"Getting back out there" may require strategic pet hair management
Lately, both of my friends have been nudging me to “get back out there.” My friends are my dogs, and they want me to take them to the river again. But their insistence got me thinking – if I had human friends, would they be trying to get me back out there, too? Would they simply want me to leave the house, or would they mean it euphemistically as putting myself back out there? getting back on the horse? making like a calendar and getting 30 dates in the month of June?
I hope not. I hope they would recognize that, at this stage of life, a man like me must choose between potential romance and tending to his own well-being. Frankly, that’s an easy choice for me, because this week’s dishes aren’t going to wash themselves, and I am fresh out of clean butter knives.
But that doesn’t negate the hard reality that it would sometimes, on occasion, be nice to have someone else to wash butter knives FOR. I mean, the dogs don’t care how many days in a row I use the same knife for scooping up peanut butter for their pills. On the other hand, if another human being could show up at my door at any moment – particularly a human being I had a vested interest in impressing – I might feel compelled to keep clean-looking utensils on hand at all times. Or at least to conceal the clearly used ones in a cupboard.
This would be fine if I had only to worry about the cutlery. I don’t, though. I also have to worry about the rug. My dogs like to lie on it. And my dogs are comprised almost entirely of fur. Consequently, so is the rug. It has steadily upgraded its synthetic fibers with dog ones, and now I have a dog-fur rug. The dogs seem to like it, and I quite appreciate how the rug hides dirt and all the excess dog hair it can’t keep up with.
However, other people might feel differently about our rug. On the rare occasions they visit, my mother’s voice echoing in my skull admonishes me to vacuum it (the rug, not my skull). So I roll up the rug, along with my mother’s voice, and stash them in the back room. And then I don’t let anyone snuggle up on the dog-fur couch long enough to ask me if I’ve ever considered putting down a rug.
Now lest I have given the impression that I lead a dirty life, that is not my intent. It might be the truth – but it’s not how I want you to think of me. Rather, I’d like to distract you with my evolved philosophy regarding house cleaning, which is that a house is never fully clean – the act of tidying up simply makes a space cleanER than it was before. This mindset transforms every act of cleanliness from a vain Sisyphean effort against dust into its own precious victory. I may not have folded all the laundry, but I paired two socks that started the day unpaired! I polished the handles on a sink! I watered a plant before it died!
This sense of accomplishment boosts my self-esteem and sets me up for an entire stretch of confident living. My ease and self-assurance could explain why, despite my satisfaction with my life with my dogs, the dating realm seems to be hounding me, nosing me, tugging puppyishly at my shirt, begging me to get back out there.
Of course, we are all still emerging from a pandemic mindset, and restless people are eager for any human interaction at all – which certainly explains their possible interest in me. There’s no other explanation for it, because I am, to put it gently, no longer a presentable human being.
I took advantage of The Covid Era to focus on the things that really matter, like taking my dogs for long walks and training my dogs to ignore me when anything more exciting comes along, and calculating how on earth two dogs can possibly poop four times as much as one dog. I didn’t have TIME for a social life, or bathing. Now that the world is open again, other people crave feeling not bored – and I feel my life is more rich and full and beautiful than ever. I have everything I could ever need, right here with me. Though I could sure use an extra butter knife.
– Zach Hively