And so it came to pass that though the dog was an utter darling he was quite incapable of discriminating between foodstuffs and precious belongings and she who was in charge of him tried all manner or remonstration and failed on every single count. The list of the things said dog destroyed? Three bras. Two pairs of wellingtons. An entire bag of popcorn and another of raspberry ruffles. Two tea-towels. One Batman. One Ben Ten. One white blobby soft toy apparently from Doctor Who. One pair of fleecy white slipper socks. One knife. A block of cheese. The cat. The cats favourite blanket. Twenty four magazines. One toilet roll from which a veritable snowstorm was created. Sixteen vintage books. One light sabre. One pencil case. Ten pencils. Finn's homework (no really). A tub of rosy body lotion. Two packets of marmite crisps. Unspeakable things from the cats litter tray. The living room carpet. One particular corner of the rug. And my sanity.
Hells bells, yes. The dog ate my sanity.
But this post isn't about the dog. Had ya fooled there didn't I? No, this post is about my attitude to all the things the dog has eaten.
You see just this morning, Alfie walked past me looking rather pleased with himself so I ran up the stairs three at a time and there spread across the laminate floor of my bedroom was what remained of a very beautiful, very old, scrumptiously illustrated copy of The Water Babies I have treasured for many a year. I grabbed what was left of the front cover and stomped back down to confront the perpetrator of said mis-demeanour and found him apparently under attack of the kind sudden sleep which seems to take both babies and puppies mid-morning. The kind of attack I myself would occasionally give in to where it not for the fact that I have myself utterly convinced that the sleep police would attend my premises and remove all means to a cosy nap should they discover me comatose at eleven in the morning.
And then I went back up stairs, brushed up the mess with my handy little attached sweep and pan and then got distracted by something I saw out of the window and completely forgot to attend to the lack of rage I was apparently feeling. Or not feeling. For there it was: a big old empty hole devoid of all the kind of outrage I would have long suspected I would feel should I find anything other than a fluffy woof, apparently hell-bent on systematically destroying all the pretty, precious things I own.
This isn't, I don't think, because Alfie is too cute to stay cross with for long. No. It isn't that. It seems, you see, that I have developed a curious lack of attachment to almost everything in my life, beyond the people I love. This might just be, because I have read so many books about de-cluttering that I have been brain-washed into truly understanding that things, even things apparently of value, or loaded with projected emotion, actually do not mean anything at all. Nothing. Nada. Nought.
You see I stood there staring at what was left of The Water Babies and I thought about salvaging it along with the rest of the mighty high pile of dog-chewed books, until it suddenly struck me that there was no point. It was just one book in the cast of thousands that I own. One book I have not opened since the day I bought it for a song five years ago. One book I can should I choose to, buy again. One book I stored under my bed, for heavens sake!!
Its just a book. Just a thing. And things do not have meaning other than that we project on to them. You see the moment we stop studying our own projections, perhaps because we have got bigger fish to fry in our lives, is apparently the moment we are able to see them for what they usually are: meaningless objects. No more precious for the memories they provide because memories live on and cannot be chewed by naughty puppies.
So next time you find yourself staring at the ruined remains of something you have convinced yourself you love, detach it from a heart with far too many ribbons wrapped around memories. Detach it, and know that we are lucky enough to live in a world where almost everything we own can be replaced or usurped by the next object, the next moment to be enjoyed, the next treasure to be temporarily guarded.
It's all just stuff my darling. Just stuff.