Posts tagged ‘Recreation’
The kind of comedy I love best is the kind that sort of points out the flaws in human beings, the kind where we can recognize and laugh at ourselves or at the foibles of our society in general. Keeping Up Appearances does this well. It’s a British television show, and it could probably never be remade in the United States because, for one thing, the humor is gentler than American humor. I like the kind of stories where you can tell on yourself and laugh. Or tell on someone else and laugh. That’s good, too.
Damian Carson, the subject of two blog posts back, is one of the few men I’ve ever known who was good at this kind of humor. He didn’t mind being the butt of his own joke. He had a self-deprecating sense of humor, which I would say is generally a trait that women share. Men, not so much.
I don’t hear a lot of men willing to make fun of themselves. I think it’s probably something about our culture that doesn’t encourage this, like little boys have to be strong and perfect. Maybe it explains some of the examples of misandry that are found in popular culture today. Men won’t make fun of themselves, so we do it for them.
Damian told me a true story once that was hilariously comic. Perhaps it was so funny because it was tragic. Frequently, there’s an element of pain of some kind in the things we laugh about.
Damian had a Plymouth Neon, back when they were called Plymouth Neons and not Dodge Neons. It was a hatchback. He had a girlfriend he was dating at the time. They went to New Mexico so that he could go on a job interview for this opportunity that would have been a big raise for him. He made it a date, too, and brought the girlfriend along.
The trip was to Albuquerque, a beautiful and scenic destination. Damian and his date decided to take a drive up the Rocky Mountains to do some sightseeing. They were a ways up the mountain when the check engine light on his car came on. Naturally, this was the summer. They were nowhere near a filling station or anything of the kind. He decided to drive on and risk it.
When his engine actually started smoking he decided to stop driving and pull over. He left the girlfriend in the car. He could see that his engine needed some fluid, some kind of coolant. But they didn’t have any water in the car. They hadn’t even brought a bottled water with them to drink.
So, what does he do? Maybe you can see this coming. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, he whips it out and pees under the hood of his car right in front of his shocked date. He lets that sit for awhile. You can just imagine how pleasant that smell must have been in the middle of the summer in the middle of the Rocky Mountains in the cab of a car with no air conditioning. I don’t think this chick’s date with Damian worked out as well as mine had.
After what he felt was a sufficient amount of time, Damian tries to turn on the engine again and finds that it will not start. Actually, it will never start again. Maybe if he had stopped at the moment when the check engine light first came on it might have. But because he waited so long when the car finally got to a mechanic the mechanic told him that he might as well buy a new car because the engine had to be completely replaced.
You might wonder how Damian and his date got down from the mountain. Well, here’s where the date might have actually improved. Fortunately, he did have a cell phone and was able to call for some kind of mountain rescue. So, in the end they got a helicopter ride over the Rocky Mountains, which was probably very cool.
And the moral of this story is.
- Don’t ignore the Check Engine Light.
- Take water with you before heading for the mountains.
- Don’t pee in your car.
- Just pay for the helicopter ride over the Rocky Mountains. In the end, it’s less expensive.
Usually, I write something glib, flippant, sarcastic, satirical, or otherwise just plain old damn un-serious, even if I am writing about a serious matter. Not this time. It wouldn’t do the subject justice to treat it with humor. I am in mourning. I had to put my dog down.
Many of you (well, okay five or six of you) have faithfully read this blog for about a year and a half now. Some of you have come to the table only recently. How could you know how important that damn silly dog was to me? Well, I’ll just say I loved her more than most humans I know.
I think I might miss her more than I miss drinking, although with her recent death, those two loves seem to get increasingly mixed up in my head. Miss my dog, need a drink. Miss my dog, need a drink. I try to hold myself at bay with the rational thought that it is just the latest of a series of excuses that I’ve used over the better part of a decade to drink alone.
If you have been keeping up with things recently, my last post, Weiner Dog Blues, described my dilemma. My dog was a faithful and loyal and loving companion for seven years. I fed her and watered her, often threw a Kong ball for her amusement (after we figured out that those tennis balls wouldn’t last a day). I took her for walks where she was the neighborhood celebrity weiner dog, a hit with children everywhere.
