a required taste for the pretentious as all get out





this entry is not about a pregnancy scare
January 06, 2005, 3:38 pm

This entry is not about a pregnancy scare.

Pets were always forbidden in our house. My parents decided they had quite enough to deal with raising three girls, and dogs and cats were another hassle they couldn't afford. My sisters and I took to trapping turtles with cardboard boxes when they wandered into our backyard; I would always name them "Sheldon" because I thought it clever. Inevitably, they would escape, leaving an overturned heap of lettuce and droppings, thus getting us in trouble (again) for ruining one of dad's VCR boxes. Any creature that ran through our backyard in the spring would get a name: bunnies, stray cats, a frog or two. We wouldn't hesitate to coax them into our hands or catch bugs in a bottle.

We've had a few random fish over the years, until no one wants to clean the aquarium or the stupid goldfish won from the carnival three years prior finally decides to kick the bucket. One summer my sister found a parakeet on the side of the road; he lasted a few months in the house and then spent his remaining days keeping my grandmother company. I had two hamsters that staged a production of _Titus Andronicus_ in their cage when I was in grad school; you would think having gotten a Master's degree I would know to never put two hamsters together without expecting a blood bath. I have always loved other people's pets; I have always enjoyed spending time at houses covered in fur and furry friends. I have always enjoyed giving a tummy rub to a panting dog or scratching a car behind its ear.

But I know it is temporary; I never really want to be responsible for any of them.

I've always thought that when I (finally) move out of my parents' house, I'll get a little dog. A tiny dog. A yippy dog and name it something ridiculously pretentious like "Truman" or "Reginald" or "Fleance." Maybe I'd buy it a satin leash or a diamond collar or a Burberry sweater and let it eat only the rich people's dog food. The cost of these measures is never a concern as I know it's a throw away dream; a way to make my life different in a way it has never been before.

I am not ready for that sacrifice, and I am not ready to provide for another thing. To be responsible enough to be in a condition to drive home from the bar to feed the damn dog on time is not where I want to be at this juncture; I am simply too selfish.

Thumper, on the other hand, has two dogs. Terriers. Jack and Jill. ADORABLE. They love me. They pounce, they lick, they pant, they get excited, and they whimper at the door when I leave. He takes care of them and cleans up their puke and cleans their ears--the yucky stuff that I suppose a parent should do to keep his kids happy and healthy. He is settled. He is lovely.

Last night I watched the clock flip over until it was almost time for me to get up for school and I couldn't help but notice that it wasn't because I was restless or upset, but because I was enjoying feeling awake too much to want to go to sleep. I like ruffling my toes through Jack's fur and listening to Thumper snore. I feel too settled to feel too bad; I am on constant alert to not read too much into things, but the book is finished, and there's no sequel just yet. I want more.

It came yesterday on the dot, and this morning it had disappeared. It has been gone all day and may not come back, and I have to wonder: am I ready?

My answer is: I was told there would be no math on this exam. Or dog hair.

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