Waiting for Something to Happen

I’m very familiar with the concept that we end up looking just like our pets, in no small part because I should be so lucky — if I had the deceptive baby face of the old dog Gus, I’d be thrilled; if I had the unavoidably adorable charm of Alfie, or the inexplicable charm of Ging, I’d be similarly excited. I think you get what I’m saying here; I think all of my (many) pets are at the very least cute, if not downright beautiful, and I can only wish that my own physical features matched up to their standards.

Instead, though, what I’ve found myself thinking about with increasing, concerning regularity across the past few months, is what I would be like were I suddenly transformed into an animal — how my personality would show up in my behavior, how I’d interact with the world at large.

What brought this on, of all things, was watching the two dogs interact with the backyard when they go out to piss or shit, Alfie, the younger of the two by some distance, attacks the world and collapses all over it energetically, investigating but with such enthusiasm that he’s a perpetual motion machine just moving and moving and moving until suddenly it happens, whatever the it of the moment happens to be.

I feel much more in tune with Gus, who cautiously circles where he wants to go and then waits, patiently, crouching or with his leg cocked, as if knowing that something has to happen eventually if he can just… get there. I watch him when all of this is going on, and I think, that would be me if I were a dog, if I had to go through everything a dog has to go through to go to the bathroom. And maybe it’s true; I feel as if there’s some accidental attempt to self-compliment hidden in there, a “I could be as patient and zen as he is,” when I’d likely be grumbling and unhappy with the discomfort.

Whether or not I’ll ever end up looking like any one of my pets, I remain unconvinced, but I’ll say this: I’m pretty sure I could learn from their approaches to life.

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