I took her to the vet’s. She always actually liked going to the vet’s. She would get excited, and her little tail would wag, and she’d be beside herself with all those new butts to sniff and new humans to love on her and give her doggie treats. What was a little anal probing and needles compared to the delights of the less unseemly side of the vet’s office?
I did the usual requisite responsible pet ownership stuff: shots and city license, outdoor dog house, kennel, collar and leash and flea and worm prevention and obedience class. To tell you the truth, the obedience class never really worked like it should have, not because she wasn’t a smart dog. She was plenty smart. She just didn’t give a hoot about doing what I wanted her to do most of the time. She learned how to sit and lay down on command and how to ignore me about 33% of the time when I called.
Up until approximately the last year of her life, she was a very active dog. For most of, well, okay, you got me, ALL of that time, I was under the influence of my moderately functioning alcoholism. Read that as: I could maintain the status quo at a Dilbert desk job that was well beneath my capabilities (How else could I afford my drug of choice?)). I think that it’s safe to say that I didn’t really do her justice. She never ever complained, though. She was always happy to see me. She loved to snuggle and to play, and if something was lacking in our relationship or the quality of her care, she certainly never let on about it.
That might be because she couldn’t talk. How I wish she could have talked those last few days so that I could have asked her what she would like for me to do. I read an article by a physician in The New Yorker that addressed issues of terminal illness, living wills, and hospice programs, etc. The thing that struck me from that article was an exchange that an elderly man had with his daughter about his wishes before an operation for terminal cancer. He told her that he wanted the doctors to resuscitate him as long as he could sit up to watch television and he could still eat chocolate ice cream. Many of us might assume that our loved ones would wish for more.
After I talked with the vet on Monday morning, we agreed that my dog should be brought back in for evaluation on Wednesday. I told her that I wanted to leave her off the medication all day Tuesday and see how things go. She did okay, except that again she couldn’t stand to be held or to sleep with me in the bed, as she always had before she went blind, every night. I put her in the spare bedroom because I figured that room had the least chance for injury with her bumping into things.
At approximately 1:00 in the morning Wednesday I awoke to blood curdling scream barks, and I had thankfully stockpiled some medication. I gave her two pills like she was prescribed. She became mellow and sleepy, and we got to have a right nice slumber before I took her to the vet’s Wednesday morning.
I dropped her off at the vet’s at about 6:30, and I thought that she had jumped clear of the car, but I accidentally shut one of her back paws in the car door and came across like Cruella de Vil again in front of the vet tech in the parking lot. I tried to tell her that my dog had gone blind very recently and that I was still getting used to the situation. I think she was probably less hard on me than I was on myself.
Later that morning, after observation, and after the other vets in the practice had been consulted, the vet called me again. This time the news was that they had done another blood screen and that the Tylenol had not permanently damaged her kidneys and liver and that they could give her stronger pain meds! This didn’t sound very optimistic to me.
So, I said to her, “I don’t care if she’s blind or not. I love her, and I can accommodate, but if the only way to keep her from screaming and crying and being scared and possibly in pain is to keep her doped all the time, what kind of quality of life is that?” It occurs to me that in some ways it’s not too far off from the quality of life I had when I was drinking myself silly on a nightly basis.
She told me that was something I would have to take under consideration. And I get, really, that they can’t tell you what the hell to do. How I wish someone would have, though, for the convenience of being able to finger point later.
I said, “Is this something that can ever be fixed? Can you make her better?”
She said no, and she told me that the “neurological disorder” could not actually be diagnosed without an expensive MRI but that my dog was exhibiting many of the classic symptoms of a brain tumor and that was what she thought the diagnosis probably would be. Even if I paid for the MRI they would not be able to do anything more than give her meds to make her “comfortable.” Even if it was not a brain tumor they still could not fix her or treat her or improve her condition in any way.
