There is something to that old quote that has been said in different ways by many different people: "The more I know about people, the better I like my dog." I think I'm beginning to lose faith in humanity. Or the problem could be, as is becoming glaringly obvious, this town I live in. Incidents at the library I work at are increasing. We call the police at least every other week, if not every week. Mental illness runs rampant. People are rude. Most of them don't realize that a red light means stop. A week ago, while walking my dog, my light turned to "Walk" and this car just blew right by me, completely ignoring the red light. They'd had plenty of time to stop, by the way. Had I started walking, they would have needed a spatula to get me and Tess off the road. The lady in the car behind that one just sat there shaking her head as though she too has lost faith in humanity.
I've had people flip me off for going at a four-way stop when it was clearly my turn to go.
I had to call the police to the library one Friday morning because a lady who was clearly mentally ill became increasingly rude and belligerent while insisting that we were the rude and belligerent ones who were bullying her just because the government was after her. I had to bite my tongue to keep from telling her the government was not after her because they didn't want anything more to do with her than we did.
I wish I could say this is an uncommon occurrence but it's not.
When my dog becomes belligerent, a doggy pop is all it takes to make her sunshine and roses again.
While I do believe in compassion for the mentally ill, in this town it seems to have become an excuse for bad behavior. Someone acts like a jerk and then they justify it by saying they are off their meds.
I wish I could say that is an uncommon occurrence too, but it's not. The nice thing about dogs - and Cesar Milan will back me up on this one - when they have anxiety issues or depression, all they need is a nice long walk, perhaps a nice long swim, a game of fetch, and once again, the ever appreciated doggy pop. Dogs that have issues just need exercise and discipline. I fully believe most people in general with issues are the same. I myself have tons of issues, anxiety being one of them. If I take a nice long walk with my dog I usually feel much better. Most people just seem to want to blame something else instead of taking responsibility for their own behavior.
As for the rude, aloof, and self-entitled attitudes of a lot of people lately, well, that's why I have cats - for my daily dose of rude, aloof, and self-entitlement. It's cute when it comes from a twelve-pound bundle of fur with whiskers all over its face. It's not cute when it comes from a six foot tall biped who is red in the face from throwing a tantrum that would make a two year old proud.
I wish I could say I was just using that as an example, but again, that has actually happened. My boss had to intercept.
One would think we live in New York City the way people behave but we live in small town rural Wyoming with a population of about 15,000 (and shrinking because sane people are running out of this town for their lives). When I moved here, everyone was friendly. People did nothing but smile and even the firefighters would laugh and wave on their way to a call because my dog at the time howled whenever he heard sirens. The firefighters thought it was a hoot. The dog must have thought his pack was coming back to claim him.
Now everyone seems to be in a perpetual state of wanting to flip off anyone who walks or drives by, me included. I think our nasty sides are taking over. Or maybe our sleepy little small town is actually a hellmouth a la Buffy the Vampire Slayer and we have demons here that would rival Sunnydale, California's.
I am a solitary creature by nature but I find myself staying home more and more to spend time with my dog and my three cats, not because I don't like people or don't want to be social, but because I feel this constant battle against bad behavior and mental illness is sucking out my soul. I originally wanted to work at a library because I love books and collection development and helping people answer reference questions. I did not realize that to work in a public library one actually would be better served to get a master's degree in psychology. I wish I was joking. And again, while I have compassion for the mentally ill, when it is something one is up against day in and day out it gets exhausting. When even something as simple as politely asking a patron to follow the rules gets one hollered at and called every name in the book, it is demoralizing.
Animals just seem so much simpler. For example at this moment my Percy and Puckett are lying together by the back door grooming each other and playing. Of course they get on each others' nerves but the fight usually lasts two minutes, there is no bloodshed, and no one walks away butthurt or superficially offended. They work out their differences in the space of seconds then go back to snuggling together, purring happily in each others' company. To keep Tess happy one needs merely to take her for walks and keep the food bowl full. And while Willow is a spaz, nothing is so bad with her that a snuggle and some catnip can't fix. She's even stopped peeing on the floor.
I get a lot of jokes about turning into a crazy cat lady since I do work at a library, I am single, and yes, I occasionally wear my hair in a bun. Sadly should this happen, I would fit right in at my place of employment and in this town in general. Crazy is the new normal. In the famous words of Julia Sugarbaker, "No one in the South ever asks if you have crazy people in your family. They just ask what side they’re on."
And now they are taking over small town Wyoming.