Sunday, April 28, 2013

Lucky Dog

The 'Murican Dream says if you get a jurb and pull yurself up from ur bootstraps, you'll make a name for urself and have it all.

Fuck  that. Not everybody has to work hard to get ahead in life. A lot of it has to do with luck. Sheer, dumb, unbiased luck.

A clover or horsehoe doesn't care who the fuck your parents are
or how hard you've worked. Its alignment is True Neutral.

Story time.

I was cleaning the apartment the other day in preparation for a Star Trek themed party (no  joke), and one of the things I was doing was laundry (because the shirt I wanted to wear was dirty). This involves going outside to the laundry room for our apartment's unit. After switching my wet clothes into the dryer, I came back inside and  went straight to my bedroom to put away the clean clothes; then I started  cleaning the bathroom. When I went back into the living room to put away one of the bottles of cleaner, I noticed the front door looked... odd. And it was quiet in the apartment- too quiet. As in I couldn't hear River. Sure enough, there was a River-sized opening at the door.


I scrambled and put on shoes and a sweater, stuffed some Beggin'Strips, her favorite frisbee, her leash, and my cell phone into my pockets, and I ran outside. But after a few minutes of crying and calling for her, I realized she could have been out for twenty minutes, maybe more. So I had no idea which direction to even start in a search for her. And being on foot, I was a million times slower than she could go. I felt so incredibly guilty for doing  it, but I came to the conclusion that the best thing I could do was go home and wait for someone to call- all of my info is on her tag, she's microchipped, and she has a tag from the Humane Society still. So as long as she was found by someone with a fraction of a heart, I'd get her back.

But sitting at home like that was awful. I called and texted a few people for advice, but 
sitting at home waiting, I started having a panic attack. I couldn't breathe, my chest hurt, my head was exploding. There were so many cars out, what if she was run over? What if she was found by someone that wanted to keep her? What if she got lost and fell into the Wabash and didn't know how to swim, or got sick? So I eventually started trying to find someone that could drive me around to look for her.

Then I heard two things simultaneously:  The recycling truck, and barking. Oh God, please let that be her. I hadn't even taken anything out of my pockets yet (too busy freaking out), so I ran back outside and, sure enough, there she was, in the parking lot, barking at the truck (because, you know, she could totally take a recycling truck). I called to her from the top of the stairs, and she looked at me, then turned and barked more at the truck. I called again, waving her frisbee, and she took a step closer, looking a little curious... then bolted to the side and out of my sight.  Damnit. I did my best to keep my voice sweet and level, but I know I sounded a little desperate as I called to her again. As soon as she could see me, I waved the BegginStrips, and this time, she got this, "Meh, that's acceptable," look and trotted to me. I swear, had she been capable of shrugging her shoulders, she would have.

I sobbed and held her there on the ground, in the middle of the parking lot, for a few minutes. The recycling dudes were laughing at me the whole time. I didn't care. I had River back.

I realize I got lucky. Really lucky. That she came back,  that I heard her barking, that I at least had  enough sense to grab some BegginStrips.

And River was lucky. That she hadn't been run over. That it wasn't wet and rainy and she didn't get sick, or so hot she became dehydrated. 

I know a lot  of my life has been the result of shitty hands being dealt to me, but a lot of it is also the opposite- some fucking fantastic cards have crossed  my hand. 

^I was born to a mom that loves me and that eventually married a guy that loved me, too. They always put my (and my siblings') needs before theirs when I was still living in-house. Even when it was the darkest, I never felt unloved. And this helped shape me as the loving person I am today.

^I was in a terrible school district in 5th-12th grade, but I just happened to be at the middle school with the best orchestra, which got me into the best high school in the state. I was also lucky in that the school district paid for me to borrow a cello the whole time- I haven't heard of a single other school district (or even individual school) that would provide instruments for check-out, free of charge, to students enrolled in music classes, but, there you go. Luck.

^My younger siblings were born with anomalous characteristics, and while one view of this is that it sucks, I never think of it that way. Some of the circumstances that have resulted suck, but that's not nearly the same thing, and I resent anyone that has ever asked me if I'd go back and "fix" them. I love them for who they are and wouldn't change them. And taking care of them, watching them and helping them grow, experiencing their joy and pain, has also helped shape me. I'm lucky to have a brother with autism, because it has helped me learn that acceptance runs deep, and love, real love, is unconditional. I'm lucky to have a little sis with anxiety and  tourette syndrome cause it taught me patience and gentility. And also how to survive in a survival horror game.

