Life has taught me not to hold my breath. ♦
This past autumn, I housesat. On the roster- two dogs, one cat, a bunny, a bird, and a beta. Here! This is Raskey, he made like glue, and Annie, she wasn’t far behind. I was never cold with these two around. I just love hot dogs.
Everyone should know their own name, yes? And fine feathered friends should be no different. I’d sit right up against the bird’s cage, peering in and calling out “casa,” fully expecting a “blanca” in response from the lovely little creature, appropriately white with a smattering of Crayola Sky Blue feathers. Though apparently, she didn’t wanna play it again. Ate up the attention, at least. As well as a strand of my hair.
I headed to the front door, unprepared to greet betrayal.
So, I’d done my duty, wrapped up my time sitting, and was all set to head out on the last day. It was a rainy one, and I’d stopped in over lunch with takeout chicken in tow. Hungry doggy eyes followed my every bite with laser precision to the very last. Tied up the bag of leftovers for disposal in the outdoor can. After saying “goodbyes” to my animal troupe and double checking this and that, I headed to the front door, unprepared to greet betrayal. I set the alarm, opened the door a tad, and- VWOOM, THEY WERE GONE! Nothing like double dachshunds bolting through your legs to make you feel completely powerless.
Standing in the driveway, attempting to assess the situation, the rain came down, and the dogs circled ever farther into the sprawling neighborhood beyond. I could see and hear the highway a short ways away. Calling them increased the frolic- walking towards, walking away, darting attempts- nothing was working. Then, they’re gone. Whatever to do … there’s rustling, plastic … wonderful wind rustled plastic! I untied the bag, began to bend down and outta nowhere run the pups straight at me. At the chicken! God bless chicken remnants! Suckers. Gotcha. Slippery wet little devils followed their noses and that bag right back into the house where they went on to nap with visions of chicken thumbs dancing in their heads, I’m sure. There’s a protein-based lesson here about hotdogs (all beef) and chicken, I just know it. ♦
A self-imposed ban, it was. For several months- last year’s ending, this year’s beginning- I put the kibosh on all further posts until I completed a chunk of to-doing needing to be done. The result, post, I did not, though, a tumbling of thoughts still came and now reside in various states of completion, most often recorded in the wee hours of the morning, scrawled out in the dark on the nightstand notepad, easing the frenzy of thought in the moment at least, and done with a hope and prayer for legibility come daylight. Among such thoughts, the rending of heart I experienced in viewing the movie Bug some time back now. Packaged to look like just another in the line of horror flicks, I found it offered a most unexpected lesson.
A lonely woman, Agnes, played by the oh-so-lovely Ashley Judd, lives in a run-of-the-mill motel room. Through her one and only friend, she meets a drifter named Peter played by Michael Shannon, and in the want of a companion and the need of a connection, the two quickly bond. Her troubled history as a victim of spousal abuse and the devastating loss of a child have crippled her emotionally, and she’s easily susceptible to what is revealed as Peter’s fixation on the Army, on his belief that they’ve done multiple experimental tests on him, specifically, placed tiny bugs under his skin, with the intent to find and follow him anywhere and everywhere. A case of folie à deux takes hold, it seems, “a madness shared by two,” in which a paranoid or delusional belief is transmitted from one individual to another. Oh, what the mind will create, what it will fill in to meet the needs of the heart!
As the story builds, a sickening compulsion to free themselves of the bugs sets in under a heavy blanket of paranoia. There comes a heightened, feverishly climactic point where Agnes and Peter are feeding off each other intellectually, birthing all these ideas, and my God, he was so lovin’ her, she’d rung his bell, drank the kool-aid, took the cart and ran all the way to China, and I was laid low with realization. So damaged were they, that when presented with the fulfillment of their afore mentioned want and need, that of companionship and connection, they blew right past it, letting it all go in a lust to carry out their fixation, ultimate bug removal, annihilation. The credits rolled and I sat on the brink of tears feeling very much that Bug was an absolute love story, at its very core, an entreaty to care for one another.
He spoke of the very thing I’d taken from the story, his hope that the film would implore others to take better care of one another.
Ended up watching the special features (nevermind that I always watch them) in hopes of catching a glimmer of validation in my analytical pondering. Turns out the movie was based on a play, the script adapted by the playwright, and starred none other than Michael Shannon in the role of Peter for many, many a performance, over the course of a few years, in fact. That certainly explains away what I noted as the single most at ease and seemingly comfortable performance in the buff by an actor I’ve seen in an American feature film to date. In Shannon’s summation via featurette, he spoke of the very thing I’d taken from the story, his hope that the film would implore others to take better care of one another.
Truly, there is such a need present in this world to do just that, take care, care of one another. Because we’re busy, it’s inconvenient, we often put it off, placating any guilt with starry-eyed resolutions to do it all “when.” When there’s time, when we’ve finished “abc”, when we feel like it. Though to that, I ask, when will we be busy, when will it ever again not be inconvenient, when will there be time enough, not another “xyz” on the heels of that “abc”, and when will many, if any, ever feel like it? I ask that of myself, most of all, as I’ve been far too scattered in consistently balancing this, that, and the other over the last few passing years to the detriment of those I would and should be better spending my time on, and with. Sometimes feel like I’ve tried to take a fraction, that of one-third, and turn it to a decimal, 0.3333333 … and am stuck on the infinity of .3333333 … can I just round up, already? To a place that’s whole, with minimal daily foofah, where I’m not mired down and overly contained in caring for the business of “me,” for, there are matters of greater importance, more hearts for engaging and though this particular one may get tromped on in the process, the rewards are worth it. Not every time, but enough of the time. I want less of me, and more, much more, of others. ♦