photo: Blake Verdoorn

A slow, slimy dog

There is a dog, in this room, that is in your head.

There is a person too, not a whole person, just a mental image of a part of yourself, a part imagined as yourself. Therefore imagined as a whole, but as any projection of the mind, prone to the unavoidable subjectivity of the imagination. Segmented, faceted. The partial image of yourself is nervous, restless.

But, let me tell you about the dog, instead. It is old. It stinks, of wet carpet, maybe. Undoubtedly with some olfactory aftertaste resembling a mixture of mud and canine geriatric incontinence. Already the tail looks pathetic. The muzzle hanging. There is no puppy shine in the eyes. You are feeling better now about the story, because there is a dog in it, don’t you? I do.

I am a dog. I am a slow, slimy dog, it says. The dog of course does not speak in means of human language, but you know what it says. You have to love me, it says. The slime hanging from the cheeks is dull as the eyes are.

You pat the dog. You do not pat the dog, the image of a part of you is patting the dog in the room that is in your head.

The dog entered the room when the oh-so-familiar anxiety reentered the same space. But the dog is not so familiar. It is a new-comer to the room, the safety space of known tombs on the shelves, reading in a line: depression, anxiety, over analyzing. And the dog won’t let the self indulgent process develop, no. It stubs your leg, the imagined favorite business pant leg, now with traces of imagined nontransparent dog slime.

It wants that you love it. It will not succumb. It will not give you gratification for it. There is no ball catching perspective here. No tail wagging. This is not your puppy comfort. The nose is dry, but the mouth drops, drops, drops. Stubs bellow the knee. So you pat the dog.

You wish it would sit down, that you would sit down, you would light a cigarette then, and look at the horizon, while patting the dog. But the dog doesn’t believe in Paulo-Coelhian substitutes for real life joy. So it just pushes the hanging muzzle against your shin. And you pat the stinking top of its head. You give love to the dog.

And somewhere, outside of the room that is in your head, you are ready to go to sleep. The love giving is exhausting. You do not have any energy left for anxious circular projections. Who called the dog anyway? It steps on the breaks of your favorite vice, that is worrying about things. But it’s demands are non-negotiable. So you pat the dog, and give love to it.

It is, after all, inside a room that is in your head ergo a part of yourself, maybe even the part that is missing from the mental image of yourself in the very same room. The part that might make the mental image more of a whole and less of a projection of a whole.

So you pat the dog.

It is not exciting. It is not rewarding. The dog knows no tricks, and, being old, it will not learn any new.

But it is yours to be pat and loved. And that just might be a new trick for your own you to learn.

I’m sorry anxiety. There is a dog to be pat, here, in this room, that is me.