Friday, June 29, 2007

Where The Guys Are

Creepy in The House

One of the problems with moving is that you have to find all New Guys. Male or female, it doesn’t matter, you’ll need a good mechanic, plumber, physician. You’ve got to keep all the machinery working smoothly.

Since we are moving--again-- I’ve got to resurrect my criteria for dealing with breakdowns. Good training, a fine reputation, and a code of ethics are critical.

Then there is a quirk of mine.

I’ve got this wee case of prejudice, it seems. People who don’t have pets make me suspicious. I can’t help feeling this way and there are no listings for support groups or associations or twelve step programs to help me deal with this narrow minded set of thinking that I’m carrying around.

I see meetings for Parents Without Partners but not People Without Pets. People want to work on not having a partner, but they don’t see the problem if they are Petless.

When an HMO assigned me a doctor, I interviewed him. Credentials? Attitudes about this? That? The Other? Then he noted that he had no pets, no, uh-uh, didn’t want them. Creepy in the house. I tried to forgive him because he was from Tanzania, and he said that pets and livestock were synonymous. But I found another animal loving, warm, people person, who often patted me on the arm when she was explaining something.

At a New Faculty Orientation we all went around the room introducing ourselves. It’s still a requirement when new groups get together for any reason, I guess, even if it’s to be told where and when to get ID pictures done and what the deadline is for handing in a syllabus. Every person in the room included in their families their respective cats and dogs. The odd bird. An iguana. Until we got to The Dean. The Dean was petless. By choice. Not in mourning for a late Lab. No, no. Hated pets. Creepy in the house. Were he my department chair I would probably have had to resign.

One of my best friends and her husband are childless AND petless. They work long hours and travel when they aren’t working. They have lovely things, pristine rugs, and cannot keep a plant alive. When this best friend, Arlene, and I were growing up, she got a spaniel she named Lucky. Within 48 hours it was crushed by a car. For these reasons, I forgive them for not having an animal. These are the reminders they give me, but honestly? I think THEY think pets are creepy in the house.

The literature is loaded with articles about Pet Therapy. Pooches are taken to nursing homes; suddenly there is hope and love in that world. Petting a dog or cat lowers our blood pressure. Having a dog or cat around means there is always a beating heart to listen to. Right now we have our big standard poodle, Lillian, and a little rescue poodle, Zoe. The house is way too quiet and humorless when they are at the groomer. In fact, we had two standard poodles, but Miss Bessie died of a vicious anemia, and we got Zoe because all three of us--husband, wife, and Lillian--felt an empty space in our hearts.

A French poet in the last century insisted on walking a leashed lobster in the Tuileries gardens. He said he liked having a lobster for a pet because, “They don’t bark, and they know the secrets of the deep.”

OK. Another prejudice. Dogs and cats and birds are wonderful. Perhaps a ferret, if one likes weasels. But a lobster? Creepy in the house.


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