Last week was terrible and I feel like I did something to deserve every second of it. Why did I have to admit to the world that I am sometimes totally overcome with the fear of death, why did I have to mention the fact that every now and then I think oh fuck the dog is dying! I couldn’t help but feel like I’d tempted fate and brought this all upon myself.
Dog, trotting along on his afternoon walk, suffered a petit mal seizure. I guess “suffered” isn’t the right word, because he didn’t know what was happening anyway, just looked like all thought (and spit) had left his head for a couple of minutes. That happens all the time when you’re a dog, so that’s no big deal either. But the fact that this was a thing that happened and could now be a thing that happens more often made me feel like I was in a tiny canoe with a hole in the bottom and a fragile teacup in my hand for bailing water.
The vet said not to worry, the billion dollar bloodwork came back fine, and counseled us to just watch the dog for seizure behavior, and let us know we might have to medicate him in the future. Otherwise, no big deal! That is, until The Pants left for his business trip on Monday morning, which is when Dog decided to kill himself.
It was a decision he arrived at slowly, between bouts of vomiting. It was as if the pain of his loss had wadded itself into a cork at the Out end of his stomach, causing his body to reject every bit of food he ate. I gave him fucking dog gourmet all week: chicken breasts and rice and pumpkin and ground beef, and he ate it happily, then sprayed every room in the house with partially digested chunks and retreated to his bed to sigh and whine in the dark. By Wednesday, he had made the decision to never drink water again. He dragged around the house and groaned, approaching every task (such as Standing Up, Lying Down, and Looking At Toys With Disinterest) as if it was Dog Everest, and he just didn’t have the constitution to make the climb. Go on without me, his eyes pleaded as he stared up at me. Just let me die here.
Remember the gorilla they taught how to do sign language? They taught it something like 1,000 words and gave it a kitten. It would say things like EAT SAD CRY FRUIT if it wanted a lemon, or GIVE KOKO LOVE BABY LOVE if it wanted to pet its kitten. I stood over the dog and wiped the booger tears from his eyes and thought about trying to teach him this stuff. I’d say NO DYING MAN COME BACK. I’d remind him DOG DRINK WATER NOT DIE. But soon I realized that while dogs can technically learn all of these words, they can’t grasp the meaning behind “in 4 days” or even the very simple fact that a person is still alive even when they aren’t in sight.
Is there anything worse than a person with depression and anxiety owning a dog with depression and anxiety? Maybe it is a good thing that I’ve got something besides my own worries to focus on when I’m alone. Maybe it’s a bad thing because all I did last week was cry and clean up dog barf by scraping chunks of it onto old magazines and dumping them into plastic bags and spraying the floor with Nature’s Miracle and sobbing as I sponged up the rest of the vomit. Either way, I stayed busy, I guess. Dog watched from the corners of the rooms and expelled heavy, heavy sighs.
Nighttime all week was a marathon of crying and barfing. At least once every hour, I was ripped from my sleep by frantic barking. SOMEONE AT DOOR! Dog seemed to be screaming. SOMEONE AT DOOR WE ALL GOING TO DIE!!! He would run back and forth between front and back doors and I’d have to drag him back to his bed and calm him down. By the time the hair on his back settled down and we both tucked back in to sleep, I’d have about ten minutes of rest before waking again, either to another emotional meltdown over nothing, or the unmistakable hurrrk hurrrrk sound of a dog about to paint the floor with his stomach contents. 1am, 2am, 3am, wake up, get dog, calm down, clean vomit, calm down, wake up, get dog, clean barf. Repeat. Wake up at 6, clean up more barf, go to work.
I left work early on Wednesday, intending to take Dog back to the vet. At this point, he needed an IV because his gums and nose were dry and his body was basically drinking itself for survival. I ran inside, grabbed his leash, and lead him to the garage. “We’re going for a ride!” I exclaimed, placing the emphasis on the word “ride” because he knows it means GETTING IN CAR LOOKING AT THINGS GOING TO A PLACE and those are all things he likes to do. “Going for a ride, going for a ride!” I kept saying as I jammed my key into the garage door lock. We had fifteen minutes to get to his appointment. I jiggled the key in the stiff lock, this fucking lock, always an asshole piece of shit lock stupid–SNAP.
