Tag Archives: Leaving

Where’s my buddy?

We’re going away on vacation tomorrow, and so we had to drop the dog off at the boarder earlier this afternoon. Generally I think of my dog as a pretty dumb animal, like when I call him he rarely comes over, and I’ve never been able to get him to master any sorts of tricks besides “sit” and “give me your paw.” But he’s somehow developed this doggy superpower, that whenever we’re about to actually leave the house to go anywhere, he knows it. Before we ever even have a chance to make a move like we’re going to get our stuff ready to leave, he’s going crazy.

At first I attributed it to association. Whenever we go away, we inevitably bring our suitcases and bags downstairs. And so I thought, all right, maybe he just associates the bags with leaving, with getting in the car, and he gets all excited. But it’s got to be something more nuanced. Because a few days ago I went in the basement to look for our suitcases. And there was no reaction. He knew we weren’t leaving yet, and so he was just lying there on the couch, oblivious to the world and his surroundings.

But last weekend we brought the dog with us to visit my parents. After the initial surge of energy and excitement that always comes along with seeing a bunch of new faces, he quickly died down and commandeered both doggy-beds my parents have in the kitchen for their golden retrievers.

He’s pretty mellow. He doesn’t beg for food and, aside from occasionally shifting positions, he’s content to just hang out and watch everybody. But then at some point toward the end of the night, I looked at my wife, I made a motion to my watch as if to say, it’s kind of late, we should think about maybe making an exit soon.

And the dog knew. He got up and he started getting all antsy, gnawing at his leash, whining and crying. It was the same exact reaction when he knows that we’re going somewhere. And I’d barely said anything at all. Was he just sitting there watching us? Waiting for some sort of a subtle cue to get up and start acting crazy?

And then today, I dropped him off at the border. All I had to do was take out a Zip-lock back, as in, OK, I’m going to put some food in a bag for you so you can eat your own food for the next several days. And that was all it took. He started flipping out.

What’s really weird is, the boarder, definitely one of his favorite spots, a big space where all the dogs get to hang out in a pack, it shares the same building as one of his most hated places, the vet. And I’m telling you, he can tell where we’re going. I’ll park the car and take him toward that building and, even though there’s really no way that he should be able to divine which room inside is his destination, he does. If it’s time for a checkup or a vaccination, he’s pulling away, he’s struggling. But to the Dog House? Man, he can’t get inside fast enough.

Whenever I drop him off for a few days, there’s always a little surplus time where I have to live in this house without our dog. I can’t explain it, but it just feels dead in here. I went out to run an errand and when I came back, I instinctively called out, “Where’s my buddy?” even though before I had a chance to finish my sentence, my brain was like, oh yeah, he’s not here, I’m alone.

And I don’t get it. I don’t get how people live like that, without dogs to greet you when you come home, or to hide from you after they’ve gotten into the trash and made a huge mess strewing garbage all over the living room. Even though the space in between the two couches isn’t really a good hiding spot. And if you’re in there, I already know that something’s up. And so you can figure out when we’re going on a trip, but you can’t figure out how not to stay out of the trash?

That’s enough. I’m done.

That’s it, no more, I’m not going to work today. I’m going to wake up nice and early, take a shower, go downstairs, I’ll make my coffee like I always do, and while the coffee is brewing I’m going to take my dog Steve for a little walk, and then I’ll come back, drink my coffee, I’ll eat my breakfast, and then I’ll just sit there and wait.

And finally my phone’s going to ring, I’ll pick it up, “Hello?” “Rob, it’s your boss. Where are you? It’s eleven thirty. You’re fifteen minutes late. Lunch service is going to start soon. I want you in here now.” And I’m just going to say, “Sorry boss, but the answer is no.” Click.

And maybe he’ll try calling me back, I don’t know, maybe he won’t. I’ll still answer it. I’m not rude like that. Everybody’s always texting anyway, and so I’m always interested in hearing another person’s voice, even if it’s only my boss, calling just to make sure that he heard me correctly the first time. “That’s right boss,” I’ll confirm that he did hear me correctly, “I’m done.”

