I probably always knew, but as the apparent top of the evolutionary ladder, I didn’t want to admit it. I let my ego, my supposed superior intelligence and that little matter of opposable thumbs delude me into thinking I was on top. Well, I’m not and today that point was driven home to me in so many levels that even a dumbass like me can’t help but acknowledge and accept the sad truth: animals rule.
Let me lay it out for you.
Here it is Saturday and I’m awake. I’ve been awake. And why is that you may wonder? Why would I be awake at 6:00 a.m. when I didn’t go to sleep until 2:00 a.m.? I don’t work on Saturdays. I don’t have any great event I must run off to. Yet here I am, dressed, teeth brushed and tea drunk (yes, it sadly was tea) hammering away at my keyboard. Why?
Simple…I’m a slave to the animals.
Lab One and Lab Two have decided that 6:00 a.m. is an absolutely wonderful time to go outside to eat grass. Nope, no need to poop or pee. They simply want to get the grass while it’s good and wet so it slips down their gullets with ease. From the sounds of it a few hours later, the return journey and onto the living room carpet isn’t so slick. Sounds like they’re hacking up a cat. Not a terrible idea if they pick the right cat. In that case, I’ll season the freakin’ thing and serve it to them on a platter.
If Lab One and Lab Two weren’t enough, the free ranging cats always make the morning memorable. These creatures, who have not been fully domesticated by a long shot, run wild through my tiny house. At a high rate of speed. And I am the speed bump. So while the Labs are pacing and prancing, eager for their grassy breakfast, the cats are ripping and tearing and using me like a NASCAR driver uses a banked corner. I need to keep band aids by the bed. Or a cattle prod. To use on myself.
By 6:12, I’m up. Bleary-eyed and not wanting to be, but up all the same. I lie to myself and say that this is a good thing. I’m a responsible adult; I should be awake at this hour and tend to all my responsibilities. I should make the most out of this glorious morning and do something freaking constructive. I should run for office for all the bullshit I just slung. Truth is, I don’t give a damn about being productive or responsible at 6:00 a.m. I care about being asleep.
But as much as the Labs and the pride of cats want to dominate, they are no match for the undisputed Queen of the Household. She’s little and seemingly weak, but she’s the craftiness bitch on the block: the Shit-zuh.
She doesn’t get up with the Labs or the crazy cats. She lies in bed under the covers with her head on the pillow and waits. Waits until I’ve taken Lab One and Lab Two out. Waits until I’ve fed the pride and put food in her bowl. Waits until that so very fragile sense of our particular normalcy has returned to the house.
And then the Queen arises.
And just like a Queen, she needs her lady in waiting. Me. A few barks out of her royal mouth and I know it’s time to lift her special ass off the bed and put her on the floor. Gently. Made the mistake of miscalculating her pudgy center of gravity once and she did a nose dive onto the hardwood. Made that mistake all of one time. Slept with one eye open the rest of that week. And then Her Royal Highness has to be coaxed to approach her most reverend bowl and eat her most reverend kibble. I can almost hear God Save the Queen playing in the background. With much fanfare and propriety, the little dictator — err Queen — delicately eats a part of her breakfast. She’ll save the rest for later unless the cats go near it at which time she’ll demand fresh. And then it’s time for her morning constitutional.
And here is where I almost feel sad for the happy Monarch. Queen Shit-zuh now faces a dilemma that probably no other dog, royal or not, has ever faced. Grass. She hates grass. And what’s worse than grass? Wet grass. But her urge to take a royal piss trumps the nasty feel of the damn outside on her delicate paws. So does her need to nose through the neighborhood spying on her subjects. Probably all happily sleeping, unaware that their Queen is holding court. This is the time where I look into my tea cup wishing it to be filled with amber whiskey instead of green tea.
But it’s not over yet.
Once the Queen has reviewed her kingdom, she’s ready to return to her castle and here is where I had the eye-opening realization that I am by no means in charge. As the Queen stood at the end of the driveway she faced a dilemma. To get to the castle door, she needed to cross a vast expanse of icky grass. Her loyal subject, me, stood at the door watching. Wondering how long I could get away with telling people it really was tea in my cup.
Queen looks at the garage door and looks at me.
I take a sip of tea willing it to be American Honey.
Queen looks at the garage door and looks at me.
I ponder how long I should stand here before the neighbors start to talk.
Garage door and then me.
She’d make a good outside dog.
Garage door. Me.
Or a small area rug.
GARAGE DOOR. ME.
So at 6:30 a.m. in my bare feet and barely enough clothes on to be legally outside, I put down the last cup of real tea I’m ever going to drink (I’m switching to alcohol) and walk to the garage. I smash the damn garage door button and open the bay door which slowly reveals the victorious Queen standing outside waiting for the royal road to open. She waits for the door to rise entirely and lowers her majestic head just slightly and struts through the garage, past me and onto the sidewalk to the back door. With a look of utter defeat I follow my liege to the door, pick her up and bring her inside the house. All the while, I fight the urge to tip her on her royal nose on the kitchen floor. Completely unaware of my treasonous thoughts, the Queen is off to her water bowl once her little paws lightly touch the floor. And now she is once again snuggled in bed under the covers with her royal pain in the ass head resting on a pillow.
And I’m just sitting her waiting for the next royal decree!