Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Walking to Work

After a dream filled eleven and a half hour sleep, I woke up and felt like someone had hit me in the small of my back with a sledgehammer. All that sleep hadn't even really lessened the Sunday funk I'd slipped into the day before. I had been feeling lonely and mopey. I really wished I could just crawl back into bed for another eleven and a half hours, but it was Monday and there were kids that needed to be taught. So I got myself together and set off.

Half way to work, my "outside dog," who I've kind of named "Good Boy" came bounding at me. When he hears me approaching (I think it's the clicks my bag make as it thumps against my hip) he stops whatever he's doing and turns to look at me. He recognizes me in seconds, and comes at me full force in what only can be described as a "happy run." His front legs barely bend. He gallops. This dog is fast. And he's such a good boy! I pulled out my camera to take his picture.
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He always follows me to work, and the grandmas selling vegetables on the street across from my school always laugh at me with my dog. Once we get to my building, I reward him with a snack. He takes it gently from my hand and then trots off back to his home, small overgrown field behind an abandoned restaurant.

After taking his picture, I decided to take another one, but I'll get to that in a moment. I was considering doing a post on walking to work. I was inspired by this picture I took last week.
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I've passed this chair for over two years now. It used to be a chair, anyhow. It's been melting -turning into a lump of junk to go along with all the other lumps of junk on my way to work. It's flattening out under the effects of rain and sun. I look at it and think, "Oh, there's that flair!" (A mix of flat and chair.)

I've walked my route to school maybe seven hundred times, give or take whatever. I've tended, in the last few hundred times, to try to ignore most of what I see. Truthfully, weeks go by and I pass the flair and I don't even think about it. But while I had my camera out today, I took a picture of the scene before me.
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This pile of junk grows bigger and smaller. Its contents change, but it's always there. Piles of junk are everywhere.

When my friend Ryan was here a couple springs ago, we'd walk around and I'd ask him if he needed things we were passing.
"Do you need a rusty tricycle?"
"Mmmmm, not really."
We'd walk on.
"How about a bowling ball?"
"It's a little broken, it won't roll right."
"Mmmm yes, you're right. But you could get that hardhat and drop the bowling ball on your head!"
"That might be fun. Maybe we can pick it up on the way home."
"All those bones? We can make soup."
"Uhhhhh, maybe no."
"Electric guitar with broken strings?"
"Now you're talkin'!"

Nathan, over at Seoul Hero, recently posted some pictures from Korea University, where he's teaching. I have to say, I was impressed - and jealous. It looks so pretty! The campus looks so pristine!

My walk to work is not like that.
If you're squeamish, stop reading now. Seriously.

I carried on today, my outside dog prancing beside me, and as I was putting my camera away I spotted something. My brain couldn't figure out what it was seeing, so I squinted at it - even though it was just a few feet away from me - trying to recognize what it was. Whatever it was, it wasn't good. Suddenly I knew what it was, I could tell by its ears, and I shrieked, startling the old man who was passing to the right of me. He jumped.
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Just like the flair used to be a chair, this used to be a dog.

I dry heaved a few times on the way to work.

I told Jane about it, and she said it had probably been hit by a car. I told her I thought not. I bet it was someone's dinner. She said no, because they usually burn the fur off. I told her I knew that was true, but this dog was missing all its insides and its bones. Maybe whoever cooked the dog didn't have a blowtorch handy. She said, again, it was probably hit by a car, and I told her it must have been some kind of car to knock his insides out so cleanly.

I worry that I have to pass it tomorrow and the day after and I won't be able to avert my eyes. I worry that it's going to go rancid and reek up the already reekiness of my walk to work. I wonder what the kids passing it will think. I wonder my my Good Boy thinks.

I don't know if it's related, but I suffered a couple mini panic attacks today at work. They were weird; it was like I suddenly couldn't catch my breath and my chest seized up. It was the same kind of feeling as if I'd walked around a corner and someone jumped out to scare me.

Sometimes I don't know how to wrap up my posts.


John McCrarey said...

Wow. Is there an alternative route you can take for a week or two?

Good Boy is a handsome dog, he is lucky to have you as a friend.

Hang in there, Jenn.

Kevin said...

Ditto what John said. Hang in there!