Wednesday, June 2, 2010
Many Dogs I Hope Someday To Meet
Once abandoned, now loved, these mutts for the Mutt March, June 6, when I will be in Pittsburgh.
Marisa and I had lunch at Janet's today, but this is not true. We had breakfast at Janet's, or brunch at Janet's, but I said 'lunch' because Janet's is actually called 'Janet's Lunch.' Also, I am reluctant to call meals that occur before noon 'brunch,' because brunch seems like the kind of thing that happens when you wake up after noon and thus have to give up on all other meal titles because old people are already mad at you for sleeping while the sun is up. A lot of old people are mad at you.
And we saw the above, advertised on a poster, along with ESL lessons, custom dressmaking, and something else that may have involved boats. So I thought maybe there could also be a parade for people who had been jilted, but then had found love, along the same lines. Marisa didn't bother to criticize this. They could also have a mascot named Eddie.
But Eddie, this Eddie, he is the face of the Grosse Pointes. Because they are a dog town, or five dog towns making their increasingly meandering way along the coast of Lake St. Clair, which is probably a dog lake. (Once the Grosse Pointe News gets its archive business in order, I will provide you with a super-apt link to a letter to the editor from a doctor residing within our fair borders who claims that dogs are inherently superior to cats, because while a cat will simply eat you if you accidentally die in your house without feeding it to a degree adequate to the situation, a dog, realizing that its dead owner possesses some relationship to its live owner, will guard your body until other, live humans inevitably arrive. I can't remember whether or not she proposed restrictions on cat ownership, but I'm pretty sure she did, since this letter was in response to some article detailing legislation against public airing of dogs. I know she didn't comment on how a dog would treat a guest if one happened to die in your house and you didn't notice, but I wish she had. This is one reason why Grosse Pointe is a dog town, and so charming in its pointless hostility.)*
And really, me owning a dog exists in another universe, equally remote from the one where I could have written that kind of letter.* Dogs are adorable. I love to say hello to them. One of the most charming qualities of dogs in general is their readiness to say hello, while a cat must be manipulated for years for this to occur.* I may well own a dog someday if I have children who want one and I don't bother to fight them on it, because really, why? I'm sure children are so hard to deal with I wouldn't even notice, or something. And then, in this universe, I will be old, and not only will I have made a coherent series of life decisions and reached a hair-state that works well for me and does not necessitate constantly tricking myself into thinking I am working toward another, more exalted hair-state, I will also probably be the kind of person who gets up really early to accomplish things, and so I can have the special parent-bond with the dog whereby I feed the dog and walk it at times when other people don't want to be awake or don't want to walk a dog, because I assume I will have shiftless and lazy children, which is fine by me. So there's that. But I also assume my children will be unreservedly affectionate toward animals, so they can handle that part, while I am a sleeplessly vigilant mother, which is what I fear must happen. I fear.
And then, because originally when I was thinking about this I was walking on the Diag trying to remember to go do the thing I was going to do, which I forgot to do, which was pick up the newly most trustworthy translation of The Death of Ivan Ilyich* from the UGLi, and I saw a woman sitting on the ground with her legs stretched out in front of her, holding a camera, looking very serious. And I saw three young girls in baggy jean shorts and running shoes standing in front of her, on the rise of grass in front of the flagpole, right hands on their chests, singing 'The Star-Spangled Banner' in high and tuneful voices. Their mother made them start again, just as they made her start again with the camera. Neither group was satisfied. Here's another universe I can't really understand, although when I think about it, I would totally have done this as a child, because I liked doing things and having people know about them.* Then their father, maybe, walked up with a plastic bag full of food, and I could see inside there were four packages of everything inside. It could have also just been a man with a bag of well-organized food, yes.
Then I got closer to the UGLi and I saw a family, a mother father and daughter, all holding hands. Actually I heard them first, talking about how a couple they all knew acted awkward when they were together in public, and at the time I was thinking about how I could finally think about every portion of my life I remotely cared about in some sort of objective way since I don't even care to think of this month as anything but formless. I was kind of dismayed at them, being happy, recognizing the unhappiness of others, or wrongly identifying something different, and maybe better or just more private, as unhappiness. Here's a universe I really could never understand.
Anyway, I'm moving to Pittsburgh on Friday, which is terrifying because my duffel of choice is walled up in the attic, which is a phrase I am tired of using more than once in a conversation. My house has seven finches in it, and I was supposed to find places for five of them to live that are not this house, but so far I have not. As my mother has told probably every person she has talked to today excluding the waitress at the restaurant we went to this evening, I finally registered for my summer class today. I also learned how to say 'lightbulb' and 'sailboat,' and at one point this afternoon I could also say, "What sort of house is this?" in a convincingly colloquial manner. I'm going to forget everything I own.
*This will come up all the time in the conversation I plan on one day having with Jeffrey Eugenides.
*As you will soon see, charming reader, this universe is separated from the one I currently work through chiefly by time. Soon, I will had gone crazy.
*It's like when you walk into a room of people and begin frantically deducing what their specific requirements with regards to facial expression, habitual level of anxiety, academic, athletic, professional, artistic achievements or lack of any of the above, comfort with eye contact, propensity to tangential speech, amount of attention paid to clothing and personal grooming, and attitude toward the room that you are both occupying itself might be for a person they would be willing to put forth effort toward communicating with, and then you realize that they're down with whatever, and you just can't handle it. That's what it's like with dogs, and sometimes toddlers.
*Though I know it is at least correct-ish, I wish I could just write Ilich because it's awkward to decide what to do with the 'y' and I have a time enough as it is trying to figure out what to say when I'm saying something that people know I know about, and really when saying anything at all, so I wish that the transliteration community could just do this thing for me.
*I keep trying to figure out what it is I dislike about the internet while running into things I like, more and more, because I love having every bit of information ever available to me, minus a lot. It's like that the only mercy available to all humans is our inability to hold every aspect of our lives in mind at once, maybe, but then half broken-down. That's probably something like what it is. I know there is no leader- asterisk for this one, but it's like the hidden track on a CD at the end of the secretly long last track for people who refuse to stop listening, or forget, or figure it out.