Too close for comfort

Image

 

Let’s face it: I’m the last person you’d expect to find in a city. I walk around the streets wearing a torn up shirt from the 8th grade (I’m in my 20s now), a pair of three-time hand-me-down German camo pants and a baseball cap. I don’t even bother trying to hide it. What point is there? When I put the dog on a leash there’s this part of me that shuts down. I don’t have to think anymore, not really, I just have to focus on this one thing. I found a hidden ravine that was several miles in length and connected to some nearby parks. 

The few people I saw were rude and standoffish, the sort that grimace at you when you walk by. So I grinned in return. It’s only been two days and I am already stir-crazy. Being locked up in a house in suburbia with three hunting dogs with a backyard the size of my living room  isn’t all that pleasant. They’re all too cramped, leaping over one another and fighting for space on the couch. If I sit in the chair they all end up trying to clamber into it with me. 

Surprisingly, I had more trouble with one of the people here than the dogs. The dogs go away if you tell them to; people don’t take a hint. Today was different however, and trouble decided to change her tune for some reason, so it was better. 

I walked and walked. The more I walked, the more overgrown it became, and the better I started to feel. It was a very literal release. I hadn’t realized how badly I needed it until the poison was truly purged. It was the good sort of physical hurt that brings with it a sense of relief. The worst is over, it says. I felt clean and like myself again. I can’t live in this sort of place where I look out the bathroom window straight into someone else’s house that’s only 10 feet away. I need space and trees and animals and shitty, potholed dirt roads and AWD cars and redneck trucks and rivers and lakes. 

I did go to a river here, and caught some fish. We took a boat to a deserted runoff and sat for a few hours, lazily fishing in the hot sun. I forget how pale I am until I am out in the sun. Even with a hat, my whole face has taken on a reddish hue. My dog with his thin fur and pink skin isn’t much better off. Apparently I’m supposed to put sunscreen on him, someone told me. You put sunscreen on dogs? Truly? Where was I when this became a thing? 

 

Image

 

I’m paler than a vampire’s ass and I don’t even wear the shit. But if my face is anything to go by, I’m going to have to start again. My own breath is slightly painful because of its warmth. Pathetic. I’m also terribly allergic to dogs (I just typed ‘gods’ twice, oh, the irony!) so I’m more or less a full-time mouth-breather with sniffles, because somehow your nose can be stuffed and runny at the same time. 

I’m just glad I found a little haven. I have a monster’s retreat now, and suddenly everything is much brighter and easier to handle. It’s okay if my dog shits on their carpet and destroyed on of their rugs; I can walk out the door at anytime I don’t want to deal with people and go where it is familiar and comforting. Because yes, there indeed is comfort to be found in shaded little hideaways down by the river that hide you from the prying eyes of the city. I may still hear the cars and the screaming human beings, but I am far away enough that I am not to be touched by them. Some things are sacred and will never be ruined for me. 

Advertisements

The Guilty

I realize that I’m not conventional. People say that, psychology scoffs at the notion, yet it is the truth. I spend the majority of my life buried under layers of cracked facade. There are very few places and people that can bring my comfort level to a point where I don’t feel like it’s necessary to complete paint over my true nature. After all, this is the sort of world where much of the time, how you dress is more crucial to getting a job then what you really know. Posturing, all of it. Dress the part, act the part, be the part. Simple as that. In the end though, for someone like me, there’s nothing fulfilling or meaningful to all of that.

I’m beyond that stage, at least for now. I get to sit here as long as I please, with my hair matted and unbrushed for three days, wearing the same torn, baggy clothes, with fingernails so long they get stuck in the keys of my keyboard. I should be sickened by how unkempt I am, but I find it all strangely liberating. I paint for hours, then I dawdle, lose myself in a dream.

I’ve been watching a lot of television, which isn’t the usual for me. I want sound, mostly, so if it isn’t some travel show, then it’s music. If not that, then I listen to the filter on my fish tanks. Which I have two of, by the way. They’re massive, and quickly becoming an obsession. I’ve spent so much money on them that it is a bit unsettling. I have two little eels that like to bury themselves in the gravel, and little ghost shrimp that swim aimlessly through the bubbles. I have snails and cichilds, and ghost knifes and plecos and angel fish. They’re my own little biospheres, little underwater, alien planets. Fuck up one thing, and everything dies. I learned that the hard way. Some of the fish are so sensitive, that the slightest miscalculation will make them ill. I spend hours cleaning the rocks and tending to the plants.

