I’ve been feeling a little anxiety lately over my impending move to Mount Pleasant. Yes, my new house is actually less than a mile from my old one, and the neighborhoods are right next to each other. But I don’t deal very well with change– the new house, new drycleaners, new furniture, new Starbucks, new busline, new metro station, new dive bars. The idea of it seriously spikes up my blood pressure.
My mom said the day I graduated Kindergarten, I sobbed like I was at a funeral while all the other kids were playing and celebrating summer. She couldn’t figure out what was wrong with me, so when I calmed down enough to formulate words, I said, “I don’t want a new teacher! I don’t want a new classroom! I want to stay in Kindergarten forever!”
I’m not sure what this is called, in terms of psychopathologies. But I’m pretty sure I have one. When I think about it rationally, I’m thrilled to be moving– love the new place, love the new roommates, love the new hood. But knowing that I’m about to move has made me irritable with everyone, like I’m walking around with a knot in my stomach and a big black cloud over my head. I know it sounds crazy.
What’s really strange is that I have a million things to do to prepare for the move: packing, changing my address, canceling my Verizon account and setting up Comcast for the new place, selling my bed, etc. But the only task I’ve been able to focus on– and I’ve focused on this one obsessively and to the exclusion of ever other productive possibility– is finding a dog to adopt. I have been scouring Craig’s List and Petfinder and every other dog shelter website in the D.C. metro area every day for the past 2 months straight. Sunday, I got up early to drive an hour out to nowhere Virginia to meet a black cocker spaniel for five minutes. I’ve attended 6 adoption shows, I’ve sent in countless applications for dogs, and last night I drove out to Chantilly in rush hour traffic– 4 hours roundtrip– to meet a Cockapoo (cocker spaniel + miniature poodle) I found on Craig’s List.
But this Cockapoo is really special. I was feeling especially strange and anxious yesterday over the move, and I was in a horrible mood the whole way out to Chantilly in stand-still traffic. But when I got there, and that dog jumped into my lap and licked my face and laid perfectly still in my arms for 10 minutes while I talked to his parents, I immediately felt calm and content. I fed him a gourmet dog treat that I had “casually” picked up at a ritzy dog store in Dupont the day before, and I cheered him on as his dad showed me how he could sit, roll over, shake a paw and play dead on command. He’s one and a half, 15-lbs full grown, house-trained, neutered, non-shedding, and totally adorable.
I’m trying not to get my hopes up because I’m competing against one other family for him (and they apparently have a cute 5-yr-old, which is not fair), but I got a really nice e-mail from his parents after the visit saying that they liked me a lot and could tell I would love Max more than they did. Sad, no?
Anyway, I’m getting him for a trial run next weekend, and my fingers are crossed that they’ll pick me, even though it’s sort of counterintuitive to pick the 27-year-old city-dweller with 3 roommates over a settled-down nuclear family with a kid. Whatever, I totally bonded with him, and even just playing with him for 10 minutes significantly improved my mood and eased my concerns about moving.
In conclusion, it’s true what they say about animal therapy, and I’ll keep you posted on Max!