ear to the wall
Fred, on the other hand, hates when they fight. Loses his little puppy mind over it. Runs up and down the hallway, barking at the voices. Stands on the edge of my bed and HOW-WOLS, a miniature and rather more benign version of his wolf-cousin, eighty-seven times removed, baying at the moon. This upsets me. And not for the reasons you may think. If you know me and if you know Fred, you might assume my upset results from his upset. DON'T MAKE MY DOG UPSET! But no, I actually think his reaction is pretty funny. The big, bad eight pound Chihuahua taking on those mean and nasty voices. Gett'em Freddie! He does the same thing to fireworks. And thunder. And the vacuum cleaner. My little Don Quixote of the canine kingdom.
No, it upsets me for two very different reasons. A) Because I feel as if his noisy reaction is an intrusion upon them. Seriously, if you're deep into a great fight, making your point, slamming furniture, throwing crockery and CD cases, not to mention pointed, witty barbs -- those barbs are sticking and meanwhile you're ducking and weaving with professional skill and savvy -- don't you want to do so in peace, without the distraction of your neighbor's annoying dog? I think so. And B) With all his incessant barking, I can't hear what they're fighting about! And that's half the fun. Look, I have no pride. I'll stick my ear right up against that wall if I have to. I wanna know what's going on!
Also, it's a bit nostalgic. When I was little, my grandmother and I would sit in her kitchen by the open window and listen to her neighbors fight. Crazy fighting neighbor people provided a certain degree of delectable entertainment, pre-cable era.
Isn't it funny how nothing ever really changes?
In my family we don't fight or yell. That's not to say that we don't get mad. But we prefer fuming and pouting and pretending we accidentally slammed that cabinet four times in a row before accidentally smashing that flowerpot to smithereens right before we -- oops! -- break the handle off the front door. "No, I'm not mad. What would ever give you that idea," we might say, sarcasm and derision dripping from every orifice to pool foully at our feet.
I'm sort of envious of the yellers and the screamers, the cursers and the hurlers. There's something honest to it. There's something real about it. There's something to letting the world know your angst and pain at the top of your voice. Something cathartic in it. Anyway, regardless, I'm sure it's better for your skin to let all that emotional toxin just . . . go. You think I'm kidding? I can't think of one yelling, screaming, cursing, hurling fighter I know with bad skin. Just a theory, but I like it. I'm going with it. Reject it if you will, but mark my words: a good scream is good for the complexion.
Take Fred, for example. Under all that fur, I'm sure his skin is milky and unblemished as the whitest rose.