I had my first cup of coffee this morning in over ten years and I used to drink coffee every day all day because I was religious about my coffee intake coffee all the time because I loved the taste and the flavor and the way that it put me into a better mood or woke me up or took away my hangover or gave me more clarity and allowed me to get stuff done in the mornings because I am not really a morning person in fact I am quite grouchy in the mornings and don’t want to do anything so I have been waking up and jogging in the mornings in the hopes that this would deposit more oxygen into my body and help me feel better in the mornings but it does not really work that much anyways I stopped drinking coffee because it made me feel very wired and uncomfortable all of a sudden but I guess that as we grow older things like that happen our bodies change and our pleasurable vices become uncomfortable and self destructive bad habits anyways my wife is really into coffee so I went with her last night into this really nice coffee shop in Venice Beach and I loved the aroma of the coffee beans and I got this idea in my head that maybe I should start trying to drink coffee again since the coffee shop sold my favorite coffee roaster from Northern California so I bought a pound of coffee and decided that I would give it a shot because who knows maybe my body would be able to tolerate coffee better now who knows I thought who knows why not give it a try because I would love to have focus and energy in the mornings and my wife was happy about me wanting to drink coffee in the mornings because then maybe I would not be so grouchy anymore in the mornings so this morning I woke up and ground the coffee beans and then put them into a French press and poured hot water over the grounds and immediately I felt my mood shift because I love the aroma of coffee and suddenly I was smiling and happy and excited to be awake and be having this experience so I poured myself a cup of delicious smelling black coffee and drank it a lot quicker than I probably should have because it was so good I was so happy to be drinking such delicious coffee again so I drank and drank it along with eating a homemade cinnamon bun and at first I did not really feel anything so I thought that maybe I made the coffee to weak so I had another cup and enjoyed it thoroughly because there are few things in life as wonderful as a good cup of coffee and I drank my second cup of coffee a bit too quickly also since I felt like if I did not drink it quickly it would get cold and there are few things in life as bad a s a cold cup of coffee in the morning but half way through my second cup of coffee I immediately began to feel what can only be described as a highly focused and wired sensation take over my entire being and I say this because I could feel my eyes opening wider my vision clearing up and my heart rate getting higher so much so that I could not stay seated on my couch any longer but instead I needed to get up and do something I could not just sit there and read my book any more because I felt wired delightfully wired but at the same time uncomfortably wired in a way that I had not felt in a long, long time so I got up and started moving around my house and then immediately I realized that I needed to go to the bathroom and have a bowel movement which I did and it was the largest bowel movement I have had in over ten years because it took three flushes to clear the toilet bowl and I remember reading about how coffee is a wonderful laxative and it obviously is because it left me feeling completely cleared out and wired so I took a shower which I could not stand being in for longer than a few minutes since I felt trapped in that shower and I needed to move around so I got out of the shower and put on some sweat pants and brushed my hair and teeth and cut my toes nails and shaved my neck and then I put on a sweat shirt because I was feeling a bit cold and was shaking a little and I knew that there was no way that I could sit still so I made the bed in my bedroom and then I swept the hardwood floors and then I realized that there was a lot of work that I needed to do around the house so I started doing some laundry and cleaned the kitchen and then I swept the floor some more because I noticed a lot of stray dog hair and the one thing that I do not like is dog hair on the floors I don’t know why I am so sensitive about dog hair on my hardwood floors but I am I really don’t like it feels dirty to me but I have two big German Shepherds and dog hair on my hardwood floors is as inevitable as dust in the air so I know that I need to learn how to accept the dog hair on the hardwood floors and not get so worked up about it all the time anyways after I was finished sweeping the hardwood floors for the second time I was feeling really speedy and uncomfortable so I decided that the most helpful thing to do would be to come sit at my desk and write and that writing would some how discharge or settle some of the caffeinated rush that I am feeling but I am not so sure that it is working because I am still feeling the rush and my fingers are trembling and I can feel the coffee settling in my gut and I am not sure what to do at this point so I should probably stop writing now or else I will keep writing too much and I might end up divulging too much personal information so I will stop writing and I will go get my two German Shepherds and take them out for a long Sunday morning walk or maybe it is too cold outside right now and I should continue to do some work on my house since it is Sunday morning and it seems that Sundays are the days that home owners spend working on their homes so maybe I will just do that because I need to convert my gas burning fireplace into a wood burning fireplace since I much prefer the smell of wood burning over the smell of fake logs in the fireplace so I need to do this I also need to clean the windows since I do not like seeing spots all over my windows because I think you can tell a lot about a person based upon how their windows look so I need to do this and I also need to do some work in my back yard since the pomegranate tree needs to be trimmed and certain things need to be watered so I could go do this since I think that the act of watering is very calming but it is too cold to go outside right now so maybe I will do that if and when the sun comes out because I have so many more things that I need to do inside like I could work on work related stuff but I don’t want to work on work related stuff since work related stuff bores the hell out of me and so I am always putting work related stuff off for another day since I would rather make music or write or draw or read or go for walks or do something that really matters with my precious time rather than spend my precious time on earth doing work related things since I know that in the end I am not going to think to myself gee I wish that I did more work related stuff so I am not going to do work related stuff instead what I think I am going to do is go attempt to sit down and read the very long novel that I have been climbing my way through I should go spend some time doing this since reading is one of the more meaningful and enjoyable ways to spend my time here on earth while I am alive so maybe I will go read for a bit do something other than sit here and write because writing is hurting my fingers and I am making a lot of spelling errors since my fingers are trembling and it is difficult to get my fingers to land on the appropriate key.
