I took her out for a walk to exercise and potty. It was fine, but I started thinking about my grandmother, whom I saw this weekend. I don’t like visiting her for a few reasons:
- She’s a hoarder, and she keeps buying me items that I often do not want and forcing me to take them. I have watched the living space in her house dwindle through my lifetime, and I really, really don’t want to live like that.
- Many of these items are 1950s housewife essentials, and I’m not a vintage fan nor a traditional gender roles supporter, so I don’t want them. (Last item is some weird oversized chalice type bowl for holding tiny fruits.)
- She keeps asking me questions like “Do I know my neighbors yet?” when most people around here are pretty private. There aren’t welcome wagons. We might wave (usually dog people who like Dora), but almost no one talks to each other. And I’m an introvert, so I prefer to have a few deep relationships instead of many shallow ones. And I have social anxiety flare ups. So no. Still not imposing on my neighbors.
- She showed up at my house uninvited in August to ‘see if she could find it,’ and then told me that ‘she would come back sometime and spend more time here.’ Meanwhile, I was frozen on my porch like a deer in the headlights, angry with myself for having chosen that specific moment to take the trash can to the curb.
On the walk, Dora found an abandoned Air Kong toy, which she rescued. We finished our business at hand, I slipped down a wet hill and fell (which ending up being funny, rather than stressful or painful), and we headed home. As we approached the driveway, I saw it: a car slowly turning around in the cul de sac and heading our way.
I panicked. Gave Dora the command to come inside. Climbed the porch stair. Fumbled with my key. *engine noises as it grows closer to my driveway*
If it’s her, I won’t be able to pretend that I’m not here. She will know that I’m inside and that I’m not answering the door. Or my phone. Come oncomeon…
Unlocked the door. Call Dora inside. She’s looking at the world or sniffing the air or talking to a unicorn for all I know. But she’s not listening. “Dora! Dora! Inside! Dora! Inside!”
I pull. She comes. Inside. Take keys. Shut door. Deadbolt. Breathe.
That car passed my house while I was outside fumbling around and trying to get Dora to come in. I knew it then, but it didn’t register.
Now I’m inside and the door is locked, and that’s not my grandmother, but I still want to close all the blinds and curtains again, like I did back in August. (Every day for at least a week. Maybe two. I just didn’t feel safe here.)
But we should eat soon, and I need to breathe.
I don’t like panic attacks.