I’m watching NatGeoWild. I like that sort of thing. Makes me feel sophisticated. Like I know and care, not just about the food on my table and the clothes on my back; but about the hunters of the Savannah and the crowns of the open skies. Don’t even get me started on the wonders of the Kalahari and the mysteries of the Amazon.
But I’m happiest among the secret gems of the ocean bed. There is something about those masses of water that is at once sinister and outright fascinating. So words like Ocean Surgeonfish and Longsnout butterflyfish just roll of my tongue like butter. I know it sounds like useless knowledge, but one day you’ll be seated next to a world famous Marine Biologist at a black tie dinner and you’ll really wish you’d paid more attention to my words of wisdom.
Anyway, today the object of my fascination is a little dog named Chloe. Chloe suffers from anxiety attacks. Her owner is worried that the impending Fourth of July fireworks might give her Chloe a heart attack. Chloe is also due for her annual shots. I swear, animals in the First World get better medical care than babies in the Third World. A fact I do not know whether to laugh or cry about.
And I’m totally dreading having to explain the concept of the Third World to my daughter someday. So many ways that conversation could go South. I mean, I’m not even sure I get it myself. And I just barely survived the interrogation on why it doesn’t snow here on Christmas day! Just try explaining to a four-year-old, what the tropics are and why the view outside her window is nothing like Disney’s white Christmas! You think that’s a tough discussion? Try this one for size;
“Mommy, why is that baby crying?”
“He’ s sick.”
“Why can’t his mommy take him to hospital?”
“Umm, she doesn’t have money to pay the Doctor.”
“Can you call emergency services to come get him?”
“Umm, I don’t think we can do that.”
“But on TV, emergency services went to take care of a baby cow!”
“I know baby, but here in Africa things don’t work like that.”
Eek! I’m hyperventilating already.
Meanwhile, Chloe’s Vet is talking her owner through possible solutions. She can try to soundproof Chloe’s room as much as possible, or increase background noise to distract her from loud noises. The Vet will also prescribe tranquilizers to help Chloe tolerate life during the more stressful situations.
It must be nice, I ponder. “This is too much. I’m just gonna pop a pill and relax until this situation sorts itself out!” The money I’d pay to get me a few of those! I mean, I know there are tonnes of ‘relaxing pills’, I’m just not sure they help with the whole ‘situation sorting itself out’ bit. Chances are, I’d wake up the next day and the situation would still be staring me smack in the face.
Truth be told, I see bits of Chloe in me. Perhaps you’ll see some in yourself? Do you count your lucky stars every time you get home safely? Do you roll up the windows and pretend not to notice the foul sewage on your roads? Do you sip your latte while craning your neck for suspicious activity on the street below? Are you always rushing somewhere? Out of breath and out of patience for anything remotely ‘unserious’? Do you suffer crushing guilt for not working late? Does the expression ‘get a life’ feel like a witch hunt in your general direction?
Do you tolerate life? Shouldn’t you do something about that?