There is a YouTube video of uncertain origin that tells that on the 9th day God made a dog to be man’s companion. In that vein this morning I wrote about my dog, Tiger.
Tiger has been ill for several weeks, wetting his bed and then after several vet visits, vomiting throughout the house. I have been overwhelmed with laundry and worry and have paid money I don’t have to try and find out what is wrong. Buried deep inside my fragile heart is the awareness that he is 13 and while he is snaggle-toothed, grizzled and ornery at times I am not ready to contemplate life without him. He has been my walking mate, my reason to slough off my urge to remain in bed, curled up in a ball; he has been my clock and my compass.
I have changed my morning routine to try and fix the wetting and am realizing that in doing so I am fixing myself. Today we were out early in the morning darkness before even the birds had begun their songs. The skies were just beginning to lighten and it was quiet. Quiet except for the rustle of the leaves beneath his paws. I was glad for my jacket as there was an autumnal crispness in the air. We walked along familiar paths and I was reminded of the gift of this dog. Given out of spite and bitterness he is so affirming in his simple needs.
I GET to walk Tiger. Rarely a chore; it is a meditation, a part of my day to center on the simple things, the changing leaves, the trees against the sky, the noisy birds and chittering squirrels. To put foot in front of foot, to walk, to stroll, to make our way around my not so new neighborhood, greeting people and waving to others with their dogs out in the slowly brightening day. I feel the wind at my back and turn my face to the rising sun and think yes…..God Made a dog.
Why does Sunday always go so fast? I spent yesterday wallowing in bed feeling sorry for myself until I finally roused and got up, dressed and walked the dog. I then headed out to shop for a new cellphone case since I had my brand new smartphone that needed protecting. I puttered around in 5Below because I didn’t want to spend any real money on a case until I knew what kind I wanted. I was feeling better and spent the rest of the evening reading and finishing Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness. I am in the que at the library for the final volume and so far 90th in line. I may break down and order it from Amazon along with some cases for the phone. I hate spending money but this Friday is the resumption of my every other week paychecks and I’m feeling reckless. Reckless as in spending 40 bucks on a book and several cases. Which in my current state of penury is wild abandon.
I’ve been a bit low and I know why. I’m remembering where I was a year ago and while I’m glad that mess is all behind me it also marks a year since I met my friend. And we are friends. And I know I want more from him and he can’t do that. He has never promised or hinted or suggested more would ever happen and I respect that about him. But I’m sad. He is not the one I would have picked but getting to know him well has made me think it could work. But as they say “that dog won’t hunt”. And I have almost convinced myself that having him as a friend is better than nothing. But not really…..
The time had finally come for me to give up on my simple ‘dumbphone’ and make the inevitable switch to a so-called smart phone. I had been teased and heckled by my friends long enough. But my real motivation was the phone was starting to act wonky and shutting down when I slide the keyboard shut and the recent surge in butt dials was unacceptable. So I began the process. Ugh…..it is as bad as buying a car and just as confusing. I narrowed down my choices to an android based phone and decided to stay with my current carrier. I had no fear of a two year contract because I know I’m not going to be hungering after the newest update. It will take me two years to learn how to use this phone. Next I shopped deals and then called my friend to see if he was interested in dinner and fondling phones. He was and picked me and we headed to Sam’s Club.
He is the polar opposite of me with technology and has even written a book about operating systems. Whatever that means. He has teased me playfully about my dinosaur phone and was helpful about the various models and companies. He has huge beautiful hands and all the cell phones looked tiny in his paws. His phone is practically a tablet and way too big for me. But I settled on a different model and then the fun began finding a plan and getting all the paperwork and syncing done. And this is when I had an epiphany. Throughout the lengthy, thoroughly annoying process he never got antsy, or wandered away or expressed annoyance or anger. I apologized for the length of time and he simply said “no problem” and meant it. There was no zooming around the warehouse, ditching me and running around like a rat in a maze. No berating me for not knowing something or saying negative things. No complaints about the time spent or the money (okay it is my money but still) and the process became a fun diversion on a weeknight and a revelation to me. After the purchase was completed we went out for food and while I was in line he messaged my new phone and over our salads he patiently and sweetly led me through a series of lessons to learn about my phone. I was so overcome with the generosity of his spirit and time that I nearly kissed him but didn’t because we are simply friends. But I learned that I am worthy of being treated nicely and his gift of quality time and act of service was worth more than any tangible present or idly said words. He gets me and I am thankful for him in my life………a good friend is priceless.
Like many categorizing systems, the separatist thinking behind them attempts to firmly place us in one container or another. The flaw in these types of systems is that they don’t always take into account the middle areas of the spectrum. And any system is just that: a spectrum. I’ve long stated with unequivocal certainty that I’m introverted. My friends, however, look at me askance, because I’m actually very fun-loving and outgoing when I need to be. So on that introvert/extravert spectrum, I fall somewhere to the introverted side, but exhibit limited extroverted tendencies. Here is an article found on Thought Catalog by Brianna West that I have updated to reflect this:
1. You’re not anti-social, you’re selectively social. It’s not that you don’t like going out, it’s that you are very choosy about when, where, and for how long.
2. At any given point, you have one (maybe two) best friends who are your entire life. You’re not a “group of friends” person. You can’t keep up with all that. This small group are those you know well, trust implicitly, and with whom you feel the most comfortable.
