Now that it's May and I'm again teetering on the edge of my Haven't-Posted-in-Awhile-Extreme-Guilt-Breaking-Point, I've decided to post something I actually wrote approximately nine months ago. In spite of what you think, I haven't been slacking off during all this not-posting I've been accomplishing. In fact, I've been faithfully and regularly writing many, many things that are much too terrible to release into the swirling currents of the internet. As a result, I now have a powerful and mind-boggling collection of 76 drafts, one of which I am going to share with you today.
Although I've changed some parts of the following post to make it seem more like I wrote it this morning, I think the subject itself remains as relevant today as it would have had I written it a decade ago.
And so, hitherto and forewithal and with no provocation at all, I hereby present "Draft #61: Running with Dog".
I want to run with my dog Lila.
I can picture it: I'm all glowing with muscular calves and a bouncy blonde ponytail, running casually yet powerfully beside my sleek, obediant dog into the sunset. On a beach. Barefoot. With the leash hanging loosely from my hand. There's tons of sea glass, naturally, glittering upon the white sand. And there are dolphins.
Other people can do this. I'm not 100% sure about the dolphin-and-sea-glass part but certainly there are many people who engage in the symbiotic running part with their dogs. I witness it out the car window all the time. We left Lila with two friends when we went to California last summer, and they took her running every single day because they're inherently better people than we are and presumably also because she was driving them insane. (Lila lives her life with a lot of enthusiasm.) Aside from a single Mysterious-Possible-Dead-Cat-Related-Whiplash Incident, Lila apparently ran with fluffy white angel wings strapped to her back and a halo stuck crookedly around her ears.
And so, in conclusion, I'm jealous. Other people can run with my dog, but I cannot.
Now I'm no pet psychologist, but I believe my dog's fantasy deviates significantly from mine, and therein lies the problem. First of all in Lila's fantasy, there are no dolphins and there is no beach, because Lila doesn't care for water or large chittering sea-mammals. There is no sea glass, because what's the point? And there is no leash. Fifthly, I'm not there either. And we're not actually running. And, finally, there's cat poop.
Extrapolating here, I figure our communication process goes something like this:
"Lila," I'll say, "We're going on a run today. And I'm going to wear a ponytail!"
And my dog will hear: "Lila, we're going for a walk during which we'll get to smell a lot of things today. A lot, do you hear me? It will be a veritable fiesta of smelling! You will have to abruptly stop every three feet for the purposes of smelling all the things! At least!"
And then we'll be in the process of running and I'll say, "Good job, Lila! You're running like a champ! Look at us get exercise! Look at my calves!"
And my dog will hear: "Lila! Lila! For God's sake, stop! Stop now! There's something to smell! We mustn't pass it without smelling it!!"
What's happening is that we're both attempting to fulfill our personal fantasies when we try to run together: I want the muscular legs, shiny ponytail, and friendly sea creatures; Lila wants cat poop and lots of it.
But what we've failed to realize up until now is that if we want to run together, we're going to have to compromise. Compromise is the backbone of any solid running partnership between woman and dog. And of course by "compromise", I mean I'm going to have to exchange Lila for a dolphin.