Last night was a ruff night.
Oh wait, you don’t get the joke because you don’t know.
I slept at the dog park. Let me explain.
Yesterday, I watched another viral video of a black man being killed by a cop. I thought, Shit, this looks bad. This looks really, really bad.
That, of course, is all anyone can definitely say about it. Because we don’t know. But obviously that’s not all people said about it. That’s not even close to all people said about it. But I don’t need to go into details, because I’m sure you also saw all the things people said about it. It feels like you can’t get away from it.
But I figured it was worth a try to get away from it, so I deactivated my Facebook. I’ll be the first to say this is likely only a temporary thing. But the timing turned out to be good.
The past week, a cloud of dread has been forming above my head. This happens sometimes. It’s called “depression” if there’s no reason for it. But if there’s a reason for it, as was the case for me, it’s called “a gathering shitstorm.” There is no medication for a gathering shitstorm. Except, perhaps, pounding a few drinks.
Only minutes after regaling some dear, patient friends with tales of the gathering shitstorm as we sat in a coffee shop, I got a text from my husband, informing me that cops had been ambushed at a protest in Dallas and could I head home as soon as possible. I’ve had more difficult requests made of me, so I said sure. Then he texted me asking if I could bring him his long-sleeved uniform shirt because there was a similar protest downtown Austin, and he might need to head there in a heartbeat and apparently long sleeves are better for riot gear and active shooter situations? Whatever.
So I head home, my phone at 8% (another source of dread), wait a bit for it to charge, then head down to the car to start it. It sputters and then the engine light comes on. Again. We’ve taken it into the shop for this problem twice this week, and $1,000 later, it’s still not fixed. It’s eleven o’clock at night by this point, so no auto shops are open. I’m stuck there, unable to do anything, except check the news to find out that a couple more of the ambushed cops didn’t make it.
Sometimes the best place to be is alone in your car. Even if said car is suffering from ED (engine dysfunction). So I sat there in the silence, letting my thoughts settle, thinking how it might be nice to plug into Facebook to not feel so alone and isolated before remembering that I have a ton of liberal friends who would undoubtedly be saying, “Oh wow. I mean, there was no way to know all the anti-cop rhetoric and fanning of flames could lead to a crazy person feeling justified in committing mass violence!” About an hour into sitting in the car, texting my misery to aforementioned dear, patient friends, my brain meant to type, “I’ll just pound a few drinks and go to bed,” but my fingertips typed, “I’ll just pound a few stinks and go to bed,” which is a vastly different thing, and probably the filthiest thing to spring forth from me in a long time, which is saying something. So I started laughing. And then I kept laughing.
This is what some might call a “mental breakdown.” But really it was just the clouds of the shitstorm opening up.
Feeling a little pop of endorphins from the laughter, I dragged myself out of the car and lugged all my stuff, including my husband’s shirts, upstairs. And then I realized: I didn’t have my keys.
Yep. There they were, sitting on the driver’s seat, locked safely away. I placed my hand on the glass, sang “Don’t Wanna Miss A Thing” in my head, and then proceeded to quietly say fuck a bunch of times.
I looked down at my phone again. It was back at 8%. And it was now midnight.
I called the husband and he said he’d call emergency maintenance to let me inside the apartment, so I settled down against the tire of my car. An hour later, I hadn’t heard anything, and my phone was at 4%. I texted him, and he didn’t text back, which was no surprise since he was out policing.
So I’m going to spend the night outside. Okay.
Leaping to the front of my brain: Pound a few stinks. Man, that’s funny. Even still.
After another hour, my back was hurting from leaning against the car, and all I wanted was to be horizontal.
It should be mentioned that there’s a pack of coyotes that roam my complex. Normally, I wouldn’t worry about it because coyotes aren’t that aggressive. But I thought that my luck was heading in such a direction that, yes, being eaten by a pack of coyotes sort of fell in line.
Anyway, the dog park just made sense. It was fenced, it had comfortable chairs, and if people saw me out there at one in the morning, they would just assume my dogs were getting in a late-night prowl in the shadows somewhere, rather than the reality of it being the best place I could think of to get some sleep.
I slipped John’s long-sleeved Underarmor over me as the cool night breeze set in, and when a couple little bunnies hopped into the park–apparently realizing the same thing I did about the safety of the enclosure–all I could think of was how badly I wanted to catch them and make them snuggle with me. I stared forlornly at my apartment building, only twenty yards away, where both my dogs slept on my expensive Tempurpedic mattress. Maybe I could break into the apartment through the balcony. John did it once, ninja-ing his way up onto the second-story balcony and then climbing through a window.
Yeah, there was no goddamn way I had the upper body strength for that. There was a good chance I would end up losing my grip and falling onto my back into an ant mound or onto a passing snake. Probably a venomous one, too. Sometimes you just accept that you’re on a streak of shit luck, and do your best not to try anything; just sit patiently until the wind changes.
The wind did change as I sat in the dog park, but mostly it was in the literal sense, and it brought full-on whiffs of dog shit my way. Turns out, after a couple hours, the chairs weren’t that comfortable after all.
Then I remembered that my complex had what is likely the most quintessential white-person amenity I’ve ever heard of: a hammock garden. A goddamned hammock garden. My god, white people love hammocks. Love. Them. I’m not excluding myself here.
Granted, it was a half-mile walk away at the back of the complex, but hey, I had time. There wasn’t a fence guarding it, but at least I’d be off the ground and not have to worry about most critters. So I grabbed my wallet, my dying phone, and John’s long-sleeved cop uniform and started the trek down there. It was two thirty in the morning.
About a quarter mile down, I remembered that there were couches in the front clubhouse. It was likely locked, but it was worth a shot. I turned around and headed the opposite direction.
The shitstorm started to run itself out and the clubhouse was open. I settled down on the couch, covered myself in John’s shirt, sent one last text to him telling him where I was when he came looking the next morning, and then finally, at a few minutes to three, fell asleep.
I just about peed myself when I heard the door to the clubhouse burst open and my name called. Then I looked up and saw a cop and thought, Shit. This cop’s gonna think I’m a transient. Although I guess I kind of was.
Then I realized it was my husband.
I never thought I’d be so happy to crawl into the back of a cop car.
When I woke up this morning, there were a few things I no longer cared about:
- Getting work done
- My stupid car
- Literally anything except taking a shower
I was sticky from the night air and anger-induced perspiration. Mascara caked around my eyes from a brief spell of forced crying, which was more a result of me thinking, Maybe this will help make me not want to murder everything rather than a genuine desire to cry.
I got up, went to the bathroom and turned on the sink only to remember that my apartment complex had turned off the goddamn water all day to fix a leak in one of the buildings. I stared into the mirror. So this is my life now.
I ate breakfast, answered some emails, gave the auto shop an earful, and then managed to start my car and get it to the mechanic. Then I realized I forgot my wallet at home. So I let loose some uncreative curse words, went home, and came back.
That was three hours ago. I asked the dude at the front desk if it’d be a while to get the work done because if so, I’d just head over to Barnes and Noble (a half-mile or “one hammock-league” walk away), and he said, “No, we’ll get to it right away.”
I knew that wasn’t going to happen, and there’s some satisfaction in knowing I’m right, but mostly I was just too tired to fight him.
So maybe you’re wondering what the point of this post is other than to vent. I wanted to share all of this with you because it is the origin story of the phrase, “pounding a few stinks,” and if I’ve learned anything in the past twenty-four hours, it’s that words are powerful things. They can incite violence against innocent cops just trying to protect peaceful protesters who are protesting against cops, sure, but mostly they can be horrifying, filthy euphemisms for weird sex stuff. And that seems important.