Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Some Thoughts On People, Dogs, Cars, and Falling Apart

So, as far as people and dogs go, most people would say dog owners have a tendency to resemble their dogs. Whether this means the owner and the dog bear some physical similarity or that the entirely too chipper and bouncy sorority girl has an entirely too chipper and bouncy yip-yip dog is beside the point. Emotionally or physically, we are supposed to reflect some dominant aspect of our dogs' being.

I have met too many exceptions to this heart-warming rule to continue to count myself among the believers. For instance, my friend Genevieve has a huge, black Great Dane. My friend Genevieve is neither huge or black and is certainly not from Denmark. Also, her dog is a little on the dumb side and Genevieve is a bonafide college grad.

Lest you think one example insufficient to disprove the rule, I shall continue. My friend Deniz is fit, moody, and Turkish. He also has, at times, an obscenely long and ridiculous goatee. He runs marathons, does push-ups for fun, and was probably a trapeze artist in a former life. His dog, Fluffy, God rest her soul, was a snow white miniature poodle. Fluffy had not an athletic bone in her body, barked incessantly, and seemed primarily concerned with finding toes to lick. The longest hair on her body grew around her butt and had a tendency to ensnare little bits of turd. I find it difficult to draw relevant similarities between the two.

I could go on and on, but my point has yet to be made.

My point: (Ahem) People are less like their dogs and more like their cars. I certainly feel like my car and can think of more car/person examples that fit than I can dog/person examples.

My brother-in-law drives an agile, butt-warmed, super-charged highway rocket with a purring engine and God's Hands brakes. The thing is adorned, inside and out, with all of the little techno-geek amenities that make gear heads swoon. There's a freakin' batmobilesque toggle switch that has the power to increase the internal combustion rate to ludicrous and leave smoldering streaks of rubber on deserted country roads. By the way, he's a former Eagle Scout and soon to be fighter pilot in the US Navy.

I, on the other hand, drive a nineteen ninety five Buick Park Avenue with 150,000 miles to its weary, creaking credit. Instead of super-charged, hard-braking, surround sound, ass-kicking, the BPA (that's "Buick Park Avenue" for the not sufficiently down) is equipped with peeling paint, wonky wipers, soft brakes, and a tape deck. I know next to nothing about the inner workings of anything remotely mechanical (i.e. an automobile), and once famously quipped, after standing awkwardly listening to my dad and aforementioned brother-in-law discuss the technical aspects of a nineteen fifty four Ford Farlane, "What about that turn signal, huh?"

So how does a twenty five-year-old resemble your grandmother's old car? Well, I, like the BPA, am falling apart.

The BPA is losing its paint. I am losing my hair.

The BPA guzzles gas and accelerates poorly. I'm screwed if I'm not in bed by 10:00pm.

The BPA has soft brakes and a loose steering wheel. I have a wonky knee and can no longer cycle and play soccer in a manner befitting any self-respecting twenty five-year-old who used to be decent at both.

The BPA has a floppy windshield wiper. My vision is deteriorating.

The BPA has a creaky door. I have a trick jaw.

The BPA has a squiggley pinstripe. I have a freakin' varicose vein in my leg!

I'm twenty five and gainfully employed and should feel like a million dollars. Unfortunately, the Kelly Blue Book predicts my value more realistically around the twelve hundred dollar mark . . . and falling. Hopefully, all of this will change soon as I am planning on purchasing a new car and getting my knee fixed by summer's end. The one necessitates the other. Who am I to mess with the car/person order of things? How could I drive the BPA with a new knee and well-muscled legs? That would be like my brother-in-law ripping across the sky in an F-18 and then driving home in an Astro Van. It's just too odd to fathom.

But what kind of car to get next . . .


The Drizzle said...

As a card carrying and certified fence rider, I can't say whether I buy in to the dog/human/car relationship or not, as I daily see examples for both sides (or 3 sides?). I find that in these trying times it is best to get to root of the issue by making a list, in this case some observations on your post:
1) The great dane in question is a little on the dumb side, and i agree that the owner and dog have very little in common in this regard.
2) Conversely, my grandmother owns a toy poodle that is one of the only canines on the planet that I truly loathe. Interestingly, I honestly think that the dog is more with-it than the owner. In the history of toy poodles this is a landmark. It also says a lot about my grandma.
3) The BPA has pimp street-cred, which goes a remarkably long way.
4) You might be falling apart, but things can always get worse. You could be this girl:

(That link is provided in order to fulfill a promise made over the phone while surrounded by legions of country-ghetto folk in the depths of West Virginia. To the faint of heart, I am truly sorry.)

All that said, great post. You made my morning.

Rachel said...

My two cents:
The longer you spend with a dog, the more you tend to mirror their personality characteristics, whether you initially had any in common or not. Example: Abby. In the time I've known her, my latent anxiety condition has blossomed like some perversely healthy fruit. On the other hand, I know more about engines, planes, aerodynamics, cars, climbing knots, sailing on both broken and normal boats, and a variety of other arcane trickety subjects as a resulty of being around her (and, obviously, the husband).

So maybe I've gotten a lot more skittish, but I know a hell of a lot of tricks.

Much more satisfying though, are the similarities between me and my car, so bravo for pointing out that link. I too have more than my fair share of miles and thus am having a few cosmetic issues, but hot DAMN I have a bumpin' system.