Yesterday was all about judgement. Chicken eaters vs. not-chicken eaters, voicing their various opinions and mutually hurling insults at one another. It was, at once, all that is glorious about America and all that is wrong with America.
That's not what this is about.
Actually, it IS about chicken. And judgement. Hmmm.
I try, and often fail, to be as non-judgmental as possible. It's not my place to judge, everybody's sins are between their own selves and God, etc. etc. etc. But it happens. And I'm going to have a hard time letting go of this one.
Background info: My neighborhood is lovely. The houses are lovely. The people are lovely. The houses on the lots on either side and across the street from the entrance are not. There are various farm animals wandering freely. There are broken down cars and ramshackle sheds. The Christmas lights are up year round. (see, already, if you're honest, you've formed a mental picture of the sorts of people who live there!)
It was raining yesterday. Jeremiah and I were on our way back home after a field trip to spend $3 at the Chuck E Cheese. (Hooray, rainy day fun) As we were approaching the entrance to our neighborhood, the car in front of me slammed on its brakes and swerved wildly. I, obviously, did the same. Too late, I saw that the driver in front had swerved to miss a small brown dog that was standing in the middle of the road. A VERY BUSY ROAD, I might add. I had nowhere to go. The dog had nowhere to go. You can imagine what happened.
I immediately pulled over, told Jeremiah to stay put, and ran out in the middle of the road. In my 4 inch platform wedges. In the rain. Probably not the smart thing to do. I scooped up the dog, who was obviously wounded, and took him to the side of the road. By this time, the mailman had come along and offered his assistance.
Collar, but no tags on the dog. Mailman recognizes him from the house across the street from where we are. He goes to knock on the door. No answer. Knocks on door of man whose yard we are in. Man comes to door, dragging 6-pack by plastic rings (it is 3 pm. Judgement.) He proceeds to shout at me that those people deserve to have this happen, what with their freeroaming animals. "YOU SHOULD SUE THEM!" he shouts. (judgement) The mailman, by this time, has asked if there is anything else he can do before resuming his deliveries. I have gone to a complete other frame of mind. I am HYSTERICALLY CRYING on the side of the road in my platform wedges. I am on the ground, in the mud, with a stranger's dog, being shouted at by a man wielding a 6-pack. (judgement from passers-by) Mr. 6-Pack advises me to just go on home. The Beast takes over Abby.
"Well, SIR, I have a dog myself, and I would not be pleased if someone did that to MY DOG!!!!" Shouting. Snot rockets. (judgement from Mr. 6-pack) I am at a loss. I call my husband, who somehow manages to understand enough of my words to confirm that my plan to take the dog to the emergency vet is a good one. Mr. 6-Pack softens, a bit, and says, "Oh ma'am, there's no need to cry over this. He'll be fine. You just go on home and don't worry about it anymore." (more judgement and angry eyes from Abby)
Ten minutes later, I am hurtling down the road, still sobbing, explaining to Jeremiah that we are going to be the puppy ambulance and take the dog to the hospital. Thankfully, there is one very close to my house. I took him inside, and not 5 minutes later, was told that Little Brown Dog didn't make it. *not entirely convinced that the vet didn't help things along, which was honestly the kindest thing to do*
Poor, sweet Jeremiah. He spent the whole time asking, "Mommy, are you worried? I feel worried." God bless his tender heart. Total mommy failure at keeping him shielded from the situation. Thankfully, he didn't see the lady motion to me that the dog had died, so he was content upon leaving knowing that the dog was with the doctors. The receptionist gave me a business card, and asked me to let the owners know, if possible, that they had 3 days to come get the dog.
I took JB home, took a shower, and told Mike (who had arrived home unsure of what sort of mental state I would be in) that I was going for a run. And to get an iced coffee, natch. I have to drive past this house on my way to the gym, and LO AND BEHOLD the people are now at home. Sweating in armpits.
I pulled into the driveway and was immediately surrounded by 5 more free-roaming dogs as well as approximately 12 ducks and chickens. (judgement) I asked the first lady I saw if she had a little brown dog. "Yes I do." I tearfully explained what had happened, overcoming a slight language barrier with improv sign language. I handed her the business card and asked her to call the vet ASAP. (I didn't come right out and say, "Your dog is dead, ma'am" as she had 3 kids standing with her)
She looked at the business card, thought for a minute, and said, "Brown dog? Oh, no, we don't have a brown dog." Shrugged her shoulders, and walked away.
Judgement judgement judgement judgement.
I stomped back to the MommyMobile and went to the gym. When I drove back by the house on my way home, I quite literally shook my fist as I drove by. I have to drive by this house every time I enter my neighborhood. I worry that every time I drive by there, I will lower my window and shout something that might be construed as unkind, to say the least. It's wrong of me, and I know it.
Maybe they aren't heartless. Maybe she didn't understand what I was saying. Maybe the dog wasn't theirs. All I know is that I came home, scooped up my not-lap-sized Boxer and smooshed her face against mine for a long time. I leaked many tears onto her ears. She took that as a sign that it was time to play squeaky toys.
All of this to say, for the love of all things holy, DON'T LEAVE YOUR DOGS (or chickens) IN YOUR UNFENCED YARD WHEN YOU AREN'T HOME! Otherwise, that breeze you feel will be judgement from the MommyMobile as it cruises by.