On Gratitude for a Boring Life
One weird Monday reminded me that a boring life might be the best life.
On Monday, my dog Fish jumped out a second story window. We were hanging out in the studio above my mother’s garage, and apparently he saw a bird that needed murdering, so off he went. Technically, he jumped over a wall and through a Spanish-style arch on the patio outside the studio, but the important part is that we were two stories high.
I watched it happen, in excruciating slo-mo. Then I screamed, “like your legs were broken,” my friend Raleigh said. She was mercifully inside the studio at the time, going through my mother’s old newspaper clippings.
After my eyes sent the horrifying message to my brain, which seemed to take longer than it should have, I ran down the stairs, apparently still screaming although I don’t remember that part. I do remember wondering how I was going to carry a dead, or at least very broken dog to my car. There were other thoughts: how embarrassing it would be to explain that I let my dog commit suicide, and how much I actually loved Fish — even though he had recently gotten himself permanently kicked out of daycare — and was a huge pain in my ass. I still complained to friends that he was not my “heart dog.” He was in third place on that list, at best.
But in that crystallized, terrifying moment, I realized I loved this little weirdo more than anything, even though he hates men, and tries to kill all of them. Even though walking him is like walking a squirrel on meth. Even though he’s fucking stupid.
Suddenly I was standing on the ground below, on the ignored, dry crab grass of my mother’s backyard. And then, because nothing makes any sense anymore, Fish ran — or I should say bounced — toward me from behind the garage, where he had landed on hard packed dirt. He was not dead, or broken, bleeding, or even limping. He was ready to play.
Because he is fucking stupid, he couldn’t understand why I was hysterically laughing and sobbing at the same time. This was too much for him, so he used one his new signature moves: jumping on me and knocking me over. Then he sniffed my fake eyelashes, harrumphed, and trotted off.