I try to be the type of person I would like to be. Tolerant, gentle, understanding- but sometimes I’m so crabby I don’t even like myself. I turn into this ridiculous, snarling poop-head who can’t stop flinging uncalled for judgements towards innocent bystanders such as the elderly lady ahead of me in line at the grocery store.
In my mind I’m running down a list of all the reasons she shouldn’t be allowed to be in the space she is occupying, mostly because I have ninety-six things to do in the next two hours and she’s making me late. (Never mind that I’ve overscheduled myself.) She also has too many groceries for the express lane and everyone knows a person can only have eight items- a clear violation of the rules. I have also deemed she moves too slowly to be out among the rest of us. (Again never mind that I have my own issues and possess only one speed myself.) Her little blue-haired head shakes as does her hand, which is why it’s taking so long for her to produce the exact change. I mentally add it to the list of unacceptable behaviors …why EXACT change? Just give the cashier some bills for crying out loud!
At this point I have to show everyone within hearing distance that my person has been put upon by uttering an immense sigh. You know, the ‘horse’ sigh. I add an eye roll for effect while clearly displaying my six items to others in line so as to validate my ‘right’ at being the turd I am being.
Just as she says something about having a coupon in her purse…and my head is about to explode…I think of my beautiful Ammulett.
Ammulett was my senior Leonberger dog. She made her transition at ten years old and she had more than a few issues. She was grey-muzzled and rickety. Wear and tear and illness had robbed her body of muscle mass so I helped her to her feet most of the time. When she was seven, she had a spinal cord stroke that left her back end so weak she would fall over if she turned too quickly (and by ‘quick’ I mean a concentrated plan that elapsed over time.) and I often had to catch her when we were on a walk. Climbing steps was a front end only maneuver so I picked up the caboose. At some point she started a geriatric tilt her to head that did a little bob every now and then that gave her a palsy look. While eating she frequently had kibble dribble out of her mouth. She couldn’t tell when she had to pooh so it just plopped out whenever. If I had been out of the house for a while I would have to go find her and wake her to let her now I was home because she couldn’t hear very well anymore. But she was always so happy to see me that it was the first thing I did on my return.
To the world I am sure she was just a great big doddering old dog with little beauty left in her crippled body. But that is not what I saw whenever I looked at her. That is not how I felt when I hugged her. I saw my beautiful Ammulett in her prime. Strong. Confident. A Queen among commoners.
I look once more at the little lady trying to find a coupon in her purse and two things dawn on me.
One, she is somebody’s Ammulett (I mean that in the most loving way) and I can feel the familiar patience that I have employed when working with animals that are frustrating me. Suddenly, I don’t mind waiting for that coupon to make an appearance.
Two, maybe I wouldn’t get so aggravated with people if I just switched them out for other animals! What if I just shape-shifted that screaming child into a screaming puppy? How would it work if I simply looked at that annoying adolescent boy as a two year old Leonberger? I think I might be onto something here! Shape-shift that exhausting, name-dropping friend into a peacock. No one blames a peacock for spreading his tail, that’s the way he’s built, that’s what he does!
Of course, it is a little disappointing to discover I have to change humans into other animals so as NOT to be impatient-but desperate times call for desperate measures and I have to live with myself.
So if you find yourself in a desperate situation and you become frustrated with your spouse because they are not listening to you, do what I do, simply shape-shift them into a puppy. Everyone knows you can’t keep a puppy’s attention very long either…