^The college I wanted to go to the most just happened to also give me the best financial aid package- which I had been told would be the determinant for what place I ended up going. One of the progenitors of Magic: The Gathering  just happened to be an alum, as was the inventor of the board game Robo Rally. Oh, and Adam Fucking West. (And I should prolly mention William O. Douglas, too.)

^There just so happened to be a position opening up in the classroom I volunteered in as I was graduating, so that paraeducator job pretty much just fell out of the sky and into my lap. Hell, the principal approached me about it. I was really lucky that Soandso just happened to be retiring right at that moment.

^A friend from undergrad just happened to be doing some environmental conservation science-ee stuff at my now graduate university, and so I just applied for their political science program for the heck of it- and got offered a fellowship to attend. Sure, I had to write the essay, but  what are the odds I'd randomly apply and it would be the only place to offer me a good financial package, too? The only other place that let me in (I applied to ten graduate programs and was rejected by eight) would have required more loans out of me in one year than I had accumulated all four years of undergrad. Hells no.

^Also, I think it's lucky that every law school I applied to turned me down.

^My current chair's chair was my hero in political theory- reading her work as an undergrad genuinely changed my personal philosophy and influences like every paper I write, comment I post online about social justice, the very way in which I view the world and my purpose within it. And she was my main adviser's adviser- and I found out while we were buying coffee together partway through our second year together! "You know, Iris was my chair, right?" I actually fell into the dude in the line in front of me. No wonder we jive so well! That's pure luck and coincidence. I had nothing to do with that. 

^I get along well enough and with enough people here to get through the rough stuff, and I know that some of the friendships I've made here will be ones I try to hold onto even after we end up geographically separated. That may sound weird, but I find myself very lucky to have been able to find the scant number of decent human beings amidst the vast majority of arrogant blowhards that seem to dominate every discipline at the graduate level. This isn't even an indictment of my own  department, per se- I think that, mostly, you just need a certain kind of personality to want to go to grad school, and that often comes with a lot of, um, negative character traits, or at least less-than-desirable tendencies. 

^I'm also quite fortunate in that, should I continue on this academic path, I could definitely fill a niche in my discipline and perhaps have it kind of easy because of the subject matter- nobody does it, so I could make a bunch of shit up and they'd think I was pooping gold. Which sometimes  makes me feel really dirty, but I fortunately also have enough integrity to still be sure what I postulate is legit and not just some random assertion I'm yanking out of my posterior. 

^Academia could probably satisfice. I'd have to find the right job, focused mostly on teaching and being able to just spew out normative theory all the time, but I think it's doable. And I'm lucky in that- this crap isn't for everyone,  and while I really don't feel like it's for me at the end of the day, there's probably the potential for there to be enough that I could be at least not be entirely unhappy someday, should I get this Ph.D. I'm working on right now. 

But  now to throw a monkey wrench in all this luck business. When I was despairing over River the other day, I started cursing God and asking Him why He'd do this to me. I haven't really "talked to" God in ages, but  being so distraught and upset brought me back there. I wanted to blame someone, so I blamed Him. Because I already felt like  a terrible mom, so I had to remove some of the guilt. 

And remember how earlier I had said, "Oh God, please let that be her,"? Well, I had meant it. I was begging for it to be her.

And then when I found her, I kept saying, "Thank you," into her fur. But  it wasn't to her I was talking. It was to God, the universe, the wind... I'm not sure. I just  had to say it  aloud because I really was so grateful to have my baby  back. 

I haven't talked  much (yet) about my faith and lackthereof. I'm not really in the mood to get into that right now. But I'll say this: Even if there's some Big Dude In The Sky represented by "God" pulling my strings, I've at least been lucky enough that they haven't made my entire life a living Hell. I've had plenty of happy times, and plenty to be grateful for has come my way.

And I feel lucky about that. 


  1. What a beautiful and positive post, dear.

    On a less positive note, you should call the city and complain about the inappropriate behavior of those employees. Who the hell laughs at someone chasing a dog? When I was chasing River that one time other people were concerned and helping! WTF dudes?

  2. Oh I doubt anything would happen to them. Besides, those dudes prolly make more than I/we do.