Loch Ness

Loch Ness

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Stewie is as Stewie does

Mark Twain said “write what you know.” I have made a commitment to myself to blog once a week. Writing keeps my brain active. Keeping my brain active and dendrites moving apparently staves off Alzheimers. I’m very concerned about getting Alzheimers. I forget things all the time. So I’m writing once a week. Problem is, I’m having trouble coming up with material. So I have decided to take good ole Marks advice and write what I know. What do I know better than my muse?

Sam and I are in a debate over whether Stewie is abnormally stupid or unbelievably smart. I can’t figure it out. Sometimes I feel like he is a human trapped in a dog body dying to let his genius out. Other times I feel like he is the most obtuse animal I have ever known, I mean, really, really dumb.

Sam wanted a boxer his whole life. We looked at boxer rescue sites for months because I wanted a boxer puppy, but we wanted to do the right thing and rescue. Puppies are difficult to come by on rescue sites and so the search was fruitless and Sam thought we should get an adult dog. I was determined to have a puppy that could grow up with us, so I waited until Sam went out of town for a weekend, and surpise! Sam came home to a son. I neglected to tell Sam for months, maybe the first year of Stewie’s life, that Stewie was the runt. One day I let slip that Stewie was the runt and ever since then Sam has blamed all Stewie’s retardation on that, and blamed me for picking the runt.

I am constantly threatened by Sam that he will return Stewie for a smarter animal. I know he says this in jest, but I feel bad for Stewie, I don’t want to hurt his feelings. I think it may be my fault that my son is so deficient and demented. I have sheltered and coddled him too much. I didn’t let him out in public for the first four months of his life because I was terrified he may contract some sort of deadly disease and wanted him to get all his shots first. I remember reading about the way Queen Victoria was brought up. She was brought up under a strict regimen that was coined the “Kensington System.” She was sheltered so much because she was the only heir to the throne and her mother wanted to make sure nothing happened to interfere with her succession. Victoria wasn’t even allowed to sleep in her own room and had to sleep with her mother until she became Queen of England. I imagine I brought Stewie up under something similar to the “Kensington System.” The poor pup was rarely out of my arms when I was around, I was constantly checking his breathing to make sure he was alive, I took him to the vet every time he displayed any sign of sickness, much to Sam and his wallets dismay. Stewie pees like a girl and Sam yells at him in our backyard, “be a man Stewie, raise your leg!” Stewie cannot even walk on a leash out in public because he is so afraid of cars, people, and any noise that you could associate with living in the city. All these defects either get blamed on Stewie’s being a runt or my being overly protective.

Stewie has recently taken up watching animal planet and documentaries about wolves. This leads me to believe that he is in fact, not a half-wit, but a savant. Have you ever seen a dog watch TV? Ever? I mean for extended periods of time without getting distracted? This isn’t like the game where you pretend to throw a ball two times and on the third time the dog realizes there is nothing in your hand. He never gets tired of it, it never gets old, Stewie loves watching animal planet.  His favorite movie is “Life of Pi,” for obvious reasons. I put on the opening scene of “Life of Pi” and he just is mesmerized. So here’s the dilemma. When the animals come on Stewie literally tries to climb into the TV to hang out with them. He watches and takes it all in, he is clearly understanding what is happening. But is he? Does Stewie believe that there are animals living inside my TV/laptop, or does he understand that he is watching documentaries about other animals and he just enjoys learning how his ten times removed ancestors live and what their habitats are like?

I recently suggested we get a bark box subscription for Stewie. A bark box is a monthly box that comes filled with dog treats and toys and I thought Stewie would really enjoy something like that. We don’t have kids to spend our money on, why not spoil him? Sam, to my surprise, said “Sure!” And then he followed it up with, “we can take out the treats when they arrive and send Stewie back in the box.” I know he just does this to get me riled up and his mission in life is to do things that upset me so I will argue with him, but it gets me every time. I really don’t want Stewie to develop a complex about being stupid or unwanted.

Everyday when I leave for work in the morning Stewie looks out our window after me, he actually pushes his snout up against the window so his whole face is smashed up. It’s a terrible gut wrenching sight to see. It makes it very hard to leave the house at all because I feel so guilty. Every evening when I come home from work I lock my car and the second I click my alarm and it goes beep Stewie runs up to the window and is waiting there, watching, wiggling with anticipation. I don’t have the market cornered on this routine of his, he doesn’t break it out just for me. He recognizes his fathers car alarm too and goes to hold vigil at the window until Sam walks in. There are many cars that travel and park on our street, many that have car alarms, and he only gets up for the ones he knows. Which again, is another sign that he may be smarter than he presents at times.  