Tag: German Shepherds
My Life In Dog Hair
So this is it. My life. Covered in dog hair. I have been doing a lot of work lately to learn how to accept myself and my life as it. Embrace it all rather than the fervent resistance that I often find myself putting in acceptances place. For most of my life I think I have resisted the things that I have no control over and accepted the things that I can control. It is a backwards kind of logic that has gotten me nowhere but stuck deep in the most negative parts of my own mind. But I am happy to announce that I am finding my way out of these synaptic penetralias. I am beginning to see the light that is way out there in the distance. The light gets closer with every step and breath that I take but then there is always a new challenge that seems to threaten falling back into old habits. I begin again to resist what is.
People warned me when I got a German shepherd that there would be hair. Lots of hair. I was told haunting stories about softball sized tendrils made out of dog hair tumbling across the family room floor, through hallways, under couches and tables and in-between the sheets. I was told about the endless sweeping and vacuuming and constant battle to attempt to outsmart the fallen dog hair. Yes, I was warned but I am the kind of backwards type that always likes to do the opposite of what people are warning me against. When I want something there is nothing that will stop me (if only I wanted more money I would be a very rich man by now but for some reason I am rather apathetic towards the accumulation of cash). When I saw this particular German shepherd with droopy eyes and head rested helplessly on paws while behind the bars of an animal shelter, I immediately wanted her. My original intention was not to get a dog. My wife and I were going just to look. But deep down I knew as well as she did that our resolve to just look was a lie that we were telling ourselves so that we could get ourselves to the animal shelter without any voices in our head convincing us to turn back or not to go in the first place. It was a way to outsmart our own minds.
The hair is everywhere. It even turns up when I am making love with my wife. When we kiss I always feel microscopic strands of thorny hair making its ways over my tongue. There is dog hair on my toothbrush, in my socks, in between the pages of the numerous books that I am reading (but will probably never finish), in my morning tea, on my records and even in-between the keys of this laptop that I am now typing upon. Dog hair is colonizing my life. It would not be an exaggeration to state that even parts of the hair on my head are no longer my own but are an annoying blend of dog and human hair. What has been the most challenging part of living with so much dog hair has been the way that my dog’s hair seems to cling to black. I have always enjoyed wearing all black, but since I have gotten my dog I can no longer wear black comfortably. Every time I look down at my shirt or pants there is multiple strands of dog hair curled up against my body. It is a battle that I cannot win. Like an obsessed lover that refuses to let go, the more I try and chase the dog hair away, the more it seems to grab onto the darker parts of me.
I talk about my frustration towards my dog’s habitual and continual surrender of her hair with everyone I come across. I talk about it with the checker at the market, the homeless guy who continually asks me for chump change, my clients in my psychotherapy practice, the sales people at the record store I like to visit and even with the mailman. I am searching for insight. Valuable information. I desperately want to know if anyone has found the holy grail of how to prevent dog shedding. I am looking for solutions everywhere I go. Like a person afflicted with an incurable disease, I want to know that there has to be some kind of solution that has been overlooked, some kind of possibility that has been missed. I realize that I am searching in the dark, but I am profoundly optimistic that one day I will talk to someone or put the right combination of words into a Google search and up will come what I have been looking for. I will find a way to stop my dog from shedding.
So far, all of my efforts in this direction have been rendered futile. My search has been in vain. I have been looking for gold in a river that has dried up and where there is nothing but dirt, pebbles and a few footprints. I am continually told that there is no cure for excessive dog shedding and that I need to learn to live with all the hair. I am often told that I have a German shepherd and that this is what German Shepherds do. They shed as much as we humans worry. There is nothing that can be done about it. “Get used to it,” is something that people often like to tell me when I question them about potential cures. Of course I do the opposite of what people tell me. I refuse to accept or get used to it. I am convinced that there must be a way to end this invasion of dog hair in my life. I search with the conviction of one who refuses to give up hope. No, I cannot learn to live with it. It is exactly because I have no control that I must resist.
