One Neurotic Dog

Now, don’t get me wrong. I am calling Charlie neurotic, but in all reality, it may also be me. We are one pair, for sure, both chock full of weirdness. 

So, here I am with Charlie the incredible anxiety ridden spastic dog. Charlie is a medium sized poodle, which means high energy and smart as a whip. He has a history, as we all do, and has had a lot of transition lately. To top it off, he is also a little older. The first two days of our time together were a little rough, with him acting out, any and all undesirable behaviors coming to the forefront. Pointless barking, obsessive pacing, compulsive licking of anything in range. Yeah, he was a hot mess.

Then again, so was I. As soon as I arrived in this city, my anxiety went up. The cars, the traffic, the roads, the people, the cars. I could see the mountains, in the distance, but I was not experiencing them. I was excited to see my friends and spend some time before they left. I was happy to help them pack and prepare and give them a less-stressful send off. But, man, coming to the city was a rough transition for me. 

I had some shopping to do, so I went to the mall. I quickly became overwhelmed. I mean, sensory and vibrational overload. People walking around oblivious to the mountains of excess in their midst. I was there to get new bras. I have been carting around my bras and worked them hard this summer. I treat myself to new bras every few years. I will pay more for good quality and I know I will use them hard. Anyway, I got help from a pleasant saleswoman who guided me like a boss and I got a good deal.  

After, I came back to the house and hid. I had to decompress from a trip to the mall. I can hear Charlie in my head, “Whose neurotic now?” True, little dog, very true. What has happened? Why is this so difficult? Like I have never been to a city before? In all honesty, this has happened to me before. My former spouse and I went on a motorcycle trip around the Dominican Republic. This was one of those organized tours with a group of free wheeling motorcyclists. The bikes were on site and, with a few minor modifications, I was able to ride my own. If you have ever traveled to this part of the world, you will know this place to be a second-world country. That means, they are not “first” like the US with our amenities and infrastructure, but not as destitute or corrupt as Haiti. However, this country does have its poverty and is lacking in public services. There is a very huge and noticeable income disparity and armed guards at Costco. We were fortunate to visit local places, but did stay in “nice” hotels. Mind you, by US standards, these places were not that nice. Again, it is all relative. It was the trip of a lifetime. When we got back, I quickly became overwhelmed, much like I am now. I was struck by the over saturation of US culture, the vast quantities of goods that nobody needs, food that cannot possibly be sold before it spoils, fast food on every corner, and stores so huge you cannot see the end. It took me a few weeks to readjust to the massive amounts of excess Americans live with on a daily basis after spending a couple weeks in a simpler place. I had to readjust. 

Fast forward to my current reality. I went into the local Walmart yesterday. It was a grocery store and clothing store and electronics store and everything else store. It was massive and gigantic and, once again, I was overwhelmed. I walked around, looking for the bathroom, but also just walking around. I noticed aisle after aisle of excess. I mean, do we really need forty-five different varieties of potato chips? Piles and piles of ugly and cheap clothing? Decorations that will clutter our homes? I was amazed and astounded. I was anxious and overwhelmed. I needed to leave.

I realize, as I continue my pilgrimage, that the city chokes me, overwhelms me, and stresses me out. I realize that I prefer a simpler existence where I can see and hear and feel myself and my surroundings. I want to be outside, but I also want to socialize and go to places where people are. Not hoards and crowds. Just a few people with a common interest, like at a bar or music venue. I prefer places where I can hear myself think and see all four walls of the building. I want to see the end of town from the beginning of town. I want to be in a place where my head will be clear and my senses palpable. 

I talk about Charlie as if he is the one with the problems. Sure, he has his idiosyncrasies. I am happy to report that he is way better now than he was at first. Me? Well, I suppose I am adjusting, too. I try to go out once per day, even if for a bike ride or a trip to the store. I try not to drink every day, even if it helps reduce the anxiety that is created from being separated from the environment and helps pass the time of these unstructured days. I try not to internet shop my days away, but that, too, is difficult. I am on the hunt for free or low cost activities and controlled socializing. Small doses in more intimate settings. I am adjusting to being indoors, though I always have windows and doors open. I am learning how to use an air fryer (LOVE) and taking advantage of unlimited electricity and internet. I am trying to stay out of my car and use my bike. I am working to cleanse myself and my gear, touch and clean and organize everything. I am trying hard to take advantage of my time in civilization. 

Me and Charlie take walks and play and eat. We are adjusting and figuring it out. The title of this should be ONE NEUROTIC DOG AND A SLIGHTLY OFF KILTER HUMAN. Feel free to interchange the words DOG and HUMAN as you see fit. I think both scenarios apply.

Cheers to finding our way, working through our issues, and doing the best we can. Cheers to lifelong friends and awesome appliances. Cheers to a simple and meaningful life. 

Cheers to Charlie and me!

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