So, for me, really, there was no choice. I didn’t want to do it; trust me, I didn’t. But I could not live with her continuing to suffer for no good reason. I could have picked up the dog and my pain meds and had someone to cuddle with, a nice little bed warmer for perhaps a few months more. The pain pills would have cost less than the euthanasia. Don’t think the thought didn’t occur to me.
I opted to end her suffering. I called my friend Lubbock who came up to the vet’s office and met me. When they brought her in, I knew that I had made the right decision because they had already given her something, and she still whined continually like a siren in pain or anxiety (probably both) until just after the vet made the first shot through the IV tube.
Even the vet said that I was making the right decision. I held her and stroked her and whispered in her ear what a good, good dog she was and how much I loved her until her heart stopped beating and her head lolled. Even the last twitch was done, and her little barrel body was fully limp before I stepped away. I bawled like a baby, and so did Lubbock.
Afterward, I went to Lubbock’s. I meant to just hang out and watch Boardwalk Empire and eat pizza. I didn’t want to go home. Lubbock talked me into showering and putting on a pair of her ex husband’s jammies and staying the night. It wasn’t that hard to talk me into it. I didn’t want to go back to the empty house. Last night I went straight to the Mr. Brewsters after work and hung out there.
When I got home last night I practically went straight to bed and yet there must have been at least three or four separate instances where I thought of my dead dog as if she were still living and still here, wondering where she was lying around, wanting to make sure she wasn’t under foot. I didn’t actually call for her. The brain doesn’t go that far. The thought is a nanosecond of impulse, and then you stop yourself and think, oh, yeah, she’s gone. She won’t be back.
Work Boyfriend 1.0 and I were having a phone conversation the other day where he brought up again, as he does every few months or so, the question of whether or not I should date. The answer to this question is always no. Sometimes I think the answer should be yes, but then I am wrong. The answer is no.
The last time someone talked me into accepting a date, the outcome was predictably tragic. I met this guy in a bar called Canary Hut or Canary Roost. I don’t know. Canary Something. I was out with Katina. This is obviously when I was still drinking, but I wasn’t drunk at the time. It was December of 2008, and I hadn’t been on a date in five years, if you count my relationship with The Rat Bastard as dating.
Wisely, after The Rat Bastard, I had made the conscious decision not to ever accept another date again. I am simply not meant to date. It works out for other humans, but it never works out for me. What is the definition of insanity? Repeating the same actions and expecting a different outcome.
The outcome of me dating is always disappointment. Sometimes it’s mild disappointment, and at other times it’s profound disappointment but what all these experiences have in common is disappointment. I was an English major, and I began to sense a theme. At some point, I decided that I didn’t want to be insane anymore.
So, this guy at the Canary Something was supposedly instantly attracted to me. Why I couldn’t say. I had not taken any special care with my appearance, and I was at least one hundred pounds overweight at the time. Now the way he approaches me is original, because he doesn’t.
He sends his sister and her husband over to ask for him, like he’s in junior high and wants to ask me to go with him. The sister and her husband launch an all out campaign to convince me that I want to go out with her brother. They point him out at the bar. He waves.
He’s nothing special, but he’s also not repulsive. Supposedly, he is painfully shy. This isn’t surprising to me. Shy guys love me. I swear to God if there is a shy guy within a twenty-mile radius of me, he will eventually gravitate towards me even if he isn’t actually interested in me in that way. I attract them like magnets. The kind of guys who major in obscure and cerebral things that require them to interact with things or numbers and not humans – IT guys and math majors and engineers and architects – they love me for some inexplicable reason.
Now I finally meet this guy after his entire family has talked him up to me. And that’s no exaggeration. This is the family that parties together. Mom, stepdad, brother, sister, brother-in-law. He’s awkward, and, yep, shy. He also strikes me as not particularly bright. As in, he has the IQ of a root vegetable. Actually, that might be an insult to some of the more intelligent root vegetables, like the rutabaga and the jicama, for instance.
His whole family made a big point out of telling me how brilliant he is. Oh, he’s so smart! It doesn’t seem like it at first, but just wait until you get to know him. Hmmph. I am not so convinced. Mr. Brilliant is several years younger than me, in his late twenties, hasn’t started let alone finished college, and is currently working two or three delivery jobs.
