Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Conversing With Dogs

I’m talking to dogs. Don’t worry; it’s not what it seems. Or perhaps it is and depending on who you are, this either fills you with great joy or disturbs you beyond consolation. One train of thought goes along the lines of “about time you speak to Pookie because pookie isn’t just any type of dog, she’s a big girl who loves Patrick, yes she does yes she does” and you can hear the baby voice that is said in. The other line of reasoning, the one I would most likely be inclined to side with says with flippant irreverence “sellout” and need not say anything more as you shake your head and wonder how another one bit the dust so quick.

But in my transition into the United States this is an enormous step I thought I could never take. There are a fair share of friends and family who have small dogs in their lives. And you know, transitionally speaking, I have been amazed at the human status dogs have been granted in our society. Entire rooms of houses are cornered off for the use of dogs. Lawsuits have been filed by dog owners angered that some restaurant had the audacity to suggest Mr. Snuggles not be allowed to sit at the table. I have been at more than a few dinner parties when a dog gets unruly, and my third world instincts had to be quelled. Rather than try and soothe it, I find myself scanning the room for objects to throw.

But the other day I caught myself talking to a dog as though he would talk back. He looked at me with droopy eyes as I conversed about my conundrum of the time and his response was a burp, a spastic lick attack of his genitals and then as I neared completion of the story, he ran off barking at the mailman. It was then it hit me, I have sold out to talking to dogs. Why do I care so much? Because with that comes the fear, unreasonable or not, that soon I will “sell out” in other ways. Maybe soon I won’t feel my vocation should still be in sync with my career. Maybe soon I will look at a homeless man and not wonder about the humanity of it all? Or maybe it’s because I have began to forget the names of some of my students in Chile and Ecuador, and this burdens me with a self imposed guilt I don’t know how to address.

And so you see, I am talking to dogs. I am taking the baby steps of being back in this culture and I think I am almost there, there being the place I was looking for that seeks to mix the best of USA me and South America me into just plain old me. Best of all, when I raise my arm South America “you mess with me dog and I will make your life worse than rabies” style, my American friends think it’s cute that I am trying to calm the dogs nerves down by engaging in a game of fetch. If only they knew…

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Jack the three legged dog would be proud of you.