Sunday, August 26, 2007

Insufferable suburbanites and self-loathing

My dog, Lacey, will be 15 in September. It's hard to think about that number, as it relates to dog years, because I'm not very good at math, and I know it's means there are more years behind us, than in front of us. But nothing in life is given, not even the bad stuff.

We've had a lot of visitors this summer, some of them were children, and Lacey's always been skeptical of children. They stress her out. And back in July, while some kids were here, Lacey stopped eating. She began to eat upon their departure, but has been having trouble keeping the food down. She'll be seeing the vet this week, and I'm trying so very hard to be strong: she's an old girl, there might not be anything that can be done for her. We've been feeding her small cans of wet food in the last two weeks, but it smells so bad. I live with a man who plays recreational hockey a couple of nights a week, so I have a very high tolerance for unbearable smells. Until Lacey started eating Mighty Dog, Glen's hockey bag was the worst thing I ever smelled in my life; now, it's my dog's mouth. I love my dog, and not my husband's hockey bag, so in order to get close to her again, I needed to figure out how to stop the smell. So, I started reading about what foods are more tolerable to aging viscera.

I visited my sister in Monmouth County on Friday, and on the way home, stopped at the Mega Pet Mart to get Lacey some geriatric chow, and some breath treats, in case the geriatric chow doesn't improve her ungodly halitosis. While in the store, I saw a small, well-dressed skinny guy pushing around a bichon frise in what looked to be a baby carriage. I saw a woman and her daughters pick out a rabbit costume for their spaniel, presumably for Halloween, though I didn't see how that made any sense at all. And while I was reading the ingredients on the back of a can of senior dog food, I watched a woman dial a number on her cell phone, and with perfectly-manicured nails, tap the shelf in front of her, while she waited (not so patiently) for the person on the other end to pick up.

"Hi," she said, in that way that meant she was really asking, "What took you so damn long to pick up the phone?"
"I'm at the pet store, and wanted to know if Mitzy liked the simmered or the roasted stuff better...no, no, no, she does NOT like the GRILLED, it's definitely either simmered or roasted. S I M M E R E D or R O A S T E D. Come ON, Daniel, you feed her every night...Okay, okay, if you can't remember, look on the shelf. I think there's one can left...[sigh] ON THE SHELF. LOOK ON THE SHELF. Is it SIMMERED or ROASTED?...Roasted? Really? I thought it was simmered. Okay. Bye." Click.

And she casually tossed a 12-pack of dog food into her buggy. I thought, "Get me back to the hood." People in the hood piss me off too -- right now, one of my neighbors is riding around and around and around the block on a motorized scooter, and the voices in my head are chanting, "fall, fall, fall," but please don't judge: I haven't had my coffee yet, and at least I didn't SAY those words out loud. I can at least see how riding around the block on a motorized scooter might be fun; how can Mitzy's owner EVER have any fun, with her perfect nails, and her perfect roasted dog food? And what about poor Mitzy? Maybe she likes her food, but can she like anything else about her life?

The episode in the pet store in contrast to the kid riding around on his scooter left me wondering about my own insufferability (or is it insufferableness? Can that word even become a noun?). I spent an hour in that store picking up very specific items for my dog, carefully reading the labels, but in the end, I did it without calling anyone on my phone, or having perfectly manicured fingernails. And I remembered to get a container of catnip for the little monsters, too. But does that make me any better than anyone else? I doubt it, especially since I hated nearly everyone in the pet store, mostly, because it seemed to me, that their priorities are totally out of wack: costumes and baby carriages and ROASTED food for their dogs...my dog has never had any of those things, but it doesn't mean I don't love her. And when I got home, I took a deep sigh of relief, but just a short time later, I wound up hating the kids riding around on illegal bikes, and hating the city officials for not doing enough to make this place run even a tiny bit better, and hating myself for being such a damn hater.

It's time yet again to release the dove of hate. That should fix things for a few days. And a bit of coffee might help level me out for now, too. I hope!

If you just can't get enough of insufferable people, check out Trenton's very own Mr. Clean's experience, too.

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