One of the biggest compliments I have ever received came the other day from one of my neighbors, well the fellow I was having drinks with the night Stella decided to bugger off, it was that night.
A preamble to this story is; I have a few people upset with me at the marina. Nothing major, or I don’t think so but I have to admit I have been breaking the rules. I am such a rebel. It has to do with Stella being on a leash, I put her on the leash to walk down the wharf but once we are on land I take her leash off because she has to walk around in circles for 5 minutes before she finds a place to do her thing and I really hate walking in circles with her. Plus she is trained to walk off leash and has learned to come when I call her and for the most part she is very good about staying by my side when we walk. When she sees a friend she will go and say “hi” but comes right back. Dogs need friends too. Right? It would be different if she was unpredictable or vicious but she is such a pussy she wouldn’t hurt a fly, actually she is afraid of flies. Most everyone on the dock loves Stella and if she is on the wharf they all call her to come say “Hi”,except one woman and she is recruiting followers every chance she gets.
She has lived here a long time and her dog is the dock favorite and she is a great dog, she and Stella like each other. The real kicker is when I was sitting at the picnic tables with Stella a while back Stella wandered over to their boat to say Hi to Teka, their dog and I went to get her and gave her shit and they both said, “Oh leave her, she’s fine. She just wants to say Hi.” I still made her come back with me because I want to train her to stay by my side.
Then I had Stella and Kiya off leash and she had Teka off leash and we ran into each other, Kiya stayed by my side but Stella didn’t listen to me and Teka didn’t listen to her and ran to each other and started to play. We each gave our perspective dogs shit and went on our way.
Next thing I know I am hearing through the grapevine that I should have Stella on a leash and Teka’s mom is all upset. oh well! not my fault any more than hers, in my mind.
I was more conscientious about keeping Stella on her leash until we were a distance from the dock and then I would let her go just before we got to the boat launch where she swims. I had just let her off the leash and sure enough here comes Teka and she is on her leash, Stella runs towards her but stops when I call her and I put her leash on. But Teka pulled on her leash and I guess the woman put her back out. Gee, sorry, Teka pulls on her leash whenever she sees another dog whether the dog is on its’ leash or not. Still not Stella’s fault, in my mind. But I heard about it again, not from the woman but from others on the dock. So I am the topic of conversation and much consternation; geezz I hate that, don’t talk behind my back because it makes me a bitchy rebel.
I have really been trying hard to not get sucked into the pettiness and just “follow the rules”. I keep telling myself, “how hard can this be Carrie, just follow the rules. You never had trouble following rules before.” But the rebel in me has been hatched and I am not so much into following rules anymore.
In the past I had tons of “rules” I had my rules, I had the rules of my parents, the rules of society, James rules, OMG I had rules coming out my eyeballs and I followed all the rules. I was so busy following rules I didn’t have time to do spontaneous fun things like spur of the moment picnics, company dropping by sent me into a tizzy because it was not planned and the house might not be spotless, and the rules say you should phone ahead, spontaneity was not allowed.
My first husband dirty danced long before the movie ever came out, he was one sexy little frenchman but the only time I dirty danced with him was when we were back east; the minute we hit BC I refused to dirty dance. What if someone who knew me saw me?? Dirty dancing was not in the rules, what if someone disapproved? thought I looked stupid? what if I made a mistake? Dirty Dancing is supposed to be fun, sensual, spontaneous not planned and I am sure there are no “rules” to dirty dancing.
I don’t do as much “tsk tsking” as I used to either, live and let live I say now, but I used to disapprove of “rule breakers”, i passed judgement on people who bucked the system. But I was young and really, I was not following my own rules, I was following the rules of my parents, society and anyone else who liked to make rules; deep down I loved the people who didn’t follow the rules. Not the criminals, there is a difference ( I never used to think there was because when you are raised by a prison guard breaking the rules is tantamount to breaking the law); we don’t have to be sheep, all following rules that were written before our time and are still in effect because, “Just because, don’t question the rules. You follow the rules because, well because, they always have been followed.”
Recently one of the fellows here is a single dad of a 9 year old little girl, she loves Stella and her dad took off on his Harley and left her at the dock. I don’t know where he went but she came to see Stella, we went for a walk and she mentioned that her dad had told her to have a shower while he was gone but she was nervous to go alone. I said that I had to do laundry and was thinking about having a shower and did she want to come with me. She was so relieved and ran to get her shower gear. Just as I walked up with my shower stuff one of the old timers on the dock was telling the girl she was dumb to be nervous to go shower. I could see the little girl was hurt, feeling self conscious, so I interrupted and said, “I don’t know what you are talking about, I know I’m nervous to shower up there. I’m just happy to have company to go with me tonight. Us girls have each other’s back.” I did it again! I spoke against one of the “rule makers” and now I was on her hit list also.
So where does the biggest compliment fit in? Right now.
So when my neighbor and I were having our drink and chatted he said that he has been watching me ever since I moved onto the boat. how hard I work, the fact that I am always busy, and he had thought that if his dad was alive he would have loved me. I said I didn’t know if I should be complimented or not, and asked what his dad was like. And he said his dad was very charming, loved to dance, was a free spirit. and loved a classy lady with a bit of mystery.
I thought about that for awhile, not bad. Then he said that I am “free in this world.” He then explained that I am not a ‘rule follower”, that I buck the system and don’t do anything just because it has always been done, I am not afraid to speak my mind and I am a kind and caring person but I don’t care what people think, I live life to my own rules and people tend to get upset by people who don’t follow the rules. They follow them and so should everyone else. Their world’s are small and the rules keep everything organized and safe for them. They don’t know what to do with someone who doesn’t follow the rules. It throws them into a tizzy. To quote him. “You mean I have been eating shit sandwiches for 25 years and now you are telling me I don’t have to eat shit sandwiches? but all I know is shit sandwiches, for 25 years it has been all I know, I don’t even know what else i want to eat if I can’t have a shit sandwich.
I smiled. Yes, that is the way I feel………… now. I don’t want to upset people but i don’t want to eat shit sandwiches and I really think it is stupid to eat shit sandwiches just because it is a rule. I have only really felt this way for a short while, it has been building over time, slowly, as I got more in tune with my core self and started listening to my gut instincts and really paying attention to my inner voice and threw away all the lies I had been told about myself for most of my life.
I told my mom what he had said and she agreed, I live my own life without apology. Sure sometimes I have to sit back and listen to my inner voice and sometimes those old voices from bygone days will start to rumble and I have to argue with them a bit but it gets easier and easier and even comes naturally most of the time. So natural I hadn’t noticed that it showed.
I don’t quietly stew about some injustice, I speak up, i don’t bulldoze my way through but I don’t lay down and let others drive over me either.
I was sitting in the boat yesterday and I saw Teka was off leash and in the water right by the dock. The devil in me took Stella, on leash, for a pee. As we walked past Teka her and Stella exchanged looks and Teka came towards Stella. I said to Stella, “Yes Stella, look at that, Teka is off leash! what fun.” and I kept on walking.
When I came back a few minutes later Teka and her momma were gone. I knew she would be because she knows she has been wrong to talk behind my back and now she is embarrassed and will have to talk behind my back even more to prove she is right and I am wrong. And it is all so silly, she insists on eating shit sandwiches and is pissed off I refuse. It doesn’t up set me, I find it an interesting study in human nature.
But I do like the thought of being “free in this world”. Yes, it has a ring to it. I take it as quite a compliment.