God, the plants! I can’t stop buying them. And the bulbs. I’ve been growing them nonstop. I trim and rearrange and move things around tanks constantly. The whole thing is growing ridiculous, but I suppose all I have is time, and I enjoy it, which I suppose is what counts.

In the end, I find it rather pathetic that the only creatures I can come to care for on such an extensive basis are the ones that can offer me very little as far as psychological connection. I love to watch them, but they certainly aren’t a dog or cat. They won’t love me, or sleep in my bed with me. They appreciate being fed, and some seem to even recognize me when I come to the tank, but that is all I get. Somehow I don’t mind. Sometimes I wonder if this is how god feels: satisfied but detached all the same.

Strangers.

I got up earlier than I needed to. I’ve been sick since yesterday, but I did a full day at work anyway. It’s funny that I finally get more hours like I wanted when I least want them. We got a new dog, or rather, I did, and I am at work all day and haven’t been around him as much as I should be.

He’s not quite right, this dog. He’s disturbingly smart, and learns things from simply watching us. He was supposedly a stray, but he knows all sorts of commands, and every time I tell him to do something he seems to know what I want. He follows me and stands nearby, just watching, always watching. He hasn’t gone to the bathroom in the house once. He lays on the floor pretending to sleep, but I see his ears twitch when I walk around the room, pacing. occasionally one of his animal eyes opens just a sliver.

I’ve had him three days, and for various reasons have already deeply considered returning him to the humane society even though he has been a more or less model dog. He doesn’t bark, he doesn’t bother. He’s obedient and intelligent. He sleeps through the night and scratches at the door when he needs to go out. He’s even loving and gets extremely excited when I come home.

He’s thought about biting me twice (the same occasion) and growled at me once. I’ve learned to leave him alone when he’s tired because he gets irritated. I know it was mostly my fault all of those time, but he’s a 125 pound dog with a massive head and a set of teeth to match. He may act placid, but he’s got a mind of his own and if I do something he doesn’t like he could seriously injure me. And it’s not even me I’m concerned about, it’s my pets. 

The vet already said he is possibly a wolf hybrid. Wolf hybrids are legal in this state (I’ve even seen ads for them in local newspapers), though there are certain regulations regarding their vaccinations and what is to be done to them if they attack something. I didn’t enter into this with that on my mind; I assumed he was just a Malamute and there wasn’t much to be worried about. But all the things the vet told me are beginning to bother me. At first, when he told me, I completely denied it in my mind. I figured he was just a little odd looking. But now I see the way his tail hangs limply to his legs instead of curled over his back, how his eyes are set a little too close together, how the pattern on his coat is a little irregular, how his skeletal structure is kind of wrong, with his withers and shoulders nearly even instead of sloped. He could just be a ‘pet standard’ and be a little wonky in build from bad breeding. Or he might have another breed of dog in a little more distant heritage that altered his structure a bit. Even if he did have wolf in him, I would be willing to bet that it was a couple of generations back.

His behavior is not wolfish. He’s not shy or aggressive. He doesn’t hide. At the same time, even the vet commented how odd he was, how he didn’t act at all like any of the Malamutes he’s dealt with. He even tolerates my mother’s four pound chihuahua and appears to be friendly toward cats. Again, not very Malamute of him or very wolf. 

Yesterday, however, I almost took him back. I am that convinced. Even if he isn’t and he is just a dog, I’m worried that his just acting how I want him to act, and that sooner or later he is going to do something I never saw coming. He’s got something sinister about him that I don’t quite like, and I’m not sure if the vet visit just made me paranoid or it was the other day when he grabbed my hand with his mouth. Twice. He didn’t even bite me, and his touch was so light that he didn’t even get saliva on my hand. But it was a clear warning of ‘don’t touch me’ and I didn’t like it. 

