Two lines deserve to be tattooed on my forearms given how much I'm living my life by them. One is nothing new - The Mountain Goats' angry anthem, a determined and crazy and desperate mandate: I am gonna make it through this year if it kills me. (This, incidentally, lends itself well to insertions of "motherfucker" as in, I'm gonna fucking make it through this year even it motherfucking kills me). The other one is Otis Redding: I can't do what ten people tell me to do.
I vanished to the North for two weeks and it was an adventure full of smaller adventures tied up with an adventure with a side of adventure. Exploits include moose sightings, Indian buffets, an LCD Soundsystem concert, a wedding with bottomless Makers' Mark and lobster mac and cheese, leather jackets, and lots and lots of trees. Also, lots and lots of Milwaukee's Best. And lots and lots of driving. I saw two states I'd never seen, ate a homemade whoopie pie on the steps of an old church, and saw a moose. Did I mention there were moose? We decided the moose had organized a congress in the woods and knew of my arrival.
All in all, it was a much needed and wonderful span of days.
And I felt pretty triumphant when I crossed the VA-NC border, knowing my apartment was mere hours away, and my dog, and my bed. But there's also a hell of a lot of obligation here, which I felt as soon as I opened the door and wrangled Pinto to the ground (he missed me a lot). Emails from bosses. Missed phone calls. Voicemails.
That, paired with a residual claustrophobia from driving I-95 from Portland, ME to Rocky Point, NC, made it real real tempting to get back in the car and head West, throw my phone into the Mississippi, and rent some ranch in Montana with my student loans and adopt 8 more dogs.
In short, coming home made me feel like a crazy person.
Which, in turn, made me an incredibly ill person.
I got sick in Maine, I think in part because I stepped out of the car in Farmington and realized I'd just fucking driven to Maine - and thought nothing of it. I'd hit a point as I was driving that was both terrifying and liberating--no one knew where I was, aka I was beholden to nobody, had no responsibility besides keeping the car on the road, didn't have to do anything. The other side of that, though, is pretty horrifying--I could crash and no one would know. I could just keep driving, reach Canada, see how many days I could go missing.
Again--crazy person thoughts.
But I got to Maine, and as soon as I stopped traveling, BLAMMO! Fever from hell. Fortunately my host was insanely gracious even when I slept for 15 hours straight and requested a bath at midnight (he had a Jacuzzi so it's not all that crazy). And it was a weirdly low-key vacation (though, to be fair, there are two bars in Farmington, and they're spittin' distance from one another) of watching movies and driving through the foliage and drinking coffee in jimjams, which was, weirdly, just what I needed.
I've been hesitant to type in this thing because it's inaccurate. It's a public forum and it makes me want to crack jokes, which is good, because cracking jokes keeps me going sometimes (I still think Grampa is a hilarious name for a dog), but it also feels pretty artificial at points.
Plus, man, I really just want to bitch about work and school and everything and that's bound to get me in more trouble than I inherently, perpetually find myself in (and I ended on a preposition but whatever!).
This is what it comes down to, though, and why Otis Redding has been added to the Rachel @23 Playlist Of Life: Pinto.
(BECAUSE EVERYTHING IS ABOUT PINTO!!!!)
No seriously guys this one isn't a joke!
Lately, I need Porching as early as Wednesdays, because by Wednesday, I'm as fried as a pickle and there are two fucking days left before it's the weekend--I lay in bed and think, "I'm gonna make it, I'll survive," but there's the corny question of survival vs. oh, you know, enjoying your glorious twenties. I realize I sound like I have some hideous disease (which, currently, I do, ha!), and, as far as I know, I don't. But I go to bed feeling badgered and hounded and--there has to be another animal verb--moosed and like I am before some tribunal and they are all so, so disappointed in me. My bosses don't think I'm working hard enough. My classmates think I'm a drunk; my peers a sentimentalist whose blog is the narcissistic, babbly ramblings of a dog-obsessed overgrown child. The editors of all the journals I submit to think I'm ridiculous for my stories about God as the Lincoln Memorial. My parents wish I would grow the fuck up already.
(Of course, all of this is supposition - I don't know what anybody thinks, but man, it sure feels like I do.)
And then there's Pinto. And what does Pinto think?
"I sure wish you'd take me out to poop soon."
Or: "Could you throw this hedgehog toy for me?"
Or: "I'd like to be on your lap for a while. Thanks."
What I mean is this: I can fulfill Pinto's needs. I am always doing a good job with Pinto, even when I'm not, because he's alive and well-fed and only gets the shits sporadically nowadays. I just got out of a relationship where I was supposed to be filling the other party's every need, and I couldn't do it, because no one can--but Pinto's a dog. He needs somebody to open doors for him because he has no hands.
So I've been deadly ill all week, and the only fun of it is hanging out with Pinto, who might be 65 pounds but is convinced he is a lapdog. And Pinto will not go get me Sudafed or a box of Kleenex or another gallon of orange juice (though I think he would if he could). But what he does do, and what he always will, is love me, no matter how bitchy or dirty or sickly I am.
And that, friends, is why I am going to capitalize on the Marley & Me market and write The Pinto Papers, which I plan on beginning as soon as I get all this MFA literary avant-garde shit out of my system first. Pinto's face is gonna be all over your Barnes & Noble - you just wait.