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6:13 p.m. - December 28, 2002
On drooling dogs and sex the day after
A comfort food on windy, stormy days is pistacio pudding. I made some earlier and looking forward to curling up in front of the fireplace with a dish of green goo.

As for comforts, this one cannot be beat.

I am playing dog-sitter today, my sister having dropped off her boyfriend's aged and infirm dog here before rushing off to handle a work emergency, saying he's no trouble at all and now my sister's credibility is shot. This dog is trouble and somewhere in the back of my mind I'm thinking this is what it is like to care for babies and old parents and realizing I'm going to have to hire out when it comes time. Beethoven is a sheepdog who drools, his excess saliva a steady stream that forms a living, jiggling sculpture descending from his jaw to near the floor, requires special dietary attention, and is afraid of new places. He has been crying - literally - since he arrived and howls like a banshee every few minutes and I am at the end of the rope. More likely, Beethoven is at the end of the rope. Sister called and explained apologetically the situation that's tied her up at the office and asked me to feed the creature; unfortunately, it is not a matter of pouring food into a bowl and calling it a day. This aged, decrepit, mangy dog has a throat/neck problem that makes it impossible for him to swallow normally and in order to eat, must be handfed in a way that his food can slide down his throat. Folks, I thought my sister was kidding; she is not. Have you ever hand-fed a dog? I lasted a few minutes before figuring I could claim ignorance and left the bowl on the floor for him to eat (which he did) and hopefully not die (which he has not yet). A[deleted]a called while Beethoven howled and she inquired, a bit put off that I have a difficult time inviting people inside but allow mutts to run amuck.

He doesn't run because I have him confined to the laundry room; his saliva is not going anywhere else in my home. This dog is repulsive and nearing his end apparently and I say good riddance: This dog is the type that scares little children not because he growls but because of his saliva sculpture, which is almost like a very wet fu-man-chu goatee. I realize I have very little pity in me and lack empathy but and damn it, he has howled again, a literal banshee cry that I would post here for your listening pleasure if I had the technical know-how.

Just called my sister; she is unfortunately dealing with a terrible situation and not wanting to burden her with anything else, said that I'll drop Beethoven's body off at the animal shelter because he will die soon, either at my hands or by my hands and she did not laugh. She said I know I know he's awful but I promised [name deleted; I refer to him as the Great Idiot in private] and won't I just sit tight? She further explains that the reason for his crying is that he must always be near people (separation anxiety in a dog? A dog?), preferably at one's feet and won't I give it a try? Fat chance, I told her; he's lucky he's inside the house at all (my one concession, because it is raining and stormy out) and cannot be in the garage (so claims my sister and her Great Idiot boyfriend). See, I have some heart. But damn it, there he went again. This is not funny and I am not amused. It is unfortunate that cruelty to animals is looked down upon.

OK, OK, I do not advocate cruelty. You know this. But I've had enough of this dog and damn it, again the banshee cry - oh, a double one - and quite soon, unless my sister returns, Beethoven will find that he's lost his vocal cords. Or something. How do you reason with a dog?

Now of course, when I have my own dog he will behave well and not cry like a banshee or have a saliva problem, and neither will my babies or infirm parents. That I will not allow.


Last night's tryst called and inquired into a repeat performance and I was tempted to say call back in six months when the urges are pent up and I'll need it, but I didn't and instead declined politely. I'm not sure if I handled that properly.

I don't see the point of becoming a slave to the passions, of giving in to gratification and the pursuit of pleasure. We're human and not animals, after all. Yes, it feels good and is natural and it is healthy to be a sexual creature instead of the repressed uptight specimen I am, but I value connection more than pleasure, of making love instead of just having sex. But I'm not going to kid myself: Yes, having sex can be great; but greatness is illusory and doesn't seem as wonderful the moment after. Why sacrifice ideals for a whiff of pale imitation?


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