The reason I didn’t return him is because he is an animal. I respect animals. I respect them above all else. He is not here to do everything I tell him, and he is not here to be a predictable, sweet yellow lab. I can’t expect him to be perfect, or to not get agitated about certain things. And I know that if I do something he believes to be threatening…I have no doubt in my mind now that he may hurt me intentionally. But I know that if he did something to even suggest that he was going to hurt me or one of my other animals, I would not hesitate to shoot him. That’s how it works. We’re on the same page in that respect, and I think that’s something we can work on. He appears to have similar concerns about me, though we play it like we’re already friends.

He gets skittish when I move too quickly. I saw the look in his eyes when I picked something off of the table a little too fast, the way he stiffened and his ears went back, like he assumed I might hit him with it. I’m cautious when I bend down to pet him, even though at times he will rub against me and sigh, wagging his giant tail. When I get home, he leans his whole body against my legs so I’ll pet him. I really don’t have all that much reason to be suspicious of him. He acts like any dog would act. I don’t know, maybe I’ve just been too long without a dog to know anymore.

       

The heartless are always cold.

There’s something about being trapped inside a house that is both damaging on the brain yet at the same time, something that builds character. There’s a lot of snow. Enough that I won’t be leaving the house anytime soon. Normally, I’m one to absolutely content being indoors, but like all animals, I like to ‘prowl’ so to speak. Wander out into the woods with the option of never returning. The one thing about bad weather is that it also prevents other people from leaving the house, namely the people you live with.

I had one of those incredibly lonely days yesterday, the kind where I feel so hopeless and alone that it actually penetrates my numb barrier and physically hurts. I love being alone; I live for it. But every once in awhile I have one or two of those ‘days’, the irritating, human kind. It makes the monster in me snarl, and it causes me to crawl even further back into this black hole of nothingness. Those are always the worst days, because it makes me vulnerable, suddenly. The smallest criticism and I am on the verge of cracking, because what little confidence I had goes flying out the door without a backward glance, leaving me to fend off attacks with absoultely nothing. Needless to say, that is when it cuts the deepest.

My one companion my damn cat, he might be sick. He’s lost a few pounds (which I know is a hell of a lot for a cat), and is literally starting to get skinny, which is quite an accomplishment. I keep getting paranoid and hoping it isn’t a tumor or something. But he’s old too, (about 10), so maybe he is just slowing down a bit. He has been a lot pickier about food, so I’m thinking too that he might have lost some weight because he wasn’t eating what I was giving him (it’s hard to tell; other cat gobbles up the rest). I changed the food, and now he’s meowing and complaining less. I’m not going to jump to too many conclusions; I will just wait it out and see.

My mom is on memory medication. Her short term memory has declined lately, worse than it was before. She’s forgetting things one minute to the next, and I’m having to constantly remind her of things. Even when I do, she often still forgets. It could be from her head injury from before, or it could be something else (her grandmother had Alzheimer’s). They don’t know, and we can afford to go and have her checked out anyway. And the pills aren’t working so far, which is disappointing.

I’m very cold about it all, to the point that I’m sickened with myself. I should feel bad for her, but I don’t…I just feel…nothing. I want to be there to help, because she gets frustrated a lot with all of her problems (her hands don’t function well, and she often gets quite mad about it, along with many other side effects of her injury). But when the time comes, I stand there for a second then just walk away, like a wall of ice. I freeze up in a mental sense, feeling irritated with her for being irritated. Sometimes I even get mad, and just say something insensitive, without remorse (something along the lines of ‘so? get used to it’, or ‘don’t get angry’). I don’t even feel it now, thinking about it, though I know I should.

I’m cutting myself off, more and more. Half the time, I don’t even know it is happening. My parents want to go visit my godparents around Christmas to see them and everything, yet all I can think is ‘can I stay home?’. My godparents are pretty good with me; I know they care. But for me, I just can’t extend the feelings required. It’s so fucking difficult that I can’t explain it. It’s there for my parents because I’ve been with them so long (and that, as you can tell from this entry, is limited in and of itself), but with everyone else I can’t feel shit. I can’t even care. I know that sounds impossible, but honestly, it’s almost like trying not to be mad at someone who royally fucked you over and made it blatantly clear that they don’t care that they did it. It’s just too damn strong to fight much against. There is just numb, and it doesn’t want to be shifted, so I can’t shift it.

I’m cold on the inside, apparently.

Satan’s dog is…a border collie???

Today seemed to be dog day; I ran into dogs EVERYWHERE.

