Friday, December 26, 2003

What a lousy morning. I had really intended sleeping in. I was up until three this morning reading The Seven Storey Mountain, one of the books I got for Christmas. I had wanted to sleep in a bit, then take up reading as soon as I woke up this morning.

Last night was so wonderful. My dad had taken Izzy so I didn't have to deal with his whining and barking all night. And I had curled up with a nice book, in the heat of my mother's absence - which is to say, she never lets me have to the heat up past 64 at night, and while the cat's away the mouse will play, replete with holiday treats like honest-to-God wonderfully caffeine-filled Mt. Dew. I simply read for hours, which, I think, may be the closest resemblance of earth to heaven. I finally collapsed at three thirty or something, from pure pleasure and exhaustion, and had to sleep.

This morning, my mother came home with a vengeance. She's clearly in one of her moods. Outside of insisting that the house be cleaned from top to bottom, she's freaked out about Isaac and wants to take him to the pound. One of the least pleasant aspects of my childhood was this rift in my mother's and my outlooks on animals. It's true that I'd take all of the dogs in the world in if given a half a chance, and that there's no animal I wouldn't save. But my mother thinks that animals exist for the immediate pleasure of humans, and if they cease to give immediate pleasure, they should be done away with. So some of my worst memories from childhood are those awful days when I'd get off the school bus in the afternoon, immediately go searching for one pet or another, only to be told that my mother had had it hauled off to the pound while I was away.

What was so infuriating about it was how cowardly she'd go about it. She wouldn't tell me that the pet had to go so I could make proper peace with it, or whatever semblance of making peace with it I could manage. Instead, she'd wait until I was gone and helpless to have it hauled away - mind you, she could never sully herself by putting the animal in its probable last abode personally. By sneaking it there she managed to avoid messy emotional scenes in which she'd: a) possibly be swayed by my arguments, or tears anyway, and we'd have to keep the animal; b) very clearly look the bad guy to anyone who might see it, and most obviously look the bad guy to herself. And, it was easier if you could tell the kid that you're not allowed to have the animal back because of imaginary laws which exist preventing the re-getting of dogs from the pound that you've dropped off, no matter how much you'd like to. She always told me that she didn't know I'd be so upset about getting rid of the animal. Which was, of course, like the entire matter, utterly bullshit.

And so, this morning, six hours into the sleep which I had hoped would mark the first time I got to sleep in this vacation, I awoke to the sound of my parents bickering. I walked out into it half-asleep, blind to the awful subject at hand, and immediately embroiled myself therein.

I took on this stupid paternal tone, and tried to give my best battle cry for Isaac. "He's our dog! You have a responsbility toward him! He's been our dog for eight years, and he's defended us faithfully and never been any real trouble before. You know these things can happen with dogs; you know that before you ever get a dog. And eight years ago, you committed to riding out whatever may come with Izzy until the end of his life. If you don't like it now, and even I don't like it this very second, that's a shame. But you have to show a little respect toward his life. For the past eight years, you know he would have died for you, and you can't just act like that isn't worth anything."

For the moment, I have the upper hand, but I don't expect it will last long. I'm petting Izzy goodbye every time I turn my back or leave the house from now on. It's hard not to anticipate that I'll head off to school one day, and when I return, he'll be gone for good.