A very unfunny story. — The Social Experience
Last night at 1:00AM we awoke to the Big Bad Wolf pounding on our back door. Disoriented, groggy, and quite unnerved, Adam and I go to the back door and turn on the porch light. "Who is it?" Adam growled. I bend the metal shades back and just as I do an unwelcome but familiar face pops into view. "It's me, Shaun!"
Shaun. Shaun lived downstairs for a period of time last year, couch surfing in his friend Chris's basement apartment. His story was that he and his wife were going through some marital problems and so he packed his car, along with his pug dog named Angel, and drove cross-country from New York state all the way to Oregon. We hung out with Shaun a few times, nice enough guy but an untrustworthy character who could never remember my name and who always looked stoned. He moved out of the basement last fall, found his own apartment somewhere, and we've rarely seen him since. There was an unusual instance last winter wherein he showed up at our door with his in-from-out-of-town wife and wanted the four of us to go sight-seeing in the mountains the next day. We agreed to it but promptly canceled that morning, afraid of the chainsaw and shovel I imagined him hiding in his trunk.
I open the back door, squinting into the harsh brightness of our porch light and immediately notice that not only is Shaun standing on our back porch, but so is a police officer. In fact, Shaun is in handcuffs. His tale of woe is this, while he and his dog are driving a "friend" home he is pulled over, for what reason I don't know, and the police discover he is wanted in New York for some DUI's. And so now, the Oregon police are shipping him back to New York. He asks, "can you take care of Angel?" The pug named Angel is standing there, besides the officer, staring longingly into our apartment, of which I'd never before allowed her to enter. Our downstairs neighbors did not answer the door, despite the police officer's best efforts to huff and puff and blow the door in, with his fists, and Chris's car is gone. Shaun goes on to say, "If you don't take her they'll send her to the pound! Don't let Angel go to the pound." Surprised by the request I respond, "I can't take your dog, I have two cats, I have no where to put her, she'll whine all night." Shaun begs, "Chris will want her but he's not home, it's just for the night, please don't let her go to the pound." This back and forth goes on for a few more minutes, Shaun is pleading with me, I am standing there conflicted and anticipating the guilt of the wrong decision. Finally I agree. We'll take the dog. We'll figure something out. Have a nice life in jail.
We close the back door and now a pug named Angel is standing in our kitchen at 1:00AM looking up at me expectantly. What the hell do I do now? After moments of blankly staring at her ugly pug face I decide to barricade her in the kitchen for the night by placing my dining room table on its side and up against the door that leads to the rest of the apartment, and then to lock my cats in the back half of the apartment where the bedroom and office are. I provide all of the animals involved with food and water, the cats with litter, the dog with a trip outside, and after composing a note to place on the basement door that says something to the effect of, "Come and get this dog immediately", we finally go back to sleep. Then the whining begins. The barking. The howling. The scratching at the back door. For hours this goes on. Neither my soothing voice of comfort or my big mean scary monster voice dissuades her from making every horrible noise in her vocal range. I manage to sleep for 10 to 20 minutes at a time, mostly between howling fits, and somehow the long agonizing night passes into dawn and at 7:00AM there is a very quiet and almost hesitant knock at the back door. I leap out of bed and run into the kitchen shouting "Thank god" and open the door to one of Chris's roommates standing there with our note in his hand. Angel shoots forth from the open kitchen door like an arrow that had been drawn back for far too long. The roommate scoops her up and apologizes for the unfortunate events that we were pulled into, he says, "I'll take her downstairs, Chris should be home soon". And with that I shut the door and try to sleep for the hour I have left before my 8:00AM chiropractor appointment. I lay down in bed, relieved, that is, until I hear the howling. Muffled now, by the layers of flooring between me and my nemesis, but still enough to keep my tired eyes open.
And this is how my 30th birthday began. With with howling from a dog named Angel, ushering me into the dawn.
Hark! The herald Angel (pug) sings! Glory to the 30-year-old thing!
Happy birthday, Heather. Welcome to your third decade. And if you should start to feel like you're getting old in a way that turning 29 did not make you feel, just remember that 30 is a noteworthy number only because we have ten fingers, thus inspiring our clever but no-less-mammalian ancestors to devise the base-ten numeric system. Otherwise, it's utterly arbitrary, no more worthy of special distinction than 27 or 44 or 32.
Seems such a surprise that this Chris and his wife should be having issues - he sounds like such a stand-up, responsible guy.
DUI is extremely high on my list of the most despicable non-violent crimes a person can commit, if not at the very top. I remember about a year ago there was a regular player at my poker game who mangled his right hand and shoulder after his drunken ass drove off the road and his car literally rolled twice before slamming into a tree. While everyone else gave him words of encouragement and well-wishes, I had absolutely no sympathy for him and in fact made no effort to mask my contempt. I was relieved not that he wasn't more severely injured but only that he hadn't injured anyone else. We all encounter enough instances in our lives of subjecting our own well-being to the idiocy of others; drunk drivers add to this a layer of idiocy as preventable as it is breathtakingly stupid. I've never understood those people who make excuses like, "Well, how am I supposed to get home from bars if no one's with me and I have no public transit option?" Answer: You don't go to the fucking bar then, you mental-ten-year-old! Selfishness, disregard for consequences, and an indirect-but-resounding "you don't fucking matter" attitude to every other driver on (or pedestrian by) the road.
Were I not also helplessly sympathetic to the plights of animals, I would have been tempted to say, in response to his pleas to keep Angel out of the pound, that she can join all the other animals in the pound that found their way there after their owners were killed by drunks behind the wheel.
angel sounds like a human baby.
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