As happy as a three-legged dog
October 21 , 2005

I love my neighborhood, it's funky down-at-the-heels-but-struggling-to-hipness; it's great mixture of classes and races and ethnicities. It's a real neighborhood, not a housing development grouped around shopping centers. And I will miss it. 

Less than three weeks until I move. Three weeks from yesterday. I've started grieving for my lost home, my lost neighborhood. I suppose I've been grieving all along, but I'm acknowledging it now, letting it in. I'm moving someplace I don't want to move, but there's no help for it. Since I haven't got any choice, I've tried to embrace the move and make it my own—and that's worked well for the most part. But I'm exhausted now, and that always brings my negative emotions closer to the surface. 

On the drive home from work last night I was brooding about all this—brooding is a talent of mine and I exercised it with great vigor last night. I decided to do something really suicidal, so I turned off Venice Boulevard into a quiet residential section of Venice so I could cut through the back way to Lincoln to visit an execrable fast food drive-through joint. Nothing like fast food to really crash my emotions and body. 

But deep in the lushest part of this neighborhood, where ancient trees grow tall and shady, where the streets are broad and from the early Twentieth Century, as are the houses, I saw a group of kids playing. They ran across the street down the block from me, laughing, and followed by a three-legged golden retriever. He smiled and laughed right along with them—you know that look dogs get on their faces when they're with people they love and all's right with the world? He was vigorous and running on his three legs and his coat gleamed with good health and good care and he was completely in the moment and happy.  

And I thought, Puppy's got it right.  

I have a safe and dry place to sleep; I am in reasonably good health, well-fed and well-groomed; I have a place to go and things to do; I have people who love me and want to play with me. What's to be unhappy? So I only have three legs. It hasn't stopped me from running.


Copyright © 2010 P.J. Thompson