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November 26, 2004

Ah, yes, the holidays ...

For some reason incomprehensible to me, I-75 apparently only runs one direction on holidays -- southbound. Which is to say, we always wind up packing up all the dog's shit and piling in the RAV (yeah, we bought a baby-ute for pretty much this reason) and driving to Greater Cincinnati.

Besides the fact the dog sometimes runs back and forth between the back seat (where he's supposed to be) and the front seat (where he's absolutely not supposed to be), it seems there's always some family rift/politcal bloviating from some smug right-wingnut/unexpected annoyance that we have to endure.

The wingnut bloviating/racism/sexism/you name it always happens at Tony's family's place, by the way. For the most part, my family are lefties, if not all equally progressive. We comprise a spectrum from somewhere around Dick Gephardt to just left of George McGovern, at my family's house, when Tony and I are there (we're probably a hair to the right of McGovern, but left of most so-called Democrats today).

Tony's family includes people who probably think Goebbels was resolute and upstanding, if a little too moderate, and that George Wallace was racially tolerant, though they also have their moderates in the family, most of whom who have put up with so many years of ignoring the RNC talking points, I'm sure they don't even hear the bullshit flying around the room anymore.

While I don't regret it, I suppose in a larger sense it's somewhat regrettable that I don't do this well, having grown up around well-meaning people of progressive values, so even when it doesn't happen, I sit there for a few hours expecting it to happen. I'd almost rather be at work.

Max likes to ride in the car, if I haven't mentioned this before. He goes into a frenzy of dancing and barking when the word 'ride' is spoken in the right tone of voice. If it's combined with moving his water bowl and packing his bag (dry food, canned food, Greenies, poop bags, a towel if the weather is the least bit wet), you'll be lucky if he doesn't completely explode before you're ready to leave.

Max has that inconvenient intestinal stuff I know I've mentioned before, so we have to be extra-careful what he gets to eat outside his pre-packaged diet. Holidays are especially difficult, because even though Max is not a child substitute for us, he is a sort of child substitute for our mothers, especially mine. Mom feels guilty if she doesn't get to give Max at least some food in the course of the day. I know she would prefer to have additional grandchildren, but I'm forty already -- I really don't know if I have what it takes. If I don't know, I think it's a fair cop it's probably not something I should take on. That's just me, though -- Mom disagrees, and she has a right to her opinion.

Anyway, this results in Max getting small pieces of meat while he's there, and usually not eating dog food. And having the shits the next day, unfortunately. Sometimes -- actually, it doesn't happen every time, so it may have nothing to do with the food. Since we don't know, and that's one variable we can control, we try to control it as well as we can.

Tony's family includes one hyperactive child who fixates on anything novel in the environment and then proceeds to chase it around until it dissolves, more or less. This time, it was Max, who behaved amazingly well. Mostly, he either sat on my lap or kept moving just ahead of the kid.

To be fair, I imagine most kids probably are like this, especially around a dog like Max -- he's polite to strangers, not bad with kids, and he's cute. I very much doubt any other kid that age would have behaved any differently, the way people raise kids these days. I probably would have been just as bad when I was a kid, except my folks wouldn't have let me bother somebody else's pet until there was a danger of it losing its patience, both because it's rude to allow a kid to do that and because there's the danger of the animal getting annoyed and hurting the kid.

And there's always other stuff, none of which has to do with having the dog around on holidays, which made everybody such pleasant company the second half of the day (most of it not their faults). Bast, I hate holidays. I want snow for Christmas, just because it means we'll be allowed to stay home, eat whatever the hell we please, feed the animals their usual food, and if we want to have a couple of drinks, we can have those any time after dinner that we please without having to worry about driving fifty miles up wack central highway (I-75 between Cincinnati and Dayton), where there's a cop for every exit and at least five loonies per mile trying to exit from the speed lane, talking on the cell phone, or just glancing smugly at their 'W04' stickers on their back windows.

They'll feel differently in those 8 mpg vehicles if gasoline shoots up to four bucks a gallon. I'll do what I already do -- stand and smile at them smugly at the gas pumps in my baby ute that gets 25 mpg, knowing I didn't vote for the Naked Emperor.

I am, ultimately, thankful that I didn't have to drop any 'f-bombs' in response to anybody's ignorant, Fox-News-driven blathering about politics, and that Max didn't bite anybody's obnoxious progeny.

I guess that's better than nothing.

Posted by Melinda at November 26, 2004 12:54 AM


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