But he’s nice enough. He seems to like me. My girlfriend is encouraging me to do this. I should go out. It’s healthy. I should make an effort. What could it hurt? Free dinner, yada, yada. And I recognize the logic in this argument. How am I going to find someone if I don’t go out? Do I want to spend the rest of my life alone? If nothing else, then it will be good practice.
Monday morning I describe the entire scenario to Work Boyfriend 1.0.
“So, you’re saying that you’re going out with this guy on a mercy date?”
“Well, if you’re going to put it that way, um, yeah, I guess.”
“Oh, my God. Don’t do us any favors.”
“What the hell is that supposed to mean? I thought you said that I should date.”
“You should. Someone you really like.”
“But no one I really like has asked me out. They aren’t exactly lining up outside my door. These are my choices: stay home or go out on the mercy date.”
A couple nights go by. Mr. Brilliant calls me. He hasn’t gotten any smarter. It’s late, and I’m already in for the night, and he wants me to meet him somewhere right now. Now I’m not a strict adherent to The Rules, but I’m not running like a puppy dog because this guy has called. I don’t play games. I tell him that I’d like to make plans in advance. I don’t tell him why this is, but the reason has to do with the fact that I’d like to think that a guy actually went to the effort and trouble of planning something in advance. I’d like to think that he cared enough to do that for me.
He says he’d like to meet me somewhere for dinner the next night. Tomorrow night. No place yet. No plans. But I figure this is a compromise because I at least have advance warning. I can make an effort and try to look nice, maybe wear some of that Chanel perfume that I never have a reason to wear. Tomorrow night. He’ll call. Cool.
So, tomorrow night comes. I make an effort and shower and dress nice and get ready to fly out the door to wherever it is that he’s decided that we’re going to meet. But the phone doesn’t ring. Strangely, the phone doesn’t ring all evening.
The phone does ring the next day, after he’s stood me up. It rings several times while I’m at work, and once I actually hang up on him without saying a word. Work Boyfriend 1.0 is appalled.
“You aren’t even going to give this guy a chance?”
“You didn’t even want me to go out with him in the first place, and he stood me up.”
“You should at least listen to what he has to say.”
“Unless he’s in a hospital, I really don’t want to hear anything he has to say. And nope, not even then. They have phones in hospitals. You want to know why I don’t date? This. This right here is why I don’t date. It’s a perfect example.”
First, I’m wrong for having a no dating policy. It’s so isolated and closed off, and I’ll never meet someone that way. Then someone asks me out, and I agree to give him a shot, and I’m a horrible person for agreeing to go on the mercy date. Then he stands me up, and I’m a horrible person for not giving him a second chance. At what point is he the horrible person in this scenario? After he takes me out to an old deserted road and rapes me and leaves me for dead? Or will I still be the horrible person even then?
Mr. Brilliant calls again that night. His excuse is that he had to work. He works three jobs, after all, and one of the jobs asked him to work some overtime.
I tell him that I can appreciate that he has to work three jobs, and that if you have to work you have to work. I still would have appreciated a courtesy call.
His phone was dead or something. He’s sorry. Do I want to go out right now and meet him and his friends for a drink? No, I do not. I tell him he had his chance, and he blew it, and I don’t want to talk to him again. For someone who was supposedly so enamored of me, he doesn’t seem very broken hearted about it.
And THAT is why I don’t date. I suppose my standards are too high. Once, just once I’d like for the guy that I like to ask me out and not have to settle for letting the guy I’m not so crazy about try to convince me otherwise. But I give in on that. Every time. Because if I don’t, then I’ll be alone. Then I compromise on the fact that I’d like to be courted. Then I compromise on the fact that I’d like to be treated with common courtesy and decency. And before I know it, I’m in another relationship with another Rat Bastard all because I’m scared of (Gulp!) being alone.
I won’t do it. I’m tired of doing it. And I’d rather be alone, thank you. If that makes me bitter or “judgemental”, then I guess I’m okay with that.
