have a sincere love of awkward, and a sincere love of people who are bat-shit crazy- last night those two loves met, and gave birth to some awesome conversations. Conversations actually may not be the best word, as a lot of it consisted of me badgering these old dudes about what the patches meant, why he had a tear drop, if he sold drugs, if he’d, “like, ever killed someone”, if they believed in God, what their *real* jobs were, and if they were ever on A&E. Most of the answers consisted of some shocking shit, but some of them were just a scary smile and a “You don’t wanna know, little girl.”
And then D pimped it up and gave her number out like it was on sale and I watched and drank and watched some more. Lesson of this whole thing: biker clubs (the term “biker gang” I’ve learned is actually not very politically correct nowadays) are not blackberry friendly, but aside from that, they’re really quite pleasant.
**Oh yeah, and one of my roommates may have given her number to the youngest one and now I think we’re gonna get stalked because it turns out he’s married and some other stuff so if I stop blogging, I either died or I actually did just run out of shit to say. Good luck figuring that out.**
The holidays always seem to ambush me… Some sort of unexpected gust of wind that takes me from the mundane life I have come to shape for myself. And as quickly as they come- they vacate, leaving me with the debris of wrapping paper, the sweet memories of family and good food and joking banter with my sweet but absolutely irritating younger brother. This year proved to be no exception. I sat on Christmas eve wondering where the eff Christmas spirit was hiding, why I had yet to embrace it when all of a sudden it was Christmas day and then, before I had time to register it, it was the day after Christmas. The holiday hangover.
My best friend’s dad is sick. From needing a transplant to life support to up and staring down hospice care…. it’s a frightening thing to deal with. This is D’s dad… the fellow blogger, fellow cynic, fellow over-analytic woman who is my soul mate who mentions me in her blog which may or may not qualify me as famous (www.youkitschme.wordpress.com). During one of the visits I made to his hospial bed, Baba Gut (a nickname he ordained himself with… which is, in all honesty, quite fitting), imparted words of wisdom on us. Words that made me cry, words that hit home, words that had impeccable timing, and words that I’ll let D explain if she ever decides to do that… because they aren’t mine to say.
But this was the first holiday season that was coupled with reality of growing up. Looking around the table on Christmas night, I realized that the people gathered around my heart each year will change. I will gather new souls to mine, while mourning the loss of others, and each year the numbers will more likely than not dwindle. Life is, like someone said in Esquire recently (don’t judge my less-than-profound reference, ass), a generally sad thing- with bright spots that are moments of happiness. So this year taught me another lesson I never asked for. (Isn’t that always the way? Lessons, flying like knives from the back, never the front where we can prepare and ready ourselves… becuase we would duck them and the wisdom that they painfully force upon us). What was the lesson?
Years ending in even numbers will always be worse than years ending in odd numbers.
I don’t care if I sound crazy- I say/write this with a very solemn face and brown eyes that remain unblinking. Crazy works for me, and I have long since shed that accompanying shame. Screw you.
That’s mostly a joke. Key word being mostly. But 2010 wasn’t my year… I’ve explained this as both an excuse, a scapegoat and a target repeatedly on this very screen. Normally, I obligingly write a yearly wrap-up sort of thing… As if my life is a non-profit that owes an explanation for how it spent its time to a board of old, mostly white directors. Only it’s not. And if there were a board of directors in my life, it would be the few people I’ve decided I’d give a flying fuck about… which don’t want to read any more of my whining. The lesson being, then, that I can’t keep perpetuating the same shit that I say makes me miserable. People hurt you. Life has moments that make you curse at innocent plants and then at yourself for being such a loon that you could possibly mutter evil words at inanimate objects. At the worst moment, you’ll stub your toe and traffic will suck. You should have known better and
if you didn’t- now you do. In sum: growing up sucks.
Which is why I am letting 2010 pass without a fight. I’ve sort of gone into hiding, reading the books I’ve long stared at but always said I never had the time for and actually going to the movies (while smuggling diet coke in my purse because fountain soda is fucking gross). During the remaining days of this year- I won’t put up a fight, I won’t argue my case and I won’t continue the bleating drone of how I was a victim of the economy, my family, life, and people I should have known better about. The only thing I was sincerely a victim of was myself. And maybe credit card people. They’re like vultures. All roads of blame trace back to me, and I finally have come to terms with this.
So. I won’t be writing about how much I hated 2010. Doesn’t mean I didn’t. But once upon a time, I had a conversation with an aunt who used to journal- used to jot down her memories and repeated the words of others and her own into notebooks stashed away in some anonymous box. When she was sick with cancer, I sat with her a few mornings and while sitting, wrote feverishly my own memories. I asked why she stopped writing. Her response burns me, years later: I like to think I stopped recording life and starting living my own.
Like Baba Gut, Aunt Betsy found wisdom in dark hours. I am still trying to find the balance between recording and living but swing violently from one end to the other in the mean time. And although I don’t know if I do a good job of putting the wisdom thrown at me to good use, I file it away. And like the other ones, those lessons will come to reveal themselves when I am a student deserving of learning whatever they have to teach.
Good Riddance, 2010. Kiss my ass. (okay. I’m a slow learner).
Lots to write about… this weekend in its entirety and the interesting lessons stemming from these past 72 hours, the awkward run-in dinner with my ex, the dog’s near-death experience, an update on Mr. Pretty, and of course- Yahoo! just predicted the date of extinction for Wild Tigers… Needless to say, I have a lot on my mind this evening.
But because of reasons known only to God and the Wild Tigers, I choose to write about the damned dog that I can’t stand.
