I am not the poster child for things touchy-feely. I loathe strange people touching me (even getting my hair cut is an adventure, though I endure it because I can’t cut my own hair with any degree of accuracy) and generally I’m not too thrilled about being groped by those I do know. Unless they’re dogs, and that’s OK. Why, I don’t know, but dogs are safe, at least for me. Even when I was a little kid and was terrified of the world, from my sadistic oldest sister to unauthorized insect life, I had no problem climbing the fence and snuggling up to a 120# Rottweiler.
It’s not usually the big dogs you have to worry about. Unless you’re up to mischief, that is.
The only dog I can remember having any kind of problem with was Andy the Chihuahua, but he was likely the product of many generations of inbreeding, and from the moment he was whelped he was certifiably messed up in the head. He was my cousins’ dog, and even they couldn’t touch him. It’s a good thing that pathetic little Andy, with his high-pitched, constant and annoying yappy voice, severe underbite and thick cataracts, (I think the wretched thing was born blind) didn’t live past the age of five. I’m surprised he lived as long as he did. I think the only thing that saved him was that he was too evil for the cats to eat him. He reminded me of a wind-up toy with an over-wound spring. Such a toy will go like blue blazes- for a little while- then it just dies suddenly. I think it was reported that poor Andy bit the big one mid-yap. I don’t think he was very much missed.
Andy the psycho Chihuahua is the exception, not the rule in the canine world. Humanity is the exact opposite.
There is a sad irony that I feel safer with animals that technically are the same species as wolves (canis lupus familiaris is not far removed from canis lupus lupus after all) than I do with fellow humans. But I do.
I’ve gathered from my own observations that “normal” people (begging the question, “Who defines ‘normal’?,” though I know I am most certainly anything but “normal”) generally have an easy time relating to other “normal” people. While I’m usually looking for excuses to avoid excessive social interaction, as too much of playing that game wears me out, the “normals” blithely seek out more opportunities to be in each others’ faces. I have to work at the communication game. Really. Hard. I have to consciously know which façade to pull out, and what (figurative) costume to wear for which occasion.
I have to pay attention to things that come instinctually to most, such as eye contact and body language and tone of voice. Otherwise, if I’m not paying attention, I just stare straight ahead and bellow out everything in a loud monotone. I have acquired social skills- and over the years I’ve trained myself to practice them well- but that whole hoo-hah wears me down, just as the social dance energizes most people.
Sometimes I’d like to tell the whole world to bite me sideways and say screw it all, (and I would if I had the scratch to live as a recluse) but necessity dictates that I have to put up with other people and their shit. Maybe it’s wrong or arrogant or selfish of me to see things that way, but that’s just the way it is. That’s my reality-constant vigilance and constant anxiety, because I have to pay close attention to every word and every movement, at least when I am under others’ scrutiny.
Maybe that was where Shakespeare got the notion that all the world’s a stage. Performing is hard work, and sometimes I just don’t wanna.
I don’t have to play the game with dogs- or even cats for that matter. With them I can just be.
There are times I do enjoy the relational hoo-hah and find it a strange kind of fun, but it’s fun that I really only need in small doses, and even when I do enjoy it, it wears me out. Right now I’m exhausted, and in a way I wish I could beg off human contact for a few months or so.
What I really need is a nice, long solitary road trip.
I could use one of those trips where I leave, go somewhere randomly, do whatever, and then come back. The last time I really did that was back in 1987, and I caught hell for it. Of course, going 500 miles out with $150, in a car that had no air conditioning, leaked oil horribly, had 4 balding (different sizes and treads) tires and a top speed of 45 MPH wasn’t a good idea and I wouldn’t dream of trying it today, especially without a phone, but those were different times. Cell phones were expensive toys hard mounted in expensive cars back in 1987. I was a young punk and wanted to do what I wanted to do, even if I didn’t have much scratch and my car was a very distressed, high mileage ’79 Subaru DL. Today I would be afraid of being raped and robbed (well, in my case, probably just robbed and shot) if I would happen to get stranded. Today I have plastic (though I am quite loath to use it) a modern car, a phone, GPS, roadside assistance and a (always loaded) .357 Magnum.
I’m not nearly as trusting as I used to be.
Jerry would have nine kinds of fits if I did something like that. He would accuse me of being out trysting with some smoking hot young stud even though he (especially) should know I have the sex appeal of stale saltines and wet socks. In reality he would miss subjecting me to his tirades, and would miss me fetching his food and beer.
Yes, a solitary road trip would be most delicious. Even a day trip would be good.