The Little Black And White Dog escaped yesterday. It was my fault: while trying to fix the front door security code; I let him out, thinking he’d stay in the front yard, not help himself to a jaunt around the reservoir ponds in the neighborhood. Luckily, I had thought to jam the house keys into my jeans pocket so I wouldn’t lock myself out while fixing the door lock. However, as I shuffled after The Little Black Shit, I didn’t think of my phone which remained on the kitchen counter, or proper shoes, as I stumbled along, trying to run in my flippity-floppy Korean-style house shoes. After 100m or so of the chase, I kicked them off, abandoning them on the sidewalk so I could run without falling. They waited patiently, as though they held the small feet of a ghost, standing invisibly in the sun. Going barefoot was the ultimate regrettable judgement call, as the chase turned into a game for The Goddamned Dog. Each time I came within a few meters of him, he’d jump up from sniffing and shoo off. By the time we had passed several of the ponds, my feet were beginning to feel meaty-raw, purple-bruised, and bloodily slashed. I’m not used to going barefoot, and the adrenaline from fear and anger was working hard to cover the pain. Being midday, temperatures in the Mile-high City of Denver had begun their climb above the 90-degree mark; the sun in the cloudless sky was cooking me through jeans and t-shirt.
Not having my phone made things worse, as I got lost in the cul-de-sacs and curves and cut-throughs of the community that surrounded these pseudo-ponds. After a couple miles of circling, returning, running, limping, walking, while continually hollering out The Little Shit’s name, I was near tears from fear visualizing the dog getting hit by a car or permanently lost. After all of my dog-sitting experience — most recently, nearly two years of full-time animal caretaking — I have never lost an animal! And really, it wasn’t The Little Black and White Shit’s fault; it was mine. It was my fault for letting him out in the front yard. It was my fault for giving chase when dogs usually think they are playing a game when a human gives chase.
When my feet had passed the point of feeling raw and I could feel my heel bone and metatarsals pounding into the pavement as though my feet lacked any skin on their soles, I began the circular journey back toward the house, limping back to get the car and continue The Search for The Damn Running Mofo Who Won’t Come When Called. The curly-haired terrier dog had run toward a park about a mile from the house; I knew I was getting close to the point where I could no longer walk at all. It had been at least half-an-hour or more of pavement and asphalt assaulting my poor feet — hot, midday cement, at that. Having already asked people for directions back to the house — a few folks were out in their yards, and either perversely inquisitive about my yelling or sincerely attempting to help — I had to flag down a guy driving by and ask for directions on how to get back to the house. I was so desperate, I almost jumped in front of his car to get him to stop. After an additional 20 minutes of limping and hollering That Goddamn-Black-Dog Little Shit’s name all the while, the Damned Dog finally appeared at my heels, although still running away if I tried to catch him. I finally lured him close enough and nabbed the Little Fucker. Bloodily barefoot, overheated, dehydrated, and traumatized, I trudged home, carrying the 20-plus pounds of the finally acquiescing Little Black Fucking Fur-ball, all the while enjoying a violent vision inside my head of beating the shit out of him; enjoying that fantasy for as long as I could, because I certainly would not act on it. I did, however, get some satisfaction while quietly cussing him out for the entire limping walk home. The language in this vignette is nothing in comparison!
The rest of the day I spent lying on the couch, feeling traumatized about nearly losing someone else’s dog and having to give chase for an hour; in pain and barely able to walk when I got up. Over the course of the day, I watched blisters grow to an obscene size on the soles of my heel, from toes to heels. On both heels, I’ve got blisters that cover 3/4 of the heel. Blisters that cover the entire area of the bottom of my toes bubbled up, some filled with blood. And the soles of my feet are so swollen it looks like I’ve had a pedicure because the skin is so soft and smoothed out from the swelling. Needless to say, I won’t be going for hikes any time soon, and the Damned Dog sure as hell isn’t getting walked for several days. He spent the remainder of the afternoon in his kennel, safe from my rage and pain. The errands I needed to run, I postponed to the following day, but as of today (the following morning), it is still difficult to walk. I have to decide whether to pop and drain the blisters or leave them alone. I’ll spend most of the day with my feet propped up again; maybe soak my feet in salt water or a concoction of apple cider vinegar, and take some pain medicine. I have more Visa Shit to do that requires meeting a notary and visiting the post office.
The stress of meeting so many repeated obstacles while trying to get all the required documents together for my Chinese work visa has been taking a toll. I recognize these injuries are the way my mind and body are telling me I have crossed the limit of my stress threshold and am over-reacting to these repeatedly stressful situations. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have re-injured my lumbar disc a few weeks back nor gotten myself into the Dog Chase situation. With almost every action to obtain the visa, there has been a setback or roadblock. This process has been a struggle the entire way, and I feel like I’m beating my head against a closed door, which is counterintuitive to how I intend to live my life. I believe I am encountering too many closed doors on this path back to China… too many for my comfort-level... so many that the situation is sending up Major Red Flag Warnings; that is, my Intuition Warning System is on High Alert. I know better than to ignore these. But for now, I’m in a holding pattern: doing what needs to be done to apply for the work visa, but remaining cautious about how events are proceeding. If the Red Flags continue to light up in a Screaming Display, moving from Level 5 upward toward DEFCON Level 1, and I keep having this niggling sensation in my gut, I’ll heed the warning and back off, choosing another school in another country. I still love the school and feel a deep sense that it is an excellent match for me, but is this all worth it? The communication problems with the school’s HR department (lack of clarity, lack of thoroughness, and outright contradictions in instructions) give me the opposite sense. I will keep my options open. If everything I owned that is important to me was not stored in China, would I be so eager to return?
For now, I’ve decided it is time to go pop some blisters and bandage up my poor feet. I forgave The Little Black Dog; he’s very sweet and well-behaved despite the lack of training by the owner. Maybe I need to be kind to myself and forgive myself for the mistake I made in letting him escape, too. In general, that’s the answer to all My Life Trials: be kinder to myself. Be mindful. Be self-compassionate. Allow what comes.
But that’s Another Topic for Another Day.
There is fiction. There is life. What is the difference?
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