Despite his goofy, retarded disposition, he makes me incredibly happy and it’s impossible not to break out in a smile when I see him. Senseless or intelligent, I’m sure the debate will continue, but it doesn’t really matter. Sam will continue to terrorize and bait me about sending Stewie back or turning him in for an updated and more intelligent model. I will continue to play along and feign shock and horror at the idea that he would give up his son. But when we are laying in bed at night and Stewie is laying right on Sam’s chest with his head in the crook of his dads neck, I hear Sam whisper in Stewie’s ear, “I love you bud, you’re such a good boy.” And I know he really doesn’t care that Stewie pees like a girl, and is afraid of his own shadow, and is ranked 48 on Stanley Coren’s dog breed intelligence list, and is really extremely needy, and dense. Stewie’s love for us is unconditional and it’s hard not to love something that is blind to, and loves you despite all of your flaws and imperfections.

“Heaven goes by favor. If it went by merit, you would stay out and your dog would go in.” -Mark Twain

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Celebrating Mediocrity

A baby was born this week. Thousands of babies were born this week. But one, was a Prince. He doesn’t have a name yet.  Baby owners all over the world are delaying naming their spawn, either because they want to name it after the Prince or they want to make sure they don’t give it the same name as the Prince. This doesn’t seem fair to me. Thousands of nameless babies, waiting around patiently in their baby bassinets, to be named after, or not the same as, a Prince. The most irritating part about all of this, is this monarchy doesn’t even hold any power. Why does anyone care? They are purely figureheads. Prince William cannot pass a law, he cannot behead Kate Middleton when she is unruly or he gets sick of her. (Although that might make things more interesting, I don’t understand why beheadings have gone out of fashion). But people care, I care. I myself, googled all the pictures and videos of the Prince and Princess leaving the hospital with their brand new baby.  I oohed and awed over the new successor’s birth. I watched Kate in her blue polka dot Jenny Pakham dress, and she is so perfect and gracious and beautiful and I longed to have her life. Meanwhile, I’m just sitting here embracing mediocrity.
When I was small, who am I kidding, when I was small until I was about 30 years old, I was convinced I would marry Prince William. The only reason the dream stopped is because he married someone else. All the signs pointed to a royal union for William and I. I was born in England, practically royalty already, I’m sure if you traced back through the family history I had some blue blood running thru my veins. We were both born in June, only six days and one year apart. These coincidences made me sure I was destined to be a princess. Turns out it was some other girls destiny to be a princess too, her name is Kate, and he chose her. My dreams were smashed.

As I watched Kate and William emerge from the hospital and show off their prize, Baby Cambridge, to the world, I realized how insignificant I am in this world and how, I, am not special. Nobody will photograph me if I ever give birth. Nobody cares. I have about three regular readers on my blog, my sister, my boyfriend (who I make read it), and some weird girl I don’t know. I’ve never done much of any significance. I’m not going to win a nobel peace prize. I work a nine to five. Come home. Usually order Thai food from down the street because I don’t know how to cook and they really show up fast. Sometimes I go to my secret society meeting. Sometimes I take Stewie to the dog park because socialization is important for him and his self esteem. I go to bed, Stewie takes up the whole bed, Sam and I try to adjust ourselves around him. I wake up. I set my alarm 45 minutes before I actually have to be up because I like to hit snooze for 45 minutes. And then I do it all over again. I will get old and die and disappear and nobody will ever know I was even here. We are all just floating around in the middle of nowhere in the middle of nothing and who even knows why the hell we are here and in the middle of it all, I am insignificant, and I can’t sleep a lot at night because of it.

Kate could have had my life. Kate could have a nine to five and eat thai at night, I doubt she’d go to the secret society meetings because she is too pure for them, but maybe all the rest.  Except for she chose to go to a little school named St. Andrews. And she met a Prince. And now she has a different life.

Today I’m rejoicing my humdrum life. I’m not reading any tabloids today because they make me feel ugly and generally like shit. I enjoyed my Thai dinner tonight. Sam and I took Stewie for an enjoyable evening walk to 7-11 so I could buy cigarettes. I don’t think I’ll google Will and Kate anymore because you know what, they really haven’t done much either, he just was the lucky little royal sperm that won the race. And by the way, he’s going to be bald in a couple years, and my boyfriend has a head full of hair. I didn’t marry into the royal family, but that’s okay, because Sam thinks I’m a princess (most of the time) (maybe half of the time).