Charlie is my roommate, M’s dog. M, it should be mentioned, is a lackluster dog mom. She’s home for maybe 5 hours of the week at best and ignores the animal more than I do. My roommate and I pick up the slack; we walk and feed Charlie when we get home and deal with him as necessary. So when I got home on Saturday night, I grudgingly did so.
Upon getting in the door, he was jumping up on my thighs and anxiously letting me know that he needed to be walked. I sat my bags on the couch and dug for a plastic bag that didn’t have holes in the bottom and secured him to his leash. We were a few feet from returning home when he managed to shake out of the leash and realized he was free. Shit.
I knew from experience that chasing him would be hell on my feet and largely unsuccesful. I also knew from experience that he would undoubtedly be a few houses down having a feeding frenzy in the neighbor’s cat bowl. It was a few minutes before I could coax him back home and regularly reminded him for the next ten minutes how unwanted he was and how much I hated his mom for being so absent a parent.
And then he started shaking. And then, I started worrying.
After a few minutes of his weird shaking, I convinced myself he was cold. Upstairs I found a huge beach towel and wrapped him up in it on the couch- which was unnerving because this dog has ADD and doesn’t sit still for anything. The apocolypse could hit and he’d still try to eat a hole through your favorite pair of heels. A few more minutes of shaking and I knew there was a problem. I hadn’t noticed the blue marks on his face until this moment and thought that I was in for quite a night.
On a whim I called my mom (it’s what I do), who said “eh…. just wait 30 minutes and call me if it doesn’t get any better… I’m sure he’s fine.” Unfortunately, ten minutes after hanging up the phone, Charlie’s shaking got noticeably worse and his tongue was out the side of his mouth. Bundled up in the towel and on my lap, I knew the dog wasn’t cold. I knew this was much, much worse than I was prepared to deal with.
And then his limbs stuck out like somebody had pulled some sort of cord that I couldn’t see and his eyes rolled back violently in his tiny head. Holy shit, I thought, I killed him. Kneeling down on the couch next to him, I did what I saw on Grey’s Anatomy: make sure he was able to drain the fluid from his mouth so he didn’t choke, in case he did live. Dating protocol I couldn’t manage, but learning how to cope with seizures (even in canines), I apparently had acquired.
While holding Charlie’s head off the side of the couch and coaxing him to stay alive, I saw my phone lighting up. Tears were streaming steadily down my cheeks while I explained to my mom that Charlie was dead, or near dead anyway. After figuring out the next steps, she agreed to contact M at work and explain what was going on, and hung up the phone leaving me with an almost dead, very rigid and frothing at the mouth dog. M called shortly after to say she would leave work as fast as she could and meet me at the following animal hospital… it was on me to find a way to get him there.
As soon as I rolled Charlie onto the floor he started seizing again. Even though I was certain there was no way he would live through yet another episode, his tiny heart was still beating when I placed my hand on his rib cage. Funnily enough, as much as I was present for all this, I was having incredibly significant conversations with myself on some other level. Of course I was physically consumed by keeping him alive and reminding him he just needed to “hold on.” But on some other level, it occured to me that I have never seen anything die. Yes, I had attended a funeral or four in my life. Those were hard enough… but I had never witnessed anything passing on, and I sure as hell wasn’t prepared for it then. Something switched on in that instance. I decided I wasn’t going to watch Charlie die, even if I couldn’t stand him and his mom owed me money for three months of bills.
I was running out of options at this point and knew I couldn’t carry him alone without triggering another seizure. It’s hard to guess how pathetic a sight I was when my neighboors answered their door, but they did. I had run accross the lawn to the only people who had seemed friendly in our apartment complex and the two co-eds came sprinting after me as I tearfully explained Charlie’s situation. One very gently helped me carry the rigid animal to my car and the other followed behind, closing doors and picking up cups and things we spilled along the way while we bulldozed our path toward the front door.
Alone again with Charlie while he panted and shook on the way to the animal hospital, I kept one hand firmly on his rib cage. As if I could keep him alive by forcing my life into his. I swerved down unfamiliar roads without lifting my fingers- half out of a need to ensure his heart was still beating and half in a way to remind him he wasn’t alone. He didn’t get to die because of me. I didn’t even like him, I sure as hell wouldn’t give him the option to blame me for his death.
And in the end, I got Charlie to the hospital in time. I ripped the door open in hopes of finding help to lift him from the car, and didn’t find it. Fine, I thought, I’ll figure this out. My keys dropped to the floor with my cell phone and I lifted a quickly fading puppy into my arms and ran back through the doors. The sense of relief I had when I was able to hand over a half-alive dog to the hands of a seemingly capable vet-tech at that instance is kind of inexplicable. I didn’t kill him. I kept him alive. He held on.
He’s just a dog, and I understand how insignificant it seems. But I had never seen anything die, let alone close to die. And struggling to keep something that I so sincerely disliked was an emotional rollercoaster for me… I knew that I had (as bad as it sounds) found a way out of the continual hassle that this dog was. But watching him struggle, and seeing his big brown eyes look at me like he had faith that I could get him through this didn’t leave me very many options. In fact, for the first time in a long time, I prayed. Through my tears and curse words and confusion, I managed a prayer to God that he just show me, guide me, make sure I didn’t do more damage to this poor puppy than he already had suffered.
And generally, I’m not a largely religious person. But, I believe miracles come in all sizes. This dog is a moron, and eats all kinds of otherwise inedible things. But, he lived through three seizures in my presence that evening and various other ills for reasons I don’t understand. Yeah, it’s just a dog… but it goes to show, sometimes life comes in dog-sized miracles.
PS. Charlie ate snail poison. I never said he was a smart dog. I’m glad he lived, and I’ll be trying to convince his mom to find a more suitable home as soon as I’m prepared to have that conversation.