Wednesday, May 04, 2016

walking the dog

I hate routines.

I have told you that before. But it is still true. I think. Even though I seem to have fallen into a Babbitish hole of self-conformity.

A couple of weeks ago, I was feeling a bit bored. My usual antidote for ennui is a trip. A week in Paris sounded as if it would be perfect.

So, I sat down at my laptop and started booking flights. The Mexico City to Paris route is one of my favorites. With my flight in hand, I started looking for a room at any of my favorite hotels in the City of Lights.

Just booking the trip started to perk me up.

Then Barco walked in -- and my trip took flight without me. As long as he is in his terrible late puppy months (and he is living them in spades), I cannot leave him with anyone. Even for one night.

Since he arrived, my days have taken on a structure that I have tried to avoid since I retired.

When the sun comes up, he is up. I feed him and we are off for our morning walk -- accompanied by the ever faithful

The walk has two purposes. One -- to give Barco an opportunity to discharge his musket after eating breakfast. And two -- to give him an opportunity to burn off some puppy energy
running in the park with

Well, running and wrestling. Both dogs love to play fight. Complete with curled lips, bared teeth, and plenty of stylized snarls.

That goes on for an hour or so. While they play, I take the opportunity to run through more Duolingo units. Even though, I have completed the program, it allows me to go back to prior units to work on weak words and grammar.

When I am ready to go, the dogs never are. With Barco on his leash, we get about two paces before Barco tackles
Güera -- or she makes a preemptive strike on him. It is always a long walk home.

When I get back to the house, I prepare my breakfast and read the morning newspaper or finish up my Duolingo units -- and then study my Spanish lessons.

Whenever I find a break, I read the current editions of The Economist and National Review. Or I pull out whichever presidential biography I am currently reading. This month's subject is Chester Arthur. I may share some of the biography with you in the future.

At 11, I feed Barco his lunch and take him for another half-hour to hour walk -- just in time to get me to my noon Spanish class, where I will stay until about 3.

When I get home, I take Barco out for a brief walk, and then get back to my Spanish lessons and recreational reading.

Around 5 or 6, I feed him again, and we head out for another hour walk. This is the walk (and my later walk in the evening) where I see most of my neighbors.

Then, it is back to the house for my dinner and a bit of recreational reading before I take him out for his pre-sleep walk. As for me, I read some more and get to bed around midnight or so.

Then, it all starts again.

The dog has changed my life. There is no doubt about that. He has brought some responsibility and structure back to my life -- even though I am not certain most of it is very welcome. After all, I moved to Mexico to escape both.

But the trade-off is that I have a boon companion. It is not a perfect relationship. What relationship is?

I often tell people who say they are not happy with life that they are chasing a chimera. The best we can hope for is to be content.

And that I am.

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