Friday, May 16, 2014

Gentle Platonic Touch — An Article That Resonates With Me of Late. Also: Dinah.

Note: The first bit of this blog post copy/pasted from my own Facebook, with minor modifications.

By Mark Greene: The Lack of Gentle Platonic Touch in Men's Lives is a Killer

I posted this link in a private group on what turned out to be the day before my beloved Dinah was discovered, via the nosebleeds, to have a cancerous tumor and was consequently spared any suffering................on her fourteenth birthday. Always a poetic occurrence this last, as any Shakespeare lover will know.

It's possible I doted on "the Bear" some. I'm not a natural dog lover. The Bear was, and is, pretty much THE exception. Docile (not hyper), melodic (not just yappy and loud), capable of learning certain things (like how to dodge people's feet in the kitchen), so delightfully soft, and a true love for her world that shone in her deep, brown eyes. I gave her rather too many kisses, snuggles and hugs for at least my mother's taste. (Especially since I largely ignore the other dogs. Not a dog person, like I say. Please try not to hate.) I wanted to keep my head buried in her soft shoulders for good chunks of time at once, the way I had done with Linus the cat in years prior, but Dinah wasn't quite built that way. It was always a little bit physically awkward.

And I can only really speak on snuggling pets in such a manner.

I ain't ever had a girlfriend at a month and change short of 28. I'm an only child. My mother pretty routinely refuses me when I want a cuddle, hug, head scratch, and so on, usually claiming to be "irritable" or some such thing. (We'll exchange hugs many nights — some of them sincere in the moment.) I don't even attempt to approach my father for such things; he ain't interested. Lately my aunt in Chicago has hugged me with sharply decreasing frequency; I don't think we made any contact last visit, not even upon arriving or leaving. (Maybe in part because the trips/visits have become so routine?) At least my one cousin and her husband give hugs when we visit from ~350 miles apart. Will they still when we're merely on opposite sides of the same metro, meeting for a meal every week (as has been discussed)?

Pretty much all I had to turn to for snuggling (my choice form of gentle platonic touch) was Dinah. I don't feel the connection with the other dogs to snuggle them. This leaves me nearly completely............touchless.

It's not liberating. It's fucking cold and isolating.

I get by, sort of, on the "virtual touch" of ‪ASMR‬ videos, played with headphones on. Read the post below this one, if you haven't already, for more on that. As fine as that simulation of an actual human being around me may be, there remains a gaping void in my living. The society I call home does not like touch. I wonder how it feels to the customers I serve at my job when I manage to make the slightest contact with their hands as I hand them their change. It feels.....a LITTLE awkward, right? I have dared to make the briefest hand-to-hand contact, just to complete an ordinary business transaction. Is that okay?

Are we?

I am decidedly not. Now, minus the Bear*, more than ever.

*I realize there's a band with this name; sadly, I don't know their music.


Somewhere in the first night AD (after Dinah), I found the actions — but not the words, so much — to make the Bear my profile pic (linked above) on the 'Book, and also to slowly post captionless photos from different points in her life. A couple of Facebook friends "liked" the pictures as I posted them; I wonder if they understood what I was trying to convey at the time......? Anyway, I've decided to include here the pictures of the only dog I've ever loved. Now with some captions.

My angel.....gone home.....

(...not that I believe in that kind of thing, but, you know...)

Baby Bear. December 2000. When cassettes were a dominant audio format in the house of Adams. (Also, the endless election recall. But, DINAH!)

October 2001. One who knows to stop and smell the flowers. (It occurs to me, the physical photographs that I scanned might be stamped with their "developed" date, not their "taken" date.)

September 2002.

July 2004. Champion of the pillows. Also, ha ha, Ikea project on the floor...

June, 2006.

July 31, 2006. Ten minutes after this picture, I was in a car bound for the airport to England for the only time in my life so far.

That autumn, I let my own beard grow out.

September 21, 2007. So soft.......

December 5, 2007.

January 31, 2009. "Yorkie and Porky", I called them. ("Yorkie"'s name is Stella.) Later, Dinah slimmed down, and newer mini-schnauzer Teddy turned out to be the "porky" one.

July 4, 2009. Hiding from the fireworks on American Independence Day. Only this once did she ever go in the closet like this.

I love those eyes.

Flash forward a couple years, she's lucky if she can hear anything at all.

December 24, 2009. Newton and Dinah. Life is good.

February 14, 2010. PASTA NIGHT! The pasta that hasn't already been served to humans is in the white colander on the counter.

June 3, 2011. Biscuit?

June 11, 2011. Breakfast? Dinner?

January 6, 2014. In prep for selling the house, all the carpet was done away with in favor of hardwood. Soft places for dogs became mighty precious. Kinda like Dinah.

Her final photo appearance: February 22, 2014.

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