I pulled up to a house yesterday to deliver a package and the owners weren’t home.
Their old, white-muzzled Golden Retriever was home, though.
He’s a dog I hadn’t met yet.
That gets weird sometimes. The dogs on the route that I know are easy to handle. Most of them are pretty nice to me….some are kind of angry.
I know what to celebrate or avoid when I’m familiar with it.
This particular family raises hunting dogs, so the kennels are always full of a lot of barking animals.
I think that this Golden was old enough that he’d graduated to “yard dog”….kind of like a horse is put out to pasture, this old guy was allowed to roam when he got older.
Anyway…this dog was pretty old and cranky, and he ran around the car when I pulled up to the house, kind of jumping a little and barking a lot.
I threw a bone out of the other side window and got out to deliver the package.
I rustled up through the recently fallen leaves and left my package on the porch…and then shuffled back to my Jeep.
It was only when I started the car that the old dog stopped gumming his bone and started barking at me again.
I love it when I can get away from a new dog without anything weird happening.
Driving back down the long driveway, I smelled something. I smelled something unpleasant…but strangely familiar.
Dangit. DANGIT!!!! DANGITDANGITDANGIT.
The memory of that stupid dog was lingering.
I’d stepped in a big pile of lingering memory in my haste to get back to the safety of my Jeep.
I’d stepped in a big pile of hidden lingering memory on my short shuffle back to the Jeep.
The memory was lingering all over my shoe.
I tried scrubbing it off in the tall grass…and finally I found a puddle to cool my heels in.
I was reborn…clean before the world…or at least not as smelly when the heater warmed my memory.
I write about perspective a lot.
Not because I have any really astute insights….mostly because I’m desperate to figure things out. I don’t always have a clue…but I want to have a clue, so I ponder things.
Usually, I take the approach of “look what we’re missing…what a wonderful world if we can just see it!”
The memory of this dog made me consider another approach.
What if some of the experiences we have are just something to compare our present experiences to? Kind of like the “worst case, it’s not as bad as, could be much worse” kind of comparison?
Like, if I could say, “Do you remember the ‘memory of that dog’ that I got all over my shoe? That was really stinky…that stunk.”
“It’s better now, isn’t it?”
So maybe it’s as valuable to remember how things “aren’t as bad as they could be”… as it is to expect things to get better.
Now, I do like the “positive expectation” angle more than the “could be worse” approach.
I think it’s a healthier way to live.
But what are you going to do when all you can think about is a dog you’ve just met?
What a crappy first impression.