In the meantime I spend more time with a broom and a vacuum cleaner than I do with any other person in my life. The broom and I are becoming very intimate. In my underwear and t-shirt the first thing that I do when I wake up in the morning is sweep the hardwood floors of my home. I then vacuum up the small mountains of hair that I have collected. By then it is noon. Even though I spend the remainder of my day pulling strands of fallen dog hair out from my mouth, hair, clothes, records, books, socks, food and wherever else the dog hair can find to hang out; I am impermanently relieved by the fact that I have removed the majority of dog hair from the floors of my home. There is something very satisfying about this small victory. To walk through the halls of my home and only see a few strand of wayward dog hair (as opposed to the full scale invasion that is there when I wake up in the morning) gives me peace of mind. I can feel a lightness of being once again. As much as I wish that I could learn how to live harmoniously with all the dog hair, it seems to be a psychological skill that I am so far incapable of.
Lately I have been meditating so that I can attempt to accept the fact that as long as I have my dog, there will be dog hair in my life. I breathe and tell myself to let go, to embrace things as they are. Accept the hair, accept the hair, accept the hair. But almost always in the middle of my meditation, I will open one eye and look around. I will see dog hair on my lotus-crossed knees, on my meditation cushion and in the corners of the room. I will begin to feel that familiar aggravation rise up in my chest and I tell myself to calm down and let the dog hair just be there. But of course I can’t. Of course I always need to get up, go grab the broom and the vacuum and clean up the dog hair.
The Prostitute and I
Two blocks from where I live there is a prostitute who spends her afternoons standing on a busy street corner. I noticed her when I first moved into my suburban neighborhood. I thought it was strange that a woman dressed in a tight mini skirt would stand in the same place, every day for an entire afternoon. Every time I drove past that street corner I would check and see if she was there. I was not doing this because I desired this woman and wanted to have a sexual experience with her. No, I was not attracted to her at all. From an objective perspective there was little to be attracted to. I was interested in this prostitute because I thought it was very odd that there would be a prostitute standing on a street corner in the middle of a middle class suburban neighborhood. I had lived in the ghetto of Oakland, California for a long time. Seeing prostitutes there was as familiar to me as seeing bullets flying in the sky. It was a daily occurrence. But in this Los Angeles suburb, she was the first and only prostitute I ever saw. She had my full attention.
A month after my wife and I moved into our new home we bought a German shepherd. I started walking my dog everyday past the street corner where the prostitute stood. Sometimes she would not be there but most of the time she was standing there, waiting. Toyota Priuses, Jettas, Ford mini vans and various other symbols of the middle class on wheels would drive past pretending not to notice that there was a prostitute standing on a middle class street corner. A block away was a school. Across the street was a Starbucks. Was I the only one that found it so strange that there was a prostitute hanging out there? I became obsessed. I started walking my dog twice a day. I would sit on a bench across the street from her and observe. Even my dog knew that something strange was going on across the street.
She would wave at cars with single men in them. Often times these men would look shocked. They were either young men driving there parents car who had yet to experience the sexual transgression of being with a prostitute or they were middle aged men who had been locked up in an office someplace and were utterly startled to notice that a middle aged woman on a street corner was waving at them. Rarely did any of these men stop and pick her up. She looked treacherous and scarred by an unfair life. There was something frightening about her. But occasionally a man would slam on his breaks and make a hand motion for her to get in the car. She would run up to the passenger side car window, bend down to check the man out and then jump into the car with the fluidity of a gust of wind.
If it was raining out she would be standing on the street corner dressed in a shabby raincoat and holding a cheap umbrella. Her long grayish red strands of hair would stick out of what looked like a hand knitted ski hat with flower patterns. On the days that the sun would be out, her long hair would blow freely in the afternoon breeze created by all the passing middle class cars. She would wear a black min-skirt with some kind of shirt that would almost always reveal her aging stomach. I could see some sort of piercing on her belly button and I also noticed a tattoo that ran down the side of her legs and into the blue high heel shoes that she was always wearing.
After a month of observing the prostitute I decided to confront her. I was so fascinated by the life that she seemed to be living. I made up all kinds of stories about her. Was she a middle class homeowner who had lost her home in the great recession? Did she have a family? What she was doing for work was so outside of the middle class norm that gradually ate away at the souls of almost everyone that I lived around. I have always had a certain fascination with deviants and those who decide to live way outside of the norm, I just never thought I would become fascinated with a prostitute that was working on a street corner two blocks down from where I lived.
