Monthly Archives: July 2009

sorry elvis

bye bye elvisWe gave our 4yr old dog to a new owner today. My husband Andy bought him as a pup before we met, so he was well and truly hubby’s dog, and not mine. Given that I am allergic to dogs and have never really liked big dogs anyway, my grief today surprises me.

Elvis lived outside with Swan, a 12 yr old same breed – german shorthaired pointer, so they didn’t aggravate my allergies. I never asked Andy to get rid of them and never complained about having to live with dogs. We walked them together on the condition that I didn’t have to pick up their poos, and on the days Andy was out I fed them. It was never a ‘it’s me or the dog’ situation. I knew how much Andy loved his dogs.

Elvis, however, had an anxiety problem. He needed near-constant attention, without which he would whine incessantly. His crying was very frustrating and neither Andy nor I had the time or money to invest in training it out of him. Andy’s love for Elvis grew tired and irritated. Elvis also annoyed Swan who is too old to keep up with his energy – he would steal his bed and irritate her with his crying to the extent that she would bark at him to shut up. I wanted to give Elvis more attention but if I pat him too much I would end up wheezing, sneezing and itchy. It was to my great surprise that Andy suggested finding him a new home a couple of months ago. Nevertheless, I didn’t think much of it as Andy is a dreamer – he talks a lot about ‘plans’ but doesn’t execute most of them.

He executed this plan, and someone came to pick Elvis up this morning. Andy made sure she was a suitable dog owner for Elvis – she has a large property some hours north of here, several kids and a 6 month old doberman-cross that needs energetic company. I stayed out the back pruning some geranium because I hate saying goodbye. I didn’t think I’d really mind Elvis disappearing. The silencing of his incessant crying would be a relief! Yet now he’s gone I am absolutely racked with guilt. I know he’ll be crying now, wondering where his master, Andy, is.

One part of me tells me that he’ll be happier in his new home with all the kids and young pup to keep him occupied, but somewhere else in my head is a face that is frowning disappovingly and wondering how I could have been so heartless. How could I fail to protest to Andy about handing his dog over to someone we don’t know that well? Elvis was a happy dog. He was anxious, but very happy and energetic. I really hope he is happier in his new home.

I can hear Swan beginning to whine a bit now. Elvis annoyed her greatly, but he was her mate nonetheless. She has clearly enjoyed her time alone this morning, but is now beginning to wonder when her mate is coming back….


arrogant and horrible teenage boys

I tutor high school students at a little tutoring-school near my home and yesterday I got an insight into some disturbing realities of teenage boys. I was waiting to go into my classroom to teach my individual grade 11 student (who is actually a lovely teenage boy) and was sitting outside another classroom in which 2 or 3 boys and one girl were seated, supposedly studying but mostly talking. I couldn’t see them but I could hear them. The boys were talking about pornography and how one of them could access it on his phone (I didn’t know you could do that – scary stuff). The girl was silent but I knew she was there because I had heard her talking about something else previously. She was trying to tell a story about how she saw some boys lift a really small car up onto an elevated garden. I could tell she was attempting to join in the boisterous conversation but the boys were trying to knock her down: ‘How could they lift a car? That’s impossible’ Girl says: ‘It was a small car. Anyway they would lift…’. Boy interrupts in a ‘I know about cars – I’m male’ authoritative voice: ‘cars weigh 400kgs. That’s impossible’. Girl hesitates: ‘it was one of those really small cars. A group of big guys can lift a car’. She finishes her story and then asks, ‘have you guys seen Transformers 2?’ One of the boy responds, ‘aw, Megan Gale, she’s hot! aw….’ Girl says impatiently, ‘have you seen it?’ Anyway, somehow the discussion reverts to pornography and I didn’t catch most of it. I did hear, however, the girl pipe up in a revolted voice, with, ‘why do you watch porn?’ One of the boy responds, ‘because he’s a 14yr old male. I’m 15 so I’m wiser now’. (I think this implied he doesn’t watch it anymore?? One can hope). Anyway, I thought, ‘fucking hell, is this what girls have to deal with at school??’ How depressing. THEN, at 5pm they all stood up and the boys wandered out of the room, books in hand and the girl stood up and went to the front of the classroom as a new student, a little boy, entered. The ‘girl’ was the teacher. I was absolutely dumbstruck. I had pictured a 14 yr old girl, but here was a young woman in her early 20s.  This young woman had been trying to engage in ‘cool’ conversation with 14 yr old boys?! And the teenage boys showed absolutely no respect for their teacher – in contrast they talked about pornography in front of her which, hey, when you’re an adult is sexual harrassment but when you’re 14 it’s ok? I felt pretty bad for the teacher because I thought, what would I have done if I had been in the same situation when I was her age? If young boys talked about porn in front of me back then I wouldn’t have known what to do. I would have thought ‘ew, gross’ but that’s probably about it. I tried to think about what I would do if any of my students did that now. I think I would have told them to shut up and then I would have talked to their parents (and probably get told to ‘chill out’).

Apart from the total lack of respect the boys showed their teacher, what struck me was the teacher’s attempt to engage with them by being cool and telling them stories and talking about movies. Would she have done this with girl students? How would 14 yr old girl students the same age have treated her? The boys were hostile and did not let her enter their territory – they made her try really hard, and this kind of made her sound desperate – as thought she wanted recognition in their eyes. I seriously thought she was a young teenage girl from their school trying to be ‘one of the boys’.