My wife’s going to get so pissed. “You just quit your job? What’s wrong with you? How are we going to pay any of the bills?” and I’ll just take it all in stride, enjoying my coffee, thinking about all of the free time I’m about to have, to really just sit back and enjoy, and I’ll tell this to my wife, I’ll say, “Honey, think about all of the time we’ll have now to spend with each other, you should do it too, just stop showing up for work and do the same thing.”

So she’ll calm down eventually and when she does, she’s going to definitely see it my way. Maybe her job won’t call her up for a few days. Maybe they’ll just say to themselves, “Huh, this isn’t like her at all. I’m sure she has a perfectly good explanation as to why she hasn’t shown up for work all week.” And she will. The explanation being, “My husband and I aren’t playing this game anymore. Done. Done-zo. No more work. Find somebody else to transfer line two to accounts payable. We’re done.”

And the bills might pile up, sure, and eventually the cell phone service is going to get cut off, and, yeah, it’ll take a while, but the city will eventually file all of that paperwork and that judge will order the marshals to forcibly evict us from our home and, whatever, that’ll take some time. Maybe something lucky will happen before we get the boot. Maybe we’ll open our arms to the universe and the universe will open its arms right back, that warm universal embrace you always see people posting about on Facebook.

Sure, we’d run out of food, eventually, but again, that wouldn’t be for a long while, because we have so many cans of tuna, so many packets of dried pasta and beans. One time I read about this lady who survived a whole winter trapped in some house only eating an apple a day. She went crazy and didn’t make it out alive, but I don’t think it was the hunger that did her in, that’s the point I was trying to make.

Actually, that’s a little morbid, maybe, we’ll run away before they kick us out, before the credit cards get cut off, we’ll find some commune somewhere, something a little culty but just slightly, nothing dangerous, none of that weird group ritual stuff like you see on TV, just something in the middle of nowhere where everybody farms and maybe gets together at night around a big communal campfire and they sing songs and pass around some old guitar that one of the older members brought from when he left his life back behind, and maybe there won’t be a B string, but we’ll make due, humming and singing along to stripped down bare-bones versions of all of our favorite nineties alt-rock hits.

And whoever winds up moving into our abandoned home, back here, back in our future-old life, or our current life, they’ll still get notices from all of the credit card companies and cell phone providers and cable companies all with variations of the same message, “Pay up.” And you know how bill collectors are. They try to collect a bill. They can or they can’t. If they can’t, they sell it to somebody else for a little less, somebody who might be a little better at collecting. The more times it gets sold, the better the collector, but also the more dangerous, the crazier, the ones really willing to take those extra risks to collect. And so these new tenants will get all sorts of threatening letters, knocks on the door in the middle of the night, “Pay up you deadbeats!” written on a note wrapped around a brick and left outside the front door, the message here being, next time maybe we’ll throw this through the window. Or maybe we won’t, but the next level of debt collectors that we’ll be forced to sell your debt to, they’re definitely going to throw it through your window, and maybe it’ll be on fire.

Enough of that harassment, enough bills, enough of this modern world, it’s all enough to make anybody want to skip town for a while, to get away, to go live on some commune somewhere, whatever, I’ll even take a crazy cult commune, even though I said I’d prefer something a little on the normal side, it’s not like these communes advertise on the Internet, and so if you’re looking for one, you just take it, because what are your chances that you’ll find another one any time soon, before your supply of tuna runs out, and those dried beans, you didn’t really think about eating them on the road, how hard it would be to find a stove, somewhere to boil them for a long enough time to where they’re tender, palatable, and so, yeah, you probably should have bought canned beans. But canned tuna, canned beans, do you know how demoralizing that can be, eating everything out of a can, every day, meal after meal, regardless of what’s inside, it always has a touch of that can taste, like something metal, like something that’s been in there for a long time.