This morning was a little traumatic.
Dawg and I were stumbling around the corner on our early morning wear-Fletch-out-before-I-go-to-work walk. This walk begins at, oh, 6:15, 6:30.
I am not a morning person. I do not want to be a morning person. I don’t like morning people. I don’t like YOU, in the morning, until I have had a cup of coffee and been awake for half an hour. Then I like you just fine. By then you don’t like me any more, but hell. I’m sure we can work out some kind of system, if we all put our heads together.
Early morning, twenty feet from my house. I have not slept because I just started a new job, and it will be weeks before I can sleep without waking up every hour worrying that I’ve slept through my alarm, missed a deadline, forgotten a meeting, and so on. Last night it was a blister, caused by a pedestrian commuter overreach. I have never been a great sleeper, anyway. I was not feeling my best, twenty feet from my house, when Dawg bucked at the stray cat hiding in the bushes and sloshed my coffee, tried to eat the small half snake lying on the sidewalk, then bolted after a squirrel. All within fifteen seconds. Hard to cope with such a circus, at 6:15 a.m. when one’s coffee has been sloshed.
It got worse a few blocks later, when we walked down the sidewalk in front of the Capitol. He dove on something, and from his enthusiasm I could tell it had to be a stray chicken bone, which I tried to pry out of his mouth to prevent his Certain Death, and then he accidentally bit the hell out of my thumb. I don’t blame him; he didn’t mean to, and he didn’t know he’d done it, which didn’t make me feel any better half a mile from home with no Band-Aids. It was graphic. I got all self-righteous, there at the Capital, because damnation, it’s not my fault either. I mean, I know better than to try and come between a dawg and his chicken and escape unharmed, but it’s my responsibility to try to protect him from Certain Death when I can. The real issue is, who the $#*& is throwing chicken bones on the ground in front of the Capitol? On sidewalks all over town? At parks? At rest areas alongside highways? Because, friends, this is the fifth time in two weeks I have had to pry chicken bones out of Fletch’s mouth in places that should be chicken bone-free. Entirely devoid of chicken bones. Safe from the ubiquitous threat that chicken bones have become in my early-morning existence.
The story actually gets more graphic, a few blocks later, and I’ll spare you the details of the Pooping Incident, but we were not in a good frame of mind when we got home. What was on my mind was this TED talk we watched yesterday at work about how bad architecture has degraded our public realm, and how it is affecting our understanding of what it means to be citizens, and is THAT how we get to a world in which people go throwing chicken bones willy-nilly all over public sidewalks? Are we living in an Idiocracy? (clearly yes, hello NC legislature, what the hell is the matter with you people, too, while I’m on a rant?)
I know. Fine. Nobody is going to click on a random twenty-minute TED talk and watch it while skimming blogs in line at the grocery store. But he uses words like “despotic buildings” and makes fun of Boston City Hall and brings up some fantastic points. It’s all true, and it kind of leaves you with an America-as-wasteland taste in your mouth.
But then we watched this one.
Nobody is likely to click on that, either, because twenty minutes is an ETERNITY in internet time. And yet: this guy. This guy sees a problem, and says, hmm. Wonder how that happened. I think I’ll fix it.
It started small. It started a little bit as a joke. And then people joined in. People showed up. People organized things. People made things. And people made things better.
After the walk I put away the sign I made, the one saying “Dawg 4 sale cheap,” because I love him despite the obstreperous behavior as we are adjusting to the new schedule. I just hope to keep him out of redirectional school, lest he learn to smoke homemade cigarettes behind the dumpsters and make shivs out of cafeteria spoons while planning to hack the Pentagon servers or something. I can’t solve the chicken bone problem, but I’m going to watch that video again. The can-do, wouldn’t-this-be-great, let’s-start-something one.
Let’s do it. Let’s start something. You in?