The first time that I approached the prostitute I remember having the thought that it was life, not drugs that had worn her out. She did not have that familiar drug abused gauntness in her face that most aging drug addicts display. Her skin and eyes looked hydrated and unravished by any kind of drug addiction. There were no dilated pupils or bags under her eyes, just a sadness that tried to hide the fact that she had fallen upon difficult times. Before I could say anything to her she shouted, “please keep your dog away from me! I am terrified of dogs!” I apologized and told her that my dog did not have a mean bone in her body. “But she is a German shepherd. Those dogs are viscous,” she pleaded. “That is a huge misconception. They are trained to be viscous but naturally they are one of the sweetest breeds of dogs,” I said. She looked at my dog as if she was thinking about what she should do next. She was in a contemplative kind of deliberation. I heard a car horn. She looked up to wave and then looked back down at the dog. “Ok,” she said. “What the hell, but hold on to her tight.”
After the initial cautious greeting, the prostitute and my dog were like close friends. Before I even had a chance to introduce myself, the prostitute was crouching down hugging my dog and enjoying the disgusting privilege of being licked by a dog that is obsessive compulsive about cleaning her own private parts. She hugged my dog and rubbed her face in my dog’s furry neck. It was as if this was the first time in a long time that the prostitute had given or received love. I watched the prostitute and my dog exchange loving gestures in the same way that you may watch a person getting the help that they are in desperate need of. After a few minutes of this the prostitute stood up, looked at me and said, “so what is with the fascination, huh?”
I was surprised and caught off guard. What did she mean by fascination? I was silent and noticed myself stepping away from her. The prostitute then smiled and said, “what took you so long?” “What took me so long?” I replied. “Yeah, I have noticed you sitting over there across the street for more than a month now. Seems like you just sit there and watch me.” How could I be so inept to not think she would notice me sitting on the bench across the street? At first I thought about denying it but then I realized this would be like denying the obvious. Only unstable people do this sort of thing. And even though I had spent the past month obsessing about a prostitute on a street corner- I was not unstable. So I looked her in the eyes and said……….nothing.
“Look honey, you do not have to be shy. Wanting to get off is a natural human impulse. So what, you want to get off with no strings attached. Big deal. I know what it is like to be shy and all, but let me promise you that once you break through your shyness you will feel like you parted the waters of the Dead Sea.” The prostitute said this to me with a promiscuous smile that revealed a need for some dental work. I giggled a bit and to be honest, it took me a second to realize what was going on. The prostitute was thinking that I wanted to hire her for a sexual experience but could not get up the nerve, so I sat on the bench across the street too afraid to approach her! “And honey your dog, well you do not need to bring her for protection. I got all the protection you’ll need in my purse.” Then she laughed.
You know what they say about finding yourself stiff and unable to articulate words when you are in a moment of shock? Well that is what happened to me. Every nerve in my vocal cords wanted to tell her that I was not interested in her in that way but it was as if someone had put a tight sheet of plastic, saran wrap or wax paper over my face and I was desperately trying to break through. You got it all wrong lady, I kept thinking to myself but for some ridiculous reason (the answer of which can probably be found in my childhood), I was unable to talk. It was at that moment that a black Toyota Prius pulled up to the curb. A white balding man in a white collard shirt rolled down the window and said, “it is four o’clock baby.” The prostitute turned towards the man in the car and said, “I’ll be right there.” She then turned to me and said, “look I got to go honey, but come find me tomorrow and I’ll show you what all that shyness has been cheating you out of.” She then bent down and gave my dog another love starved hug and then disappeared into the black Prius.
I stood there on that corner with my dog sitting by my side. I watched the black Prius get smaller and smaller in the distance. I felt like a failure for not having had the courage to tell her that she was all wrong about what she was thinking about me. I did not want the prostitute to think that I wanted her services, because then I would never be able to come observe her again. I really wanted to ask her why she was standing on this particular street corner, day after day, but I was unable to get a single word out. My month long stretch of curiosity had resulted in nothing but shame and embarrassment. I stood on that corner until the sun fell behind the busy Starbucks across the street. My dog did not put up too much of a fuss about standing there with me. It was as if she knew that I needed some time to myself. I stood there on that corner and watched the cars pass by. I imagined what it would be like to be her standing in that very spot. I noticed all the men who were driving in their cars alone as they passed by. I felt the breeze created by the numerous passing cars blowing my hair.
When I finally returned home that evening my wife confronted me and said, “where have you been?” I took the dog off the leash and opened the back door for her to go run around in the yard. I looked at my wife and did not know what to say.