I stood there staring in disbelief at the broken end of the key in my hand, and the rain started to fall. Dehydrated Seizure Dog took refuge under the porch and watched me as I stood there staring at the jagged end of my key in the shitty lock. I’m pretty sure he knew we weren’t going anywhere, but I was still trying to fucking figure out what was happening. Okay, so…key stuck in lock…door still locked…car on other side of door…
After about an hour of noisy lamenting (from both of us), I finally wised up and walked to the grocery store in the rain, where I bought several liters of Pedialyte, under which I submerged a piece of chicken. After several minutes of piercing side eye and quizzical head tilting and some what the fuck is this shit?? whimpers, the dog set about the task of slowly, laboriously lapping up the Pedialyte to get to the chicken. We went on like this for days, me drowning tiny bits of food in a hydrating solution intended for FUCKING INFANTS and him whining and complaining about the unfairness of life and just wanting to throw in the towel and then finally just fucking drinking the shit. Then The Pants came home and, like flipping a switch, the furry motherfucker decided that life was worth living again. Now that the Alpha Male is home, Dog has gone back to his previous lifestyle of completely ignoring him and instead following me everywhere I go, begging for more chicken.
What a terrible week. How is it that you can be scared for the life and well-being of something and want to break their goddamn stupid fucking face at the same time? Is this what parenthood is like?
Writing is a weird thing now, for me. It’s the only thing I do that makes me feel like I can’t do anything. I sit down to do it and can’t seem to push the noise of failure out of my head. Why are you even bothering, you suck so bad. This is a waste of time. But! But but but! Think of all the other things I did today that were a waste of time! Think of all those hours of EXTREME HOUSE HUNTING I watched! Think of all the couples wandering through empty homes, commenting halfheartedly on the crown moulding, prompting mock enthusiasm for one another, because they’ve already actually bought the house they’re going to buy and are re-enacting this entire futile search for the cameras! What about all the time they’re wasting, huh? Time that, in turn, forces me to waste my own time! Yeah but in the end, they bought a house. They accomplished a goal. When’s the last time you did that? You suck.
Every week after writing class, I think about quitting writing class. I guess it’s served its purpose in that it’s forced me to start writing more often, but I leave there so dejected about everything and feeling like this has all been another exercise in uselessness. When I enrolled, I thought that maybe the class would be filled with funny people who wanted to learn how to write about their own lives. Really it’s a class full of people who want to start writing for the fun of it. Which is totally fine, but I can’t help but feel like I’m missing out on something by having to sit in a room for three hours a week listening to the same girl rehash stories of different times she’s shit her pants and how cute/quirky/fun it is when she does it. It’s anti-inspiration. It’s like soaking your heart in bug spray.
You would not. beliiiieve. how hard people laugh at pants-shitting stories. If class was held on the roof of a building, I’d go ahead and tip myself off the side at the first mention of a rogue turd in this girl’s underpants. Goodbye, everyone. Shit’s been real.
I don’t know how to say what I thought would come of this exercise. I guess I thought I’d be inspired and held accountable to crank out new writing every week. I didn’t expect to be surrounded by people who get high on the parts of constructive criticism that can possibly sound like positive comments and shut off their brains and decide they’re done for the day. I didn’t expect to be surrounded by people who say things like “I think anxiety is much easier than depression because you have so much more energy!” I didn’t expect to be surrounded by people who don’t want to actually read a book, or who didn’t even consider that a requirement to being able to write something: you know, that you might want to read some writing every now and again?
So I leave class in the dark, shaking because I’m hungry since I missed dinner and shaking because I’m angry that people with so little meaning or even interest in meaning in their work are so goddamn confident. Or maybe they’re not. Maybe the shit stories are the symptom of a deeper fear, and they’re just really good at hiding it (by covering it with feces).
Confidence is a difficult thing for me. Most of the time I enter a room with other people in it and think what the fuck am I doing here?? Most of the time, I feel like I’m hulking around the world with a Sloth face, calling BAYBEE WUUUUUTH to anyone who will listen. I feel like the blobby guy from the mucus commercials. I went to a show this week and as we stood in the crowd, my friend asked me something along the lines of whether being in a crowd made me feel like I was doing alright in the looks department. “Oh my god, no, not at all,” I said. I told her that nothing makes me feel duller and uglier than being in a crowd. It’s like being swallowed by the world and shown how really meaningless you are.
This is all very overwrought because I’m tired today and I have dark circles under my eyes that won’t go away. Mostly I wish I wasn’t so far up my own ass all the time. Mostly I wish I could see below whatever is hiding under stories about poop and have some kind of appreciation for the humanness of it. Mostly I wish I could focus on the fact that people are all just little baby birds in the road hoping they won’t get smashed by an 18-wheeler.
Mostly I feel really, really bad for writing about the time I shit my pants.