Prof. Kohmjathy would want you to know that it’s pronounced “DAO” and if you say it with a T, you’ll look like a douchebag to the Chinese. (Of course, we look that way to the French all the time, so perhaps it doesn’t matter)
I woke up feeling awful today. Clearly not supposed to be at work awful – but I needed to set things up and I wanted to show my face to prove I wasn’t a faker. That’s what my family sort of does. They guilt you into trying to “tough it through.” I don’t think they even mean to, but that’s the culture of the house.
So I start my day, stumbling about my bathroom, too weak to cough and when I do, the result is army fatigue green (I wish I was joking about this). I even manage to snake my way into the kitchen, when I hear the familiar click clack of dog feet on hard floors. I put my broken piece of bread into the toaster and turn around.
There’s Cassie. Waiting for me quietly, tail vaguely wagging, expression one of silence. I quickly bend down to deliver the requisite morning butt scratches and chest and belly rubs, and in an impulse of pure affection, sink onto the floor and gently guide her to my open lap.
She takes to this position gladly, curled with her head resting on my left knee. In this way, we mold into part of each other. I mean this serious, someone who has spent extended contact with a beloved pet will know. I hold her back foot close to her in the way she likes, so it doesn’t slide about the linoleum. And so, we sit together as I pet her.
My friends always tell me to live more in the moment, and I do try, but my mind always races to the future. Yet sitting like this on the kitchen floor, I really do achieve a state of perfect, meditative moment-ness. I always thought it meant not to think so much, but I am thinking. What I’m not thinking is “Dear God, I’ve missed so much work and I need to get a real job so I can move out so I can start my life but what in hell am I even going to do with that life because being a housewife is a very precarious bet to hedge,” and that sort of nonsense. Instead, I’m thinking about my dogs, the differences between them, and how pleasant it is to just sit like that. Warm and happy.
I do have to keep my eye on the clock, though, so once it strikes 6:20, I have to get up, and Cassie gets up, too. She’s not upset that our moment on the floor is done, because her whole life is moments, and to have experienced one happy one is the entire point.
My aunt once asked if I loved Cassie more than Cleo, and I don’t. But I’ve always said our bond is just a different one. Cleo is actually far more affectionate than Cassie and would love to sit on my lap, night or day. But she would want belly rubs and constant petting and would grumble if she didn’t get her way. Cassie is content to just sit, if she is in the mood to sit, and seems to hold in her furry red head the key to a nirvana that most people only dream about. Happiness from moment to moment.
And so enlightenment is achieved while sitting on the kitchen floor, which badly needs mopping.