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balance (2): :( ---> :)

Monday, January 3, 2011

:( ---> :)

at any moment of your life you can choose to be a happy person and deal with things like a happy person does, or choose to be bitter and sad and depressed. my dumb hippie buddhist ex thai boyfriend, ot, first learnt me of that, in between shirking all human responsibility and uselessly smoking spliffs on my hammock. and my most recent, beloved but platonic (excepting prolific snuggling) boyfriend, 't', has reinforced it in a way too, which is why i love him terribly and desperately, but also why i rebel and occasionally despise him (happiness scares me). sigh... relationships are so freaking painful. it is hard to be positive and not just sabotage them before they hit you......... but i digress.

i don't know if i ever told the story on here about how i had started an informal (psshaw solo and un- credited or helped out in any way by my meth head thai boyfriend who was busy trying to bilk me out of whatever i was worth to him, ie. a fully stocked and planned bar and outdoor theater, at which time he received it he would toss it aside with scorn and go fuck just about everyone else, but there i go digressing...) yes an informal animal shelter on my beach on the island in thailand (!!!).

it started with that lonely peal in the night, a squealing pup found in a pile by my ridiculously sculpted and tan brazilian neighbors, who fornicated loudly every afternoon from the depths of the bungalow next door. they had almost hit her in the road with their motorbike. my puppy calling me. she had a fat belly full of worms and was ridden with fleas. i took her in and flushed her out and took care of her for about 3 1/2 years, despite my reluctance to even name her and thus attach. she chased me through the scattered gardens of the muslim side of the island (full by the way of not only the queer howling of the calls to mecca, but also the skittering of scary ass monitor lizards trying to eat her every time i turned my back- i could hear them killing things behind the hut in the wee hours of the morn), she biting at my heels. as she grew into her adolescence i watched her learn to make friends with the wild dogs on the beach, watched their territorial dances. she was as adored as any prized pedigree, living amongst festering and fighting street dogs. i misplaced (or did i?) all of my biological need for children on to her. we understood each other very well. she hung her head when i barked at her for climbing in my bed when there was a terrifying display of fireworks nightly on the beach. i ran to dote whenever she yelped in various tones according to what she had encountered (a snake or beetle, a smelly piece of trash or dead animal tossed in my yard by my betel nut stained neighbors who carried machetes, spouted unintelligible platitudes at me, and smoked me almost out of my house every morning when burning their trash outside my window). i love love love her still. and i loved loved loved the life we spent together on this magical and alien island.

but i loved all of them. dogs of all sorts can sense i am not afraid of them (except in packs in certain dark temple squares in bangkok, in which i have a full on panic attack and yell). all the dogs of my dusty jungle village started sniffing around my house after 'puppy'. first because she was in heat, which i quickly put a stop to because the male dogs wanted to fight me for her! but later on because she was so obviously pampered, which is a transfixing oddity in thailand. there was scruffy, an old veteran of the survival scene. he had already proven himself a formidable alpha male and retired. he was loud and mean until we were alone at night, when he would snicker and cuddle. he choked and hemhorraged to death of heartworms on my floor- he went off in an insane cloud of flies. i watched the life ooze out of him for hours.... there was big mama, so pathetically and meekly accepting my cruelty. she really reminded me of my red-headed mother. i kicked big mama so hard one time i think i may have broken my toe. she still loved me to her literal death for feeding her. i took care of all nine of her puppies which she dragged rather sheepishly to my yard one day. such naive stupidity. i couldn't help that though. i loved every one of them as much as i could, even until i had to kill them to quench their wracking seizures, and bury them, me sweating and teary, behind the animal clinic. i loved the poisoned ones too who just died quietly in places they had crawled away to be alone in. & the ones who would venture tentatively, sniff warily at me, and bolt for the rice and sardines i would leave out under the house. be mine for a week or two, grateful and loving and well behaved, and disappear to never be seen again.... and goodbye 'sick', the dashingly handsome boy who appeared one day, shaking his mane at puppy and smiling. i took him in because he was irresistably charming (and someone had obviously dropped him off for me), not knowing that he had already survived a round of canine distemper (what most of my dogs died of) and some wicked flu, and now had a horrible auto immune disorder that would ultimately not allow him to fight off mites that would eat all his fur, leaving huge ghastly infected scabs on his bald skin, and making him feel like he was dying faster than he was. it sounds cheesy i know, but he always looked up to me with trust in his eyes, just like all the dogs who died. i had a strange connection with every one of them. they knew i loved them, and we both knew they would not be around long. i shared their fate more than any other human. it was obvious by how many of them hung around me, to the point where it was embarassing to leave my house and walk to a restaurant in the village, where my sickly but valiant dogs all tried to come in to sit at my feet, to the barely veiled disgust of the other humans.


i had to leave them though, because a place in which the lives of these animals was allowed to exist the way they did was so shocking to me. thais really seemed like such ruthless, heartless people in so many ways (i still believe they are, but have to keep in mind i was amongst a peculiar demographic, on an island where people would run to hide after they committed crimes, run by violent feuding drug mafia families who took offense to my straighforward NY'er ways and actually started hunting me down for them). i was a girl alone, which was strange. a girl who didn't fall for all their tricks, and who stayed too long in a place in which she was thus intruding, and garnered too much information in a socially awkward way. in a place where most of the people did not know much about the world at all outside of their small set of dirt roads lining the jungle and beach. and thais know how to scare you, yesirreee. they are not afraid of death- they don't think too much about it. they don't attach to any idea. they know you will bounce back as whatever it is you ultimately deserve, and they believe people and dogs attract their fate. life is cheap, blood is stimulation in a sleepy town where it is a physical impossibility for you to leave without their help. it is a dark, seedy existence in lush, ecstatic paradise.

paradise gets tedious too. the rotating of all those friends who were so happy and beautiful, smoking on my porch and drifting away back to their countries. waking up every day to the sounds of cocks and piglets. the yoga, the dancing, the completely uninhibited week long parties. i have to remember the lesson i learned from such decadence, to balance, and bask in love. gather the good and real things and people toward me and push the bad or superficial things away. i am trying to learn to detach in general. not depend on anything or anyone. you would think i would be a pro at that by now but i am too optimistic and stupidly hopeful that some day i won't be so alone. that humans are as worth loving and losing as dogs.

and that is the story for the day, boys and girls. my sad story of the dying off of the last dog, the one i tried to save and make into my family.... i learned today that the absolutely insane israeli woman i left her with was about as trustworthy as i expected and abandoned my spoiled girl recently. left her to the dogs. i would love to believe the other dogs would step aside gracefully in reflection of her innocence and grace, but i know the reality is she would have been torn apart immediately by either canine or human. and i have to send her messages in my dreams now. and apologies for abandoning her to that fate of hers, myself, despite desperate efforts otherwise and much twisting wrenching anguish.

that and the realization that my paradise was a shiny rainbow veneer on a dull stone, tied to my ankle, ready to drown me has me, well, down. the fact that i couldn't accomplish something i was passionate about. that no love is unconditional or without horrific pain. the fact that i really do belong in NY and not in a mystifying and unsympathetic place with no instilled moral code (even the US's contrived plastic billboard morals are preferable to none).

RIP 'puppy', because i know that place and i know you are too good for it. it will have eaten you up quickly. i had to escape before it ate me, and i hope all of you poor dogs understand. i choose to be happy and go towards the light. i will go and live for all of us.

and i think i have decided to cancel my impending visit back to thailand.



(oh p.s. here are pictures from my christmas trip to mexico, where we were stranded for 5 extra days while it blizzarded in NY)

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