So there’s this dog…. I think it’s a he, though I have no proof, as his coat is too long for me to make any…certain conclusion. For the sake of easiness and less confusion, I’m just going to call it a “he”. Anyway, like the title says, he’s a border collie. A strange border collie. I’ve met a few border collies here and there, and have found them to be some of the most obnoxious and irritating dogs, likely because all the one’s I’ve known have been owned by people who didn’t seem to understand that this specific breed of dog needs A LOT of exercise, or else you’ll end up with a psychotic, chewing, excitable mess. It’s a working dog, not a couch potato.

He pretty much stays locked up in a pen all day. It’s basically a chain-link fence with some weeds and a small dog house. But this dog…he never barks. I walk by and his head just follows me, but he doesn’t get up and he doesn’t show any sort of concern. Weird, considering dogs generally don’t like me and come after me if I so much as glance in their direction (gee…I wonder why?). But he never does anything, he just watches. I’ve tried in vain a couple of times to get him annoyed, and have only succeeded once in getting him to bark rather boredly, then lay back down.

For a long time I just thought he was non-confrontational or something, or that he just wasn’t interested in people. Today…kinda changed that. I had to sit back and ask myself, “is this dog human?” We’ll get into that later…. The point is, I’ve always thought he was a bit…off, which is probably why I’ve always had an interest in him when I have a tendency to indescriminately hate all dogs. Cat in a past life, maybe? Well whatever it is, this dog is…different. He stares like a person does, like he’s thinking about something, sizing you up maybe…. Quite frankly, the way he looks at people is just fucking weird…. Not dog-like in the least.

Today I get back from my walk late, and just had a bit of a scare when I saw a car nearly run over a black cat (my cat can’t get run over; he’s indoors, but I still have a soft spot for all the black kitties out there…), when I’m making my way toward the house that that dog lives at. I have my sunglasses on still even though it’s dark, so it’s hard to make things out well from a distance when the world around is shutting down into night. But I definitely see something.

The collie comes up to the fence when he sees me (odd behavior right there for this particular dog), and I can see he has something in his mouth, though I can’t tell what. I walk a bit closer, trying to see what the hell it is, because I could have sworn it wiggled. I had originally thought it was a dog toy, but most of those don’t move like a living thing. He drops it when he gets closer to me, and I approach the fence. I still can’t tell what it is; it looks like a little furry blob of something (I’m still thinking dog toy), then it moves. His paw goes out and steps on something, I realize, a tail.

The squirrel is trying desperately to get away, but the collie has it pinned with one foot and is just looking at me with the strangest blank expression. Normally I have no pitty for squirrels; I hate the little fuckers and use them for target practice when they piss me off. Not just that, but I enjoy watching other animals hunt, I think it’s fascinating. But for some reason this squirrel strikes me as an underdog, and I have a thing for underdogs, perhaps because I’ve always been one, the weaker, unlikely thing that claws its way along in life. It’s really struggling to get away, even though from what I can see it’s totally mangled. I say to the dog, “Hey!”. He sidesteps, still watching me with his odd non-dog expression, and the squirrel is freed. It limps pathetically away, and I can see that its tail is bent like a piece of wire, completely snapped. The border collie looks at the squirrel then back at me. He whines that funny whine, its a mix between playful and annoyed. The squirrel isn’t getting very far; he’s done for as far as I see it, though I give him brownie points for trying so hard. And the collie makes that weird noise again, watching me, and turning his head as though to ask me if he can just get down to business and eat the squirrel I’d so rudely told him he couldn’t have.

I walk away from the fence and decide to just let him have his fun. I’m fairly sure the squirrel was in the pen still, because he sure wasn’t moving fast. That dog is probably gnawing him all to hell now…haha. Now that I think of it, I probably shouldn’t have interrupted him at all. Chances are he must have caught that squirrel…and I say if you can catch it, you can have it…. Squirrels are quick as hell, you have to be fucking good to be able to get one of those. Either way though, there is something not quite normal or right about that dog…. If he was a dog at a shelter, I’d take him home for sure, and that’s saying something coming from a cat-loving-dog-hater.

The annoying dog.

I’m pretty fed up with him. It’s getting to the point where I hate the fact that he’s still breathing. I’m a bit strange about animals, and though I said I wanted to be a vet when I was a child, I know now although I care for animals, there are some—just like certain people—that the world would be a better place…without.

