Take a Walk with Me

Despite my inviting faux-down comforter and several soft pillows, if I toss down the TV remote onto my bed, my dog scurries over, circles, and plops right onto the device. It’s hard plastic. With protruding buttons. It can’t be comfortable.

Most say that men have a more passionate relationship with remote controls than women do, and since I have a male dog, I attribute his behavior to his gender. But honestly, I think it’s damn weird.

Speck has strong affection for my cell phone as well. If I’m lounging on my bed with my cell lying beside me, Speck sneaks over, glances about surreptitiously, drops down, and situates his head right upon the phone. He concludes by wrapping himself in the headset cord as if he’s trying to floss his whole body.

I’m not one to deny my housemates their pleasures, but I’m a bit uncomfortable with my dog’s infatuation with technology. Maybe I’m just bothered by the fact that I can’t ask him about it and get any kind of reliable response.

I want to get down to business, to write interesting and insightful things, yet all I can do is look out the window and notice how the sunlight is hitting the palm fronds. I sway with the gentle movement of the leaves in the breeze, the afterbirth of the tremendous wind that was here a few days ago. I tell my mind, “Focus. Vacation is over,” as if I were ever really on vacation. My son was on a vacation and I jumped aboard as if I’d been invited, neglecting the necessity of having to have something to vacation from. In my inventive way of thinking, I decided that as long as my son was sleeping late in the morning, so could I. If my son was staying up late doing frivolous things, I could turn to him as my role model. It was party season, and I wasn’t about to be left out.

But today school is back in session, and my body knew without any formal ceremony. I awoke on schedule before six a.m. to darkness and quiet. For a brief moment, I mourned the end of permission to do nothing. I reached for my laptop on the nightstand, booted up, and raced through my morning reading of key New York Times articles with one eye on the clock. As if programmed by the military, I knew when it was time to pull myself from bed, stumble towards the bathroom for the morning ritual, and then move to the kitchen to feed the offspring.

After depositing my son at school, I went to one of my favorite coffee shops to write, but just as I was settling in, the speakers filled the room with Shirley Temple singing “On the Good Ship Lollypop.” I know they were going for unexpectedly hip, but I found the attempt unsuccessful. I dove into my laptop bag for my headphones only to discover they weren’t there. I was hostage to the young lass’ voice.

Turning to my laptop, I tried to imagine anything other than a four-year-old tap dancing, but Shirley wouldn’t be ignored. My coffee was growing cold with neglect, my ears were screaming for a song of this era, my fingers wanted permission to meander, and the tauntingly delicious pastries in the case were mocking my healthy resolve.

Like a refugee seeking a new country, I quickly packed my belongings, and ran for the door. “There’s a better world out there,” I told myself. “Go find it.”

Only guilt jumped in and reminded me that today I am to be focused in a way that will forward my goal of something. That’s the problem, the goal has grown murky. The goal of career success is being replaced by – catch your breath – the goal of romance success.

You’re not allowed to talk about that now,” my inner critic interjects. “I’ve warned you about this.” And Inner Critic has, only finally, I may stop listening.

I have been singing false independence for far too long, the I-don’t-need-a-relationship mantra to keep me firmly planted on my own two feet because I hate the word ‘need.’ Only, my feet aren’t the problem. My heart is.

Last night, an old flame rang me up. We always settle into nice conversation, and suddenly I am reminded of how nice an easy connection is, how with someone by your side, all the other life goals have a chance of cozying up to perspective. After such a lengthy period of singledom – so long that if I revealed the duration you might panic on my behalf and organize a search party for my next mate – I have begun to question my ability to find romance again.

So once again, I am faced with the question of balance. I have been convinced that establishing a new career will calm my inner longing, but now I wonder. If that were to be secured, would I then just look for the next missing ingredient? How do we find contentment?


I blush just typing the word. I want to be anonymous in confessing the longing, but if Speck can unashamedly profess what he loves, maybe I can take yet another hint from him and come clean with my desires.

And maybe I can even invite them in.


Anonymous said...

I think the Shirley Temple song was a sign. Look how she grew up, found romance, and continued to have career success, even as a diplomat.

As for the lollypop stuff, I'll leave that to your imagination.

kristen said...

I think Speck has it right, go for what you want and stand convicted in your goals.
I'm thinking good things are in the air DeeZee, I'm convinced that 2007 is going to be a good year. xo

Emily said...

I really admire how you get from the remote control to something so personal. And all that with some Shirley Temple thrown in too...good writing.

Kathleen said...

speck. that is a kind of ham,yes?
cute little ham...

i hope for grande love to find you in 2007.

Anonymous said...

Time to watch Love Actually again...and check to see if Speck is tuned in to an electronic frequency that he adores.

Trouble said...

What if contentment doesn't come with the next big thing, but is something that you find inside yourself, where you are at, today.

Just thinking out loud. ;)

Your dog is darling, btw.

And I think you are fully loveable.

QT said...

I came from kiki's blog - this is a great post, and I've wondered the same thing. However, I was told by a wise woman that an intelligent mind never rests, you will always have a longing, but it can be focused, like spill the beans says.

Also, as for Speck - he loves those things because they smell intensely of you. Oils from your skin accumulate on those devices (that you can't see, but he can smell), so when he wants comfort, he seeks the smell of you rather than physical comfort. Dogs love like that.