"Attention, Trader Joe's customers, will the owner of a freezing brown dog tied up outside the store please come to the front desk?". I was already deep in line, Sunday morning crowds as expected. I looked around to see if anyone reacted to this announcement and saw a lot of warmly dressed middle class Angelenos waiting patiently to check out. It was hovering around 50 degrees, the closest thing to winter that Los Angeles ever sees, and rain was imminent. I happened to glance over toward the front door that exits onto Vine Street and saw the dog that had warranted the announcement. I found it vaguely annoying that the announcer had mentioned that he was "freezing", as he was a large Chow with a substantial rust colored coat. He may have been lost, but he was far from freezing. He stood in the middle of the sidewalk looking perplexedly into the store. He wore a harness but no leash. Passers by began to stop and through the front window I could see that a lot of people were staring and looking and wondering what this dog was doing there by itself. A somewhat pregnant looking father stood with his young daughter, waiting to see the outcome and presumably the face of the despicable person who had left their dog on the sidewalk on such a "freezing" day. A few well intentioned people hovered around the dog: a young well dressed couple with a baby in a stroller, a middle aged woman wearing jeans, a baggy sweatshirt and a beret, and a pretty Asian woman in full make-up, strappy high heels and a white fur lined parka. They had formed a circle around the dog while the beret woman came in and told the front desk that the dog was now loose and wandering. Another announcement was made and, within seconds, a fleece clad fifty something Hispanic woman rushed out and claimed her dog. I couldn't hear the exchange but based on the body language of the people who had stopped to help the dog, she was less than appreciative. She walked quickly down the sidewalk with another fleece clad woman. She looked nervous from my vantage point, which struck me as curious and kind of sad. The pregnant father tailed her for a few moments. The well dressed couple pushed their stroller up the street in the opposite direction, looking back at the woman and her dog a few times. The beret woman and the Asian woman had a two minute conversation with a lot of shrugging and head shaking, presumably rehashing the cruelty they had just witnessed and congratulating each other on taking such extraordinary measures to put a stop to it. Everyone walked away feeling righteous about themselves except the woman with the dog-she probably felt lucky that her dog didn't get hit by a car. I walked away thoroughly annoyed with the human race. People are so fucking annoying.
Don't get me wrong, helping a lost dog is a praiseworthy thing to do, but they all acted like they were transporting refugees across a war torn perimeter instead of engaging in the simple act of being aware. Awareness is something that we owe our fellow earthlings, animal and otherwise. Helping others is not this great sacrifice that deserves back slapping and complex analysis. It also made me wonder if it were the fleece clad woman lying on the sidewalk waiting for her dog- would they have reacted with same intensity?
As I drove home, it occurred to me that I haven't made any resolutions this year. I have been busy dealing with a lot of annoying middle class shit:
1) I have been traveling for the last ten days and am overwhelmed by the re-entry. I have a HUGE mountain of clothing that needs putting away and piles of tedious miscellany to attend to. I need a vacation after my vacation, which is now officially being called a trip. A week with five kids under six is NOT a vacation.
2) My pediatrician of five years was unnecessarily rude to me on the phone yesterday, then called me today out of the blue all agreeable, which makes me wonder if I have a Facebook mole who tipped him off to my unflattering though anonymous depiction of him in last night's status update. I am now officially paranoid.
3) I accidentally erased an entire file, including hundreds of scripts, on my husband's Ipad while uploading Scrabble for the kids to play. Now he can't do his job and the kids might be going to public school next year.
4)The kids got a exceptionally nice play structure for Christmas, and they christened it with violence, complaining and constant injuries. After an hour, I gave up and sent them inside to watch TV so I could start drinking. It was 4:42 pm.
5) I have a weird thing by my eye that needs a dermatologist. It might be cancer or some sort of growth, but I really, really don't feel like dealing with it.
6) I am procrastinating buying tickets to our school's fundraiser because I don't want to spend three hundred dollars on tickets to get dressed in a bedazzled jean jacket and go spend six hundred dollars on something that is worth a hundred dollars. I hate bejeweled clothing with a passion.
7) A handful of my nearest and dearest are in some sort if crisis and I can't help them. It hurts my heart.
SO, while I am not dying from terminal illness or evading roving death squads in some landlocked country in Africa, I am having a few issues with 2011 thus far. Despite the fact that, while I write this, my older child, Big, is hounding, threatening and fake crying her way to a time out because she wants a cookie, I will make those resolutions right now. Hang on, let me just go get her that cookie.......
My New Years Resolutions for 2011
1) Travel less-stay home and enjoy our well feathered but seriously cluttered nest.
2) Change pediatricians. Who needs that bullshit when your kid has red spots on her vagina?
3)Stop writing about people on Facebook, even anonymously. The world is small, terribly, ridiculously small. They always find out.
4)Stay away from my husband's Ipad. Period.
5) Play with the kids on the play structure even when I don't want to. Soon they will be locked in their rooms texting like maniacs while the play structure rots in the back yard.
6) Put on something sparkly, go to the fundraiser and bid on something we might actually use. Write the check already. They need the money, and they do a excellent job with my kids.
7) Keep tabs on my nearest and dearest and let them know that I am here for them, tears, fears and all.
8) Talk less, judge less, curl my lip less, eat less, complain less.
9) Write more, compliment more, smile more, run more, and GET FUCKING HAPPY!!!
10) Rescue some stray dogs. Had the opportunity to do it last month and it does feel good, even though the owner was an unappreciative bitch.