My dog is not a good neighbor. That is her, Princess Prudence. She is incredibly sweet and a diva in every way. But alas, it’s true. She is a terrible neighbor. A few years ago she was attacked by a St. Bernard at the dog park. Although, in my estimation and those who saw the fight my 12lb baby girl not only held her own, she won. However the incident has left her traumatized, and she has severe fear aggression anytime she sees or hears another dog.
We recently moved into the city from the suburbs, and she has had to adjust to more people, dogs, noise, smaller living space, being on a leash all the time (this is the law), and apartment style living. While we love it, she has had a really hard time of it. She is on more anti-anxiety drugs than most humans, and I feel like it has only taken the edge off. We are working on training, but at 8 years old…you know the saying. Old dogs and new tricks…we need a lot of wine.
I try and walk he early in the morning to limit her exposure, but sometimes it is just unavoidable. This morning there were more dogs out than usual. Probably because the temperature is supposed to hit 88 degrees (31.1 C for those of you who need it) and it is already really humid. (As a side note-10 days ago it snowed.) But there is a dog who is chronically off leash. His name is Mario. Unlike Prudence he is well behaved. But, a dog off leash is especially scary to her. As she is under my control and the dog is not under ANY. She begins to go into her usual Cujo frenzy and pulls me down. It is important to explain that a normal human being would not get pulled down by a 12lb freakishly strong dog…but unfortunately I am not normal. I have Young Onset Parkinson’s Disease. Which means this 6′ woman has a long way to fall and does so easily.
After many moons of being silent, in the moment of humiliation I screamed “Your dog needs to be on a leash.”
To which she replied, “Did he bite you?” No, no he did not bite me bitch.
“No, but it is the law. He is scaring my dog. You have just undone weeks of training.”
To which she replied, ‘If your dog was better neighbor, this wouldn’t have happened.”
Ahhhh there it was….tears from pain in my toes, dirty from the mud (it rained overnight), and wounded pride came rejection. Quickly I felt the shame of being a bad dog mom, and the humiliation of being broken in body. I rushed my baby as fast as my hobbling and not shaking legs would take me inside. PD has a way of exacerbating anxiety. More anxious I feel the more I shake. Nothing like a physical display to show what I am feeling inside. Round and round that goes.
Anyway, I get Ms. P into the elevator and enter contempt. In another life, I probably would have punched the woman. I am still figuring out how I can send a strongly worded email. Post something humiliating in her building (it’s next door to ours), or a messed up post on the neighborhood associations Facebook page. But right now, I want to do to her what she has done to me. I want revenge. I am reveling in the bitterness and have her feel the pain she inflicted. I want to sit with and exploit the bitterness and rub her face in it.
I realize that in the face of his addiction, I have journeyed with contempt the most. The unintended by-product of rejection. I have spent countless hours giving him the stink eye. I have shouted, ” YOU ARE NOT A MAN” In his ear…more times than I care to remember. And while it hurt him, the sad reality is contempt slid into bitterness and rage quickly. It destroyed me more. I hated who I was, and how petty I became. I let passive aggressive behavior rule me, and I became somewhat addicted to that false feeling of empowerment contempt brings.
I don’t want to let contempt go, but I know I will feel more adjusted and content if I did. I feel like Meg Ryan in French Kiss. “You people make my ass twitch.” When I survey all those that have rejected me. I want to rage. I want to be bitter. It seems I have some work to do in this area. Crap.