First you’ll be wanting to know about my new Rottweiler, Dorothy. She’s an 8 year old spitfire with an old hip injury and a brain full of mysteries and secrets. The moment’s been about 7 years in the making but always in the past there’s been some dumb reason I can’t get my own dog. One day, I got that unequivocal, supernatural feeling about a certain craigslist woof, and I said, “This is the girl.” Also, when I got home from my Christmas vacation in Detroit I found I’d lost my dog walking job in Seattle, and I realized that this made me a person with a little bit of time on her hands. Maybe you’re thinking that the unemployed shouldn’t run out and get an animal, but hey, fuck you. We all of us do things in our own special order.
My friend Will and I drove to Mount Vernon to negotiate her purchase on December 30, 2014. It’s about two hours north of Seattle and a beautiful mountainous place that looks and feels like Montana. The dog’s owner was a hearty looking tomboy (or lesbian, not sure) who revealed that she ran a dog kennel and was a breeder and this rottweiler she’d acquired a year ago under mysterious circumstances was good for neither. When I first saw her she barked at me from inside a fenced outdoor kennel, but it seemed half hearted and even then I felt that if we weren’t in love at that moment we would be soon. So me and this cardhart wearing, curt, efficient if not unfriendly woman got down to the business of negotiating the sale of a living being. “I want to buy your animal so that I can love it and manipulate it into obsessively and single-mindedly loving me in return.” The action seemed to say. Of course, that’s what happened. I brought her home for 100 cash american and changed her name from whatever it was before (you don’t need to know) to Dorothy Parker, a wild guess really but the dog has turned out to be the spitting personification of the late great author: she is big, clumsy, smart and mostly sullen, with just a hint of suicidal whimsy. I always thought I wanted a boy dog so he could be my boyfriend, but it turns out it’s just as easy to pretend your girl dog is your boyfriend. She’s the best friend I ever had and my heart swells to think of her. I’ll conclude this section of the blog post with this poem my dog wrote about her feelings.
There’s little in taking or giving,
There’s little in water or wine;
This living, this living, this living
Was never a project of mine.
Oh, hard is the struggle, and sparse is
The gain of the one at the top,
For art is a form of catharsis,
And love is a permanent flop,
And work is the province of cattle,
And rest’s for a clam in a shell,
So I’m thinking of throwing the battle-
Would you kindly direct me to hell?
My New Job at a Women’s Shelter
Getting fired from the dog walking beat was dumb, but it had to happen. I’d love to be candid and tell you all about what went down but the thing about the real world is, you’re not supposed to go on record ever admitting to any dishonesty or irresponsible behavior. I guess the first best thing is to live a life beyond reproach, but who can do that all the time. The second best thing is to lie about your life or maybe just don’t keep a blog with your first and last name, you god damn idiot.
Around the first of the year I started working the graveyard shift at a shelter in downtown Seattle that caters specifically to single women and their children. The hours are shitty, the work is emotionally trying and I had to take a pretty substantial pay cut, but it’s all worth it because honestly, the truth is, fuck rich people. I would rather clean toilets for the homeless than spend another second feeding off the crumbs of some upper middle class family in their $3,000 a month capitol hill apartment. I don’t want to fucking tutor their kids and I don’t want to make them fucking coffee. The kind of people who make you take off your shoes when you enter their home. People who order fois grois out to dinner and never once feel bad about it. People who are so afraid of confrontation they’d rather call the police for a noise complaint than just come over and talk to you. I’m not saying we should round them all up and put them into camps, I’m just saying I’m not trying to be a stepping stone to further their world domination any longer. Somebody else can help Tiffany game the SATs.
My inevitable break-up with Phil
This really should have happened a lot sooner, but I kept holding on, maybe because his lips were so beautiful and he kissed me so infrequently. One night about four months ago I saw a glimpse of what I thought was our future. He was standing in his kitchen and I had a strong feeling that we would be together for years; that this thing would just go on and on and on. So every time I thought about breaking up with him after that, I’d remember that psychic vision and think, keep weathering the storm. It’s a bad habit of mine: rearranging the entire world to fit one anomalous idea. I wasn’t seeing THE future of course, but one possible future of many, like imagine a Star Trek graph that splits off indefinitely with all possible outcomes. It was dumb to get attached to one future. And of course he read this blog, eventually, and it made things pretty awkward. Here I was in real life stuffing all of my emotions down into the pit of my stomach but telling the truth on the internet to a bunch of strangers. He said to me, “I read your blog. That stuff should be in a diary.” But if I trap my feelings in a diary how will I get credit for them? It was weird to confess my love for him on the internet and then try to pretend like I didn’t feel that way in real life. It was really weird. If I learn anything from this break up, maybe I should learn not to do that.
I’m addicted to the game candy crush and I don’t know if that’s okay. I play candy crush as a way to avoid intimacy and uncomfortable feelings. I want someone to try to stop me. There’s been a lot of articles circulating the internet on the true nature of addiction; it’s not about the drug, it’s the life you’re trying to run away from. They talk about it in terms of environment. Give the rats a cool maze and lots of rat friends to hang out with and they won’t lever press so much. But I’m thinking it’s more about what’s going on inside my head. I don’t know how to get away from my head. You have the thought, “Chop off your head!” but of course that just leads to bigger problems. You can’t win.
I worry about the atrophy of my brain, generally. On the day Phil and I broke up I saw a bed ridden future and so finally went ahead and bought a flat screen TV for my bedroom. Setting up the TV I managed to knock my electric typewriter onto the floor, most probably breaking it beyond repair, and if that isn’t a metaphor for my withered priorities in life these days then I don’t know what.
I’ve been thinking about discontinuing the blog portion of this website for a lot of reasons that should by now be obvious. I want to talk about the real things and I don’t care too much about myself at this point. I mean, humiliating myself, big deal, this is just one idiotic life of many, but it’s not just about me. Always you have to consider other people’s feelings and that tends to water down the truth. I know I’ve been bad about this in the past but I hope you believe me when I say I’m trying to do better. A lot of interesting things happen at the shelter but it’s like, illegal to share, and yet this document persists as a breathing temptation.
And then there’s money. You can’t go around telling the truth on the internet without worrying that someone will read it and it will cost you a job. Is anybody out there going to let me teach middle school after admitting my addiction to “candy crush?”
Thirdly, in this world, you have to maintain a combination self. If I keep writing this god damn blog it’s going to blow my cover. I spend so much time in real life trying to manage my weirdness. It makes me a total liar. I kind of can’t believe how often I lie sometimes in an attempt at guessing what normal behavior looks like. One thing I do a lot is pretend to care about things I don’t really care about. Like, “Oh, there’s a lot of crime in this neighborhood. Yeah, I’m totally worried about getting robbed or raped.” That’s a lie. I’m not scared of those things because I don’t care if I live or die, but that really makes people uncomfortable. To pretend to fret over dangers I don’t really fret over is in service of the larger lie that I value this life. Having said all of that, I promise to try my hardest to stay alive anyway. I don’t think it matters, but life is still a game that I am competitively in pursuit of winning.
So I’m considering shutting down the blog but I don’t know, I probably won’t. Right now I’m still trying to decide if this life is worth salvaging on a professional level, like do I want to pursue a professional career or keep doing shit jobs forever? I want to start another blog soon on the subject of movies, something with universal appeal that could one day parlay into more commercial writing gigs. Keep holding your breath for that one! but really, I hope to launch my second blog in the next week or two. Stay tuned.
February. The year’s very worst month. Do not fret, friends. I have my own dog that I bought with my own money, and for all I know, you are also doing well. Just go grimly on!