3. Social gatherings that are supposed to be “rites of passage” like prom and dances and other such typical nonsense is just… not for you. You don’t understand it. You want nothing to do with it. You don’t need a flimsy reason to go out, and these events seem just like that to you.
4. When you do choose to grace a party with your presence, you are the life of it. You’re dancing on the table and doing body shots until 3 a.m. This is not to imply that you’re arrogant or snooty…it’s just that once you decide to commit to it, you actually commit to it.
5. … You then retreat into three days of complete solitude to recover. Naturally.
6. You go out of your way to avoid people, but when you inevitably have to interact with them, you make it seem like there’s nothing in the world you’d rather be doing. Because you are such an active and interested listener, you are able to fully focus on others when you find them interesting and engaging. That is, you don’t participate in small talk (and why should you?), but if it’s a topic you’re truly interested in, you’re an amazing conversational partner.
7. Dating is weird, because you’re smiling and laughing and talkative at dinner, and then you don’t want to answer their texts for days, because like, you just want to be left alone… And there’s nothing wrong with that.
8. You’re accused of being flirty with everybody, which is hilarious, because in reality, you can only tolerate like four people. Flirting is your way of being in control of social situations. For you are not entirely comfortable in such settings many times, you can always find a way to make it bearable.
9. You retain an air of mystery about you, completely unintentionally. (There’s no mystery. You just feel no need to update the social sphere on what’s going on in your life every two hours.) You can blame reality television for others’ need to continually provide updates on every little thing they’re doing, because non-introverts often act as if they’re appearing on their own reality show.
10. Not to mention the fact that you either have days in which you’re tweeting and status updating every five minutes… or you delete your accounts for a month. We’ve all done it. Sometimes, you just. need. a break.
11. You become unintentionally awkward because you at once feel the need to be a social life jacket for other people, though you’re just as uncomfortable yourself. You are sensitive to the discomfort of others, so often because it reflects you’re own discomfort in such settings. But you’ve developed you own personal safety feature to rescue yourself, and therefore cannot abide by allowing others to suffer through the same intense feelings.
12. You’ve never really understood the whole “introvert vs. extrovert” dichotomy (can we call it that?) Because you’re… both… And that’s where the term “ambivert” comes in. No one truly falls on that spectrum at the extreme ends of it.
13. You’re always run through the ringer because people think you’re best suited to be the one who gives the presentation, confronts the boss, gives the speech, etc. Meanwhile, you’re practically throwing up over the thought of it. Your choice to keep to yourself often gives others the impression — wrong or right — that you are much more capable of saying things to others, and that they’ll listen…because you speak so infrequently, your words carry more weight.
14. You ebb and flow between wanting to be noticed for your hard work, reveling in the attention and achievement you receive, to sinking and panicking over the thought of somebody else paying more than 30 seconds of attention to you. You prefer to operate behind the scenes. Let the extroverts take the spotlight. That’s where they thrive.
15. The entirety of your being is a conundrum, so needless to say, indecisiveness is your Achilles’ Heel. This is not always true. Many introverts are fully capable of being decisive. But when it comes to leaving your comfort zone, you really have to wait until you determine how prepared you are to participate. And sometimes, that doesn’t come until the last minute.
16. You’re at your happiest in places like coffee shops and cafés: surrounded by people, but still closed off and keeping to yourself. In this way, you can feel like you’re part of the crowd without actually having to immerse yourself in it.
17. You prefer to travel alone, but meet up with people once you’re there, on your own terms and at your own speed. Not only in traveling, but in most situations, you prefer to be in control of your comfort levels.
18. It’s taken you years to figure out that you’re different than many introverts you know. Literally years. Because the spectrum has always been presented as either/or, you may not have realized that ambivert was also a choice. Until now.
19. While we were chastised as children for daydreaming, we do so deliberately as adults, as our inner lives are rich, fertile, and sustain us. And daydreaming doesn’t necessarily mean that your head is in the clouds. It also means that you could be contemplating issues that no one else is aware that you even know about. And then you come up with — as if out of the blue — stunning solutions that no one else had taken the time to think through.
I’ve been away from this blog for over a month. I think this must be the longest hiatus since I started writing three years ago. I don’t know if I have run out of words, run out of interest or just run out of steam. I just feel so damn weary as this divorce mess continues to drag on. Now my Hex is trying to sabotage my filing for bankruptcy. How much more can I take? He has driven me to my knees, bankrupted me financially and drained me emotionally. He has poisoned my son against me and tries to punish my daughter for continuing to have me in her life.
I try and focus on all the good things in my life and there are many. Too many to number but late at night as I turn down my bed I realize how lonely I am. I miss a significant other in my life. I am weary of pretending to be so strong for so long. I want to be held and rocked and told that everything is going to be all right. I want someone to care about how my day was and offer soothing platitudes to my little miseries. I want to be missed when I am away and to be greeted with happiness when I return.
A song of ascents.
1I lift up my eyes to the mountains—
where does my help come from?
2My help comes from the Lord,
the Maker of heaven and earth.
3He will not let your foot slip—
he who watches over you will not slumber;
4indeed, he who watches over Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.
5The Lord watches over you—
the Lord is your shade at your right hand;
6the sun will not harm you by day,
nor the moon by night.