Dogs are a species that I can barely tolerate. Animal racism if you will. The sniffing of asses, crotches, shit, and every other imaginable thing—not for me. My cat may use his tongue for toilet paper, but at least he doesn’t try to share his siliva with my mouth. I think that’s what I hate most about dogs, the accursed licking. My cat licks me, sure, his little attempt to groom me, but he refrains from licking my face unless he is trying to seek revenge by licking and then biting my chin for some minor indesgression (such as giving him too tight a hug). That I can handle, but Malcolm, the dog, goes STRAIGHT for the mouth. This is after he was just outside, his nose all over the nice present some random dog left in the yard, or after he finished grooming his undercarriage for five minutes. No thanks. No really, no thanks.

Mal

I don’t care if he’s cute, I don’t care if he has big eyes and a misproportioned head…cuteness does not buy my affection. Actually, pretty much nothing but evilness does, but that’s beside the point. The fact that everyone LOVES him on sight is…well…disgusting. It’s like how people treat other people: according to their looks. Just because it’s cute doesn’t mean that it is sweet or loving.

What problems do I have? The fact that he’s stupid. I honestly am beginning to question whether or not he even knows what his name is. I won’t judge an animal for being a little dim-witted, there’s nothing wrong with that, but this dog…. I say Malcolm ten times and he continues to lay on the floor. The only way he’ll come to me is if I’m near the door. What’s strange about this is that he is like a shadow, won’t leave your side for hardly anything, yet he doesn’t come when you call him…hmmm…. He’s not deaf either, he can hear just fine. My cat comes running to me if I call him any assortment of nicknames (i.e. Fatboy, Fatso, Say-Say, Kitty, Cat, Bastard), yet that damn dog won’t come for “Mal” or “Malcolm”. I just don’t get it. Salem (the cat) even knows what “stop stalking the dog” means. And then the other thing. Potty trained? No, more like “mills around outside”. The mosquitoes are terrible, yet Dad takes the dog out every night, sometimes with NO result. He won’t even pee sometimes. And the other day after we took him out, he got flustered by the ferret (who by the way, officially refuses to take shit from the dog anymore) and pissed on the floor. He’s a wuss. Can’t take anything. I’m used to the excessively mean, don’t-take-shit-from-anybody chihuahuas I had when I was young. They didn’t like, you they bit.

The lino in the bathroom is slowly being destroyed as well. He rips it up again and again in a bid for freedom. He stays in there until I get up to let him out, he has food, water, toys, and bedding, yet does nothing but sit by the door digging at the lino and WHINING. He doesn’t eat until AFTER I let him out. The tape we keep applying to the doorway to keep the lino down he tears up into tiny pieces, even after we attempted to foil him by coating it with hot sauce (yes we really did, because we got sick of fixing it, and it getting worse and worse). Then when I DO let him out, all he does is sit on the rug by the door for hours on end. How exactly that is different from being in the bathroom is beyond me.

He’s not that bad of a dog (believe me, we’ve had some terrors…I don’t even want to think about it…), but I am already sick to death of taking care of him. He’s useless, dumb, and too clingly. He climbs all over me like I’m a moutain, and has to be in contact with your body if you’re sitting on the couch or lying down. I get that I’m supposed to like that he likes people, but I don’t. I’m an incredibly unaffectionate person…I don’t like being touched or hugged or kissed by any animals (human beings included). My wonderful hangups…but anyway, it’s like my mom in dog form (probably why he’s HER dog). I payed for him. Bought him for her because I knew she was lonely. I’m not exactly pleasant company all of the time, I know, so I figured the dog would help, but all of the problems he causes, especially with the cat (he tried to bully the cat in his first weeks here, and now Salem HATES him, and attacks on sight) make me regret my choice sometimes.

Yes, I realize that I whine and bitch about stupid things. And I don’t have problems and blah blah blah, but I have to vent it, or else it will just keep irritating me to an extreme. I have no respect for tiny little dogs who think they’re rottweilers, yet won’t even stand up to a cat. I guess that’s what I hate about him; he reflects weakness. And I despise weakness. He’s like all of those people I hate: submissive and codependent. It’s highly unfortunate that I’m stuck as sole caretaker for the next few weeks, if not month. *grumble*