I was outside at 5:30 am with my little dog that has a little bladder and discovered something about humankind. It’s a pretty big accomplishment at that hour. I don’t think such compelling insight like this typically occurs for other people, while wearing pajamas and standing at the end of your driveway, holding a dog leash, but it did for me.
Let me back up some… I used to open the door and let the dog out quietly without even waking the kids, and after a few minutes would call her back in a whisper with the promise of a treat. It worked. The dog will do anything for a piece of a chicken nugget.
That changed however, when she discovered two morning walkers that regularly pass our house during this time. She forgot about the rule of not leaving our yard and developed total amnesia over the 12 weeks of dog obedience classes at Pet Smart. She ignored my voice and any commands, disregarding the fact that I support her livelihood and that she should do anything that pleases me, her caretaker and master.
The sight of strangers going down that street in the quietness of early morning with their footsteps against the pavement as the only sound, transformed her from a sweet pooch that’s normally a vortex of need and craves to be pet by everyone, to a psychotic, won’t-stop-barking, crazed killer mutt that wakes up the neighborhood. So, I now stand holding a twenty foot leash, whispering threats if she sounds the alarm as we watch the same two people pass every morning.
The first, and this is no lie, is a tall, brooding man that resembles a Death Eater from Harry Potter. The similarity is so eerie and perfect, that I’d take a picture of him if I had the courage. He’s always dressed completely in black, shoulders hunched over, wearing a hoodie that covers his face. He approaches like a dark shadow from the bowels of hell.
Though the three of us, dog included, are mere feet away from each other, we NEVER exchange morning pleasantries. He is dark and scary. He has made it obvious that communication is not welcome and would suck out my soul if I tried. After he passes, I exhale from holding my breath the entire time.
As I’m recovering from my near death experience, the opposite happens. A minute later, Mary Beth comes bouncing down the street. I don’t know her real name, but I’ve named her Mary Beth because of how perky and happy she is, and I think that’s deserving of two names.
With hair flowing like ribbons in the wind, she sails down the street, greeting the new day with exuberance. She runs joyfully, embracing life. Though darkness looms ahead of her, she is determined to remain the embodiment of light.
I believe the Death Eater and Mary Beth are two parallels of humankind. Am I going to go forth in the day with contagious energy, or am I going to be an oppressive, gloomy figure that makes people anxiously wait for me to pass by? Mary Beth inspires me to start the day positively. Whatever lies ahead, I’m not going to worry. The point is, to charge ahead fearlessly and to do so with a bounce in my step.
P.S. For those of you who came up with the obvious question, ‘Why doesn’t she just put the dog in the fenced in back yard?” The answer is simple: the dog is skinny enough to walk through the bars of the fence. If we let her out freely, she then freely walks through the fence to the neighbor’s yard to see her Shih-tzu boyfriend. Besides being a scamp, she’s also a tramp!