Sunday, January 27, 2013

A Dog and a Bush

         We once had a bush by our back door. It seemed much in need of a trim. I had never owned (or even used) a pair of loppers before and, so, became a little drunk with my new found lopping power.  My boyfriend asked me to stop…then pleaded, then insisted, then finally just walked away. It was not long before the bush became a stump and then the stump became an impaling stick. Since it was so close to the doorway, the impaling stick seemed like a real liability.  A heavy-duty truck had to be employed to remove this sharp little nubby because, apparently, mighty bush roots grow deep and wide.  To his credit, my boyfriend remained with me in spite of the bush episode and hundreds of other moments just like it.

      I was reminded of the bush incident tonight, as I continued to trudge through a basement filled with boxes upon boxes of old records, fully equipped with my trusted black Sharpie.  Even though our new fire-pit arrives via fed-ex tomorrow and my boyfriend has begged me not to waste time “redacting” personal and financial information from the paper scraps that are intended to be tinder, here I am at 12:00am with marker in hand and going strong until, finally, my “redacting” project is done.

       Cognizant of all of this as I scratch out my personal data with a vengeance, I ask myself why I do these things.  Lop, lop, lop with the loppers.  Scratch, scratch, scratch with the marker.  Then, as if in response to these questions, I came across an old credit card bill.  It is strange just how much going through old boxes of papers in your basement can be like an archaeological dig at the site of some long-lost civilization and how an old credit card bill can tell quite a story — short, simple, and blunt.

      March 7, vet visit (dog has scratched his eyeball and it is now infected), $315.  March 9, vet visit (dog is having adverse reaction to eyeball medication), $298.  March 13, emergency vet clinic (2:27 am, dog manages to get small object lodged in his nose and starts making a horrible choking sound), $267.  March 14, follow-up care with regular vet (new medication regime is prescribed requiring hourly dosing), $99.  March 15-17, vet care plus boarding (because, dear mother of God, I have a trial in 2 days to prepare for and I just can’t keep driving to the vets every other hour), $197.  March 18, Giant Food Store for wine and cheese (trial is over, client's custody case has been dismissed because she did not show up for court for the third time in a row, and client has left voice mail message emphatically stating that she will not be paying her legal bill), $37.92.  March 19 (at approximately 1:58 pm), beloved dog decides to dine on a tarp, requiring yet another visit to the vet's office (tarp removal), $212.87.  March 19 (3:05pm, while dog waits in car), ABC store charge for Jose Cuervo and a bottle of lime juice, $38.95.
      Suddenly, the reasons why moments like the bush lopping and the paper mark-ups occur seem very clear and simple to me.  Lop, lop, lop.  Scratch, scratch, scratch.  Drink, drink, drink.  And people ask me why I don’t have children.

© 2013  Jennifer Mandell.  All rights reserved.