When Eli gets really nervous, things come out of his butt in liquid form. Not often, mind you, but it does happen. And that morning, it had happened in the back of the car. I walked around and let them out, tied them to a nearby tree on the sidewalk, and then just stood there looking at the carnage in the back of the car while they cowered and shook under the tree. There have been very few times in my adult life when I’ve found myself in a situation that has left me without an answer to the thought, ‘What next?’, but this was definitely one of those times. It wasn’t the way everything looked, necessarily. It was the smell. Well, actually, it was the understanding that I was going to have to be in the car for a minimum of 11 more hours WITH that smell. At this realization, the hamster on the wheel in my head stopped running. I looked at the dogs for a couple minutes and finally the hamster started walking again. Very. Slowly.
Remember how much happiness they’ve given you. Remember how much your grandmother loved them and vice versa. If you kill them, you’ll have to explain it to her. You can’t kill them, anyhow. That would blacken whatever light remains in your soul. You’re also in an upscale part of a bible-belt city on a Sunday morning. It’s likely against the law to kill dogs on the sabbath. Also, people who live in this area probably get their dogs’ nails manicured, so if you start yelling at the dogs, much less beating them, you’ll probably end up getting tazed by an immaculately-dressed cop. Also, the dogs have no thumbs. You do have thumbs. You’re the one who’s evolved, allegedly. You have to be the adult in this situation. Or at least the human. More or less. You have only one choice. That shit’s not going to clean itself up.’
Four demoralizing trips into the Starbucks bathroom for wet paper towels. A short trip to a supermarket filled with fashion-conscience church people. Tying the dogs to yet another little tree (St. Louis is widely known as ‘The Home of Countless Little Trees Located in the Most Unassuming Places You Can Imagine’) where they could watch their master, the person who feeds them, the person who keeps them hydrated, wipe liquid crap off of the back of his back seats, the floor, the middle armrest, the back of THE DRIVER’S SEAT, etc. In the end, the car smelled no better. Actually, I noted that the car now smelled like the dogs had spent the previous day grazing in a field of lemongrass before having taken a giant dump in the back of my car.
More astute readers may now be wondering whether a person might get used to such a smell after awhile. It’s possible. You’re in a closed space long enough, eventually you’ll cease to smell anything at all given that your nose and brain have gotten used to the onslaught of woe. Well, that would be mostly true if it weren’t necessary to get out of the car occasionally for any number of reasons and I can tell you from recent experience that every time you leave such an environment, you also inadvertently cleanse the olfactory palette, shall we say. So, by the time you get back in the car, after having been momentarily blessed with the sweet stench of crap-free air, you’re reminded of the little purgatory in which you’ll be trapped for another God-awful long stretch of time.
It was not a pleasant trip home. There was no joy in the car anymore. Actually, the closest thing to joy came from the book on CD to which we listened (Pride and Prejudice and Zombies…dear Lord, I cannot recommend this book on CD highly enough). After returning home, I purchased a bottle of stuff that boasted of containing ‘ENZYMES’ that were able to nibble their way through the harshest pet leavin’s with no remainders. Since using that, I’ve noticed that my car now reeks of some sort of weird hybrid of spearmint and failure. And yet, none of this is enough for me to give up on the dogs’ car rides. Once parent status has been achieved, there appears to be no going back. Christmas is right around the corner.
Sir @ December 11, 2009