A few years ago I started working from home and discovered that my dog, Opie, had an obsession: me. He spent most of his day staring at me, and I’m sure he spent the night dreaming about me. Oftentimes I would wake up and he would be across the room just gazing at me. Just looking. Sometimes I wondered If I smelled funny, or looked like a pork-chop? Needless to say, it didn’t take long for me to become annoyed with him. Don’t get me wrong, I love the guy.
He is like a brother to me, which is another ordeal. I’m fairly convinced that since I didn’t get him until after he was 6 months old, our attachment was never solidified. Basically, we have ambivalent attachment. He could take me or leave me. Except he would never leave me when I’m in his sight, but he doesn’t quite take me either. I digress.
On pretty days I enjoy taking Opie to the dog park. This became a norm secondary to his unwavering longing to be me- or just stare at me- or eat me?? Directly next to the dog park is a playground for children. I’m not sure why I feel the need to specify that the playground was for children, but I bet it has something to do with the aging ‘baby boomers.’ Mark my words, there will be playgrounds for the older populations. In fact, I’m sure there already in some places.
Anyway, when in the dog park my favorite place to sit is on the benches closest to the playground. It serves two purposes: 1) it is furthest point from the people in the dog park, and 2) i can hear and see what goes on at the playground. I’m in a perfect limbo between little neurotic adults (kids) and the true rulers of humankind (dogs). It’s my favorite location.
I do want to note the parallels between the way my mother treated my brothers and I, and how I treat Opie. I can specifically remember my mother saying, “You’ve been inside all day, GO PLAY!” This usually happened before she locked the door so we were forced to “play” outside. Well, I do the same with Opie. By the time we make it to the dog park I’m fed up with him looking at me… “Just go play,” I always say. “Come back when you’re tired.”
Then I retreat to my perfect haven.
Recently I was sitting on my favorite bench reflecting on why I enjoy watching the children play. It thought came simply and quickly: I love watching kids fall. I fucking love it. The way they stride away from their parents so confidently then suddenly a sense of uncertainly consumes their little faces, followed by sheer terror when they’re falling. The interesting part is they either scream in terror or get up as if nothing happened.
Okay, now imagine adults. Similar scenario, older human. You are on your morning commute, walking through a crowded parking lot. You fall. You don’t really injure anything other than your pride. You may have been fearful, like the child, or you may have felt terror. Just like the child, you get up. The difference is, your day is ruined. Every. Single. One. of your insecurities rush to your head. You question why you’re in your profession, if your partner really loves you, and suddenly you question all cognitive abilities. WHY?
Why are adults so fragile and children so resilient? I love hearing the parents absolutely freak out when their child falls, but guess what, most of the time the kid will get up.
Of course, I’m not an exception to this logic. I would feel like a puddle of mud if I fell in front of people. Thus, I sit in between the groups (kids & dogs) that adults protect the most. I think there is more to learn from them anyway. So, if you fall through life just get back up. Just like children, we were made to fall.