Bitty and I are upstanding members of society. Bitty is a social worker. I…well, I’m a good for nothing actor and writer, but Bitty’s kind deeds make up for me.
We have a dog that barks occasionally. At the mailman, the gardeners, the solicitors. We like that his bark scares off criminals who have been increasingly displaced and wandering our neighborhood. We keep the dog locked in a dog run on the far side of the house when we are away from home, and even bought a bark collar. Perhaps you read this previous post written by none other than Jack T. Dog.
But if you ask our neighbors (who are not even directly behind us), you’d think we’d killed somebody. Actually, given the NRA sticker on the neighbor’s truck, a trifling little murder might be forgiven.
But not letting an old dog bark a few times.
The wife is into zen. You know, New Age spiritualism and thoughtfulness. She practices in her meditation room with all the windows open. (Let me take this moment to mention that all the windows are open in the house. All. The. Time.)
Now, look, I’m all for being spiritual and zen and thoughtful. Be a Buddist, be a Krisha, be a Christian, whatever floats your boat. Be whatever it takes to be more relaxed and enlightened.
But this situation reminds me of a friend who a dozen years ago was viewing open houses in search of one to buy. After touring a house in which every inch of every wall was covered with plaques effusing morals and righteousness and goodness, this friend said to me, “If you need remind yourself — on every surface of your house — to be a decent person, then what kind of person are you really?”
Uh, yep. If you need to work so hard to be zen, or thoughtful, or spiritual that you can’t tolerate your neighbors or their occasionally barking dog, then what kind of person are you? One that should get a clue and close your damn windows. We’ve comprised (dog collar, locked dog run). You can do the same.
Thank you for this very cathartic rant. I feel better after practicing my religion — writing.