I went tubing down the Comal River this weekend with Katina and some of her friends. Some of the friends of Katina’s that joined us rode in the same car and are her roommates at a sober house in Austin. So, Katina and the lovely young women who accompanied us are all recovering alcoholics. Since tubing is a water sport that is generally acknowledged to have some risk of drowning involved, people in Texas usually do this activity without life jackets, and preferably off your ass drunk. So, the first tubing trip sober was a milestone for all of them. I’ve been tubing down the Guadalupe once before, completely sober, as a volunteer with a church youth group, and I very nearly drowned. So, I wasn’t really tempted to drink even if it wouldn’t have been a social faux pas of the worst kind.
We got on the river in New Braunfels, and we arrived near noon and waited for the rest of our party. The rest of our party consisted of a female friend of Katina’s and mine, another female friend of hers, and the friend’s daughter in law, daughter in law’s best friend and daughter in law’s best friend’s boyfriend. I was there, and I’m confused.
We waited in line to get in that river in one hundred plus degrees heat for over two hours while two girls behind exactly two cash registers took money for what was probably tens of thousands of tube rentals. During this long wait we had time to unfortunately get well acquainted, by accident, with what must be the MOST OBNOXIOUS MAN ON THE PLANET. Just trust me when I say he was a pig (because I’ll spare you most of his conversation) with a large protruding belly and a pre-existing sunburn which was peeling underneath his thick white globs of sunblock. I lived for the moments when he decided that he couldn’t handle the sun anymore and slipped away to seek the shade.
Both of Katina’s young roommates are exceptionally pretty young women with rocking bodies who are under the age of 22. At one point in the afternoon, the MOST OBNOXIOUS MAN ON THE PLANET decided to focus his attention on one of them and chat her up. I watched this with hawk eyes, ready to step in and clobber him if necessary. Sadly, I realize that somewhere along the line I have turned into a crone.
I heard an oversimplified view once of the stages of a woman’s life. First she’s a girl, then she’s a mother, then she’s a crone. And then she dies. Somewhere along the line I skipped directly from girl straight to crone. Instead of fighting men away, I am busy guarding the “virtue” of women who are easily young enough to be my daughters. My young friend didn’t pay much attention to Obnoxious, and he had just enough social sense to take the hint.
They charge $11 per tube and $14 for the tubes with bottoms where you store your coolers full of beer, or, in our case, diet Cokes. It is a cheap activity, and it’s an effective way to cool off in the heat. The water in the river is cooled by a natural spring, so it’s plenty cold all year round. If you don’t already know, tubing involves floating down the river in an innertube. Most of the activity is very serene, but there are things they call tube shoots which are like log rides at Six Flags, only you could die. On the Comal River where we got on there were three of them. Now I’m not a big sissy about stuff like this. I have been white water rafting on a big river before, and that’s a lot scarier than tubing. Also, I’m a strong swimmer.
Still, these tube shoots are nothing to sneeze at. You can get carried along by the current and lose your entire group. You can flip and get stuck under your innertube, lose your innertube, or, worse, get stuck in the current when you go under. Tube shoots are probably a little more dangerous when the river is low like it is now. You have to worry about your ass scraping along the bottom of the river.
When we first got on the river, our little foursome immediately lost the rest of our group. Then there was the difficulty of actually sitting comfortably on the innertube, which requires coordination, something I don’t have. I think I’ve probably previously mentioned that I am what polite people like to refer to as a full figured woman. Also, I find the term, “fluffy” to be acceptable. Ah, hell! I’m a fat chick.
Katina had to hold the end of my innertube where my head was down in order for me to get both feet through my tube. There was also a brief moment of cringing humiliation when the lifeguards helping us over the second tube shoot shouted, “Big One!” right before I went over the drop. I’m sure that was just a coincidence.
All in all, though, I had a lovely time. I always enjoy hanging out with Katina, who is never dull. And I liked her young roommates. They were sweet. Except for the sunburn that I will write about in my next blog, it was a perfect summer weekend.