A Prince was born this week. And I’m just here celebrating mediocrity.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Humidity Levels in California

It has been unusually humid for California. My sister got married. I thought about quitting smoking. My family came out and visited us from Ireland. I got a fake spray tan. I thought about quitting smoking. The Newsroom season premiere was a bit of a letdown, I had been looking forward to it for almost a year, poor form Newsroom writers. I started back listening to my book on tape, after taking a week hiatus, I like it, it’s entertaining and makes the drive to work go by quickly. I thought about quitting smoking, and read a couple pages out of Allen Carrs “Easy Way to Quit Smoking,” it’s not easy and the title really pisses me off. The Zimmerman trial verdict was laid down. Groups of angry people are “protesting” the verdict, back in the day these were called “riots.” Although I remember the day the Rodney King verdict was announced, I was at Magic Mountain with my parents surrounded by over one hundred thousand angry African American people and I only have seen that look of fear for their daughters lives on one other occasion, which I will not mention right now, but those were real riots. The current “riots” are childs play compared to 1992. Cory Monteith died of a heroin overdose.  I’m not joking about the humidity, I’ve been forced to seek solace at the mall because it’s the only place I know with air conditioning. And I have a serious problem with shopping, it’s not an idyllic place for me to go for sanctuary.

These are all events that happened in the last week. Yet I cannot conjure up one thing to write about. I started this blog over two years ago and since then have wrote on average one entry every four months, barely qualifying it to be called a blog, maybe more like a quarterly newsletter. I started the blog because I want to be a writer and I got lots of advice saying “if you wanna be a writer, you gotta start a blog.” So I did. Nothing is inspiring me to write, although I see inspiring things everyday. So there you go. Here I am. Writing a blog on how I cannot write. I’m not dead, I just have writers block.

My boss told me today that I had outgrown my position here and although he loved having me here, what was I going to do with my life. Isn’t that  just the million dollar question.  I feel like I am stuck in the middle of a room with hundreds of people, screaming at the top of my lungs, “what am I going to do with my life, help me, tell me and I’ll do it” and none of them can hear me. I’m too old to be in college at this point, but will never go any farther if I don’t finish up. The degrees I’m interested in will take four, more likely, eight more years, I’ll be  on social security and getting the senior citizen discount at Denny’s by the time I finish college at the rate I’m going. The thing I really wish is that I could time travel back to 1999 and convince myself to go to college and take it seriously, or even 2005 when I finally cleaned up and tell myself to go back and get a degree. Instead I find myself telling any young person who’s willing to listen, to go to college now, or you’ll regret it. And I sound like all the grown ups that I have always hated for lecturing me.

When my boss asked me of my future plans today, I told him the usual, “I am going to be a writer.” I barely even believe it when I say it out loud anymore. My boss suggested I start a blog if I want to be a writer and get some readers, to which I informed him, “I already have one.” Then write Gayle, just write.

I was in line at Starbucks a couple weeks ago when Sam sneezed and a very large gentleman behind us in line said “God bless you.” Or maybe the man sneezed and Sam said “God bless you,” it really doesn’t matter, that’s not the point of this story. For whatever reason they started chatting with each other and the man said, “Who even knows where the expression “God bless you,” came from?” Without missing a beat, I informed him that it originated during the time of the Bubonic Plague. When someone sneezed it was assumed that they had caught the plague and so whoever heard them said, “God bless you.”  Now this gentleman was incredibly impressed that I knew this. I’m not sure why.  Five minutes later we were waiting for our drinks and the man said to me, “I can’t get over the fact that you knew that, how did you know that?” I told him I must of heard it at some point in my life and just remembered it, honestly, I don’t know where I heard it. He said, “you’d make a great lawyer, being able to remember facts like that.” We started chatting and I told him I was a little lost right now in the world and appreciated the direction. As he picked up his drink and went to walk out he turned to me and said, “You know what the best thing to do is when you’re trying to figure out what you want to do?” I looked at him incredulously, this stranger was about to tell me the answer to all my problems, the way to figure out what to be when I grow up. I was shaking with excitement on the inside but kept it cool on the outside and just said, “No, what?” He smiled an encouraging and loving dad like smile, leaned down, and I thought he was about to whisper the secret to life in my ear but he simply said, “DECIDE,” and smiled generously as he walked out the door into the humid Los Angeles evening.

Don't feel guilty if you don't know what you want to do with your life. The most interesting people I know didn't know at 22 what they wanted to do with their lives. Some of the most interesting 40-year-olds I know still don't.” -Mary Schmich