I just looked down at what I’m wearing and realized I have NOTHING green on. Whoops. I always forget that, about St. Patrick’s Day. Although I guess these days, going to the dry cleaners or Whole Foods, it’s not quite the problem it was when I was waitressing and had to work on St. Patrick’s Day. Forget the green beer (which always looked gross to me): what I liked least was when people, having consumed a fair amount of the green stuff, would then spy me without said color on when I passed by with my tray and reach out and pinch me. “Gotcha!” they’d say, and laugh, like they were the first person to do it that night. You’d think I would have learned, but no. Every year I forgot, and every year I got pinched, repeatedly. Ah, memories. So I guess what I’m saying is that if you’re out tonight, celebrating this merry holiday, and your waiter or waitress is NOT wearing green, please don’t pinch them. And if you can’t control yourself, and have to, make it up with a big fat tip. Thanks.
I’m feeling strange about this day anyway, to be honest, because a year ago yesterday my dog died unexpectedly. Some of you might remember this. She’d been sick, but not that sick, and the vet couldn’t find anything wrong with her. So I figured it was okay to go ahead with the trip I had planned to New York for fun and some business, since I was only going to be gone a couple of days. The morning I left, she was following me around, nervous—she always freaked when the suitcase came out—and I kept petting her and telling her I’d see her in two days, no big deal. Then I kissed her goodbye and left. Got on the plane, had a great day in NYC followed by a great dinner, and then, when I came out afterwards and checked my messages, there was one from my husband saying to give him a call. When I did, he told me Scout had passed away. It happened right after he brought her home from the vet, where she’d been for another checkup, and happened very quickly. He couldn’t do anything. It was just terrible. I remember all I wanted was to come home, even though I knew it was too late to do anything for her, or even to say goodbye. So I rescheduled my flight, got up at 4 am and was here by 8:30. When I walked into the house, I burst into tears.
But. I’m not telling you this story to depress you. (Hard to believe, I know.) I guess my point is that at that moment, I thought things would never get better. I was shellshocked and grieving and completely thrown off my axis, so to speak. At least with our dog Elwood, we’d known when we were going to have to put him down, although it’s a terrible decision to make, and then know about, thinking, okay, by this time tomorrow, he’ll be gone. But at least with him, I was there. With Scout, she was just…gone. So the first few days were really hard. And I was worried that I’d never be able to think of her without thinking about how I left her when I shouldn’t have, and how the one time I wasn’ t here was when she needed me most. But then, as the days and then weeks and then months passed, I realized I WAS remembering all the other stuff: like the day we picked her out at the shelter, and how she’d always come over and wake me up when it was thundering, and how much Monkey drove her nuts and how much she loved him anyway. It’s been a good lesson, and one I thought of a lot when I was finishing up Just Listen, this idea that no matter how bad things are at any one moment, no moment lasts. Good or bad, time moves on. Because it has to. And so do you.
Whew! Okay, so that WAS a bit heavier than I intended to get. It’s like the grandfather says at the end of Moonstruck: “Someone tell a joke!” I can’t think of any good ones off of my head, so I’ll just say this: the O.C., last night? Hooked me back in again. Sure, I was getting a little disenchanted….but I can’t quit you! Who am I kidding?
I wish you all a happy, pinch-free St. Patrick’s Day. And if you have the time, give your pet (or pets) an extra pat on the head. I know I will.