Friday, January 23, 2015
Because I'm a control freak. Because I hate being put on the spot. Because it will take me a day to think of a good comeback. Because sometimes the only thing you can do is curl up into the fetal position and wait for the surprise to disappear. Because I hate change. Because once it happens, it is over, and where do you go from there?
Now when people think of surprises, they think of good ones. A diamond ring dangled on a proposal, a birthday party, an unexpected windfall, a vacation, a raise, a new car, a present of some kind. All of these are good things, great things even, but still things I don't want to be surprised about. On the rare occasion when someone has said to me "I've got a surprise for you", my stomach knotted and I prepared for the worst. I have always hated surprises.
To me, the only good surprise is being scared shitless. Does that even count as a surprise? I don't know but that adrenaline rush from someone jumping out at you in a haunted house is excellent! That I can take. There's nothing in this world that can match being scared to death.
I don't know why I've always hated surprises. I don't know if there was something that happened in my childhood that since has rested dormant in the repressed recesses of my mind, lying in wait for a good hypnosis to jerk it back to the forefront of my reality. Maybe a creepy clown jumped out at one of the birthday parties I attended as an incredibly introverted child and scared the dread of surprises into me. Or maybe someone said that to me with a very different idea of what constitutes a good surprise, and it left a sourness in my throat. Or still maybe it's because I hate being the center of attention, all eyes on me, because that's what a surprise does. It marches you to the front of the classroom where those privy to the secret watch with baited breath for your reaction...which is what? Disbelief? Happiness? Disappointment? Feigned joy? Chants of "Speech, speech!" ring out for you to comment on this horrid encounter you've just been tossed into against your will. Well, I really can't recall, I just know I hate them.
I quite enjoy quiet surprises--when I found out the gender of my babies, either through birth or the doctor, waking up to three inches of snow and a quiet world, getting an email from someone I thought had forgotten about me and finding out they missed me, too. Are those surprises or unexpected events? Are they one in the same? I may never know, but since I enjoy them by myself in peace and privacy, they are good.
I will never be a fan of surprises. They mostly fall short of what I really want, and I don't want to hurt anyone's feelings, or pretend that I love what I don't. And what do I want? For someone to understand this about me and accept it. That would be a good surprise.
It is another cold, rainy day in Georgia. My backyard is pine straw and mud, which means when the dogs go out and actually venture off the deck, they usually are waiting by the door with muddy paws. That's 16 hairy feet I have to wipe before they can enter. They are usually fairly good about waiting their turn, they know the order, and although they hate when I do it they know it has to be done. Because sometimes life is messy. Sometimes its soggy. Sometimes it's dirty paws.
With a puppy in the house (Crash, my grand-puppy, almost a year old but it will be hard to think of him as anything but a puppy no matter how big he gets) sometimes the order turns to chaos. Sometimes he refuses to leave the deck until he absolutely cannot hold his bladder or his bowels another second. Sometimes one of them poos on the deck itself. We make our guesses but just like with kids no one's talking and everyone looks kind of guilty except Jack who just looks oblivious so you can either yell at all of them or none of them. I choose the latter. Poo on the deck is the least of my worries. Coming home to poo in the living room, and dining room, and hallway...well, that's another story to be dealt with on another day. Sometimes in his mad dash for his best bud Maggie (who sometimes doesn't go down but watches over the rest with a powerful stance, sniffing the air, sometimes pacing, ever-protective of her best bud Crash) Crash will fly right past the other dogs and me, leaving small muddy prints from the sliding door until landing in the recliner, his refuge when his Grandma starts yelling. There he sits with an innocent look on his little adorable black face, as if saying "It wasn't me. I was in the chair. See?" He hates when I yell, he hates to get in trouble, and fortunately for him he's so damned cute no one can stay mad at him for long. Not even when he lunged at my face and hit my nose with his teeth, leaving a bruising mark and tenderness for a couple of weeks. He was playing of course, with his usual puppy exuberance, and I certainly can't fault him for that. But still, I'm left with his paw print trail, and if there's one thing I can tire of quickly it's cleaning up after dogs. I know, I know, I bring that on myself, but it doesn't mean I have to like it.
But that's what happens. Things get marked, they get dirty, dingy, fogged, and we have two choices--leave it and live in the muck and mire, or grab a rag, some cleaner, and get down there and wipe it up. Sometimes it takes quite a bit of muscle, scrub a dub dub, and sometimes it doesn't completely come out. I no longer remember the original shade of my carpet, but it never ceases to amaze me that almost every new house comes with light colored carpet. Really? That seems like a good idea NEVER. One answer would be imitation hardwood, but with that comes other issues, like furball tumbleweeds, toenail scratches, dogs slipping and sliding...well, it's always something. That's life, after all. If it's not one thing it's another. If you've cleaned it up, chances are it's gonna get dirty again, and so begins still another repeatable cycle in your own little circle of life, and as much as I tire of cleaning paws I am thankful that I'm still able to do it. I can get down on the floor and get back up again, with relative ease and range of motion. I can chase that puppy and get him chasing me. I can still do what needs to be done to keep that cycle going, one of many in my circle of life. I'm grateful. I'm 48 with all of my original equipment, and I can emphatically state beyond a shadow of a doubt that nothing else I've owned still works after 48 years. My Presto Air Popper came close, at 20+ years...my marriage is going on 30, also quite the feat, but sadly no cigar. I would love to squeeze another 48 years out of my circle, but I plan to make the most out of whatever I have left. Life is for the living. Breath is for the breathing. Dirty paws and all.