Man’s Best Friend?

Dogs are man’s best friend, they say, so can a dog be a middle-aged-mother-on-the-verge-of-a-nervous-breakdown’s best friend too? Donald Trump, Boris Johnson, Narendra Modi, Brexit, Coronavirus, climate change….the way the world is going, my faith in humanity is not what it once was, and though I haven’t yet reached the point where I watch cute puppy videos on YouTube, I do find myself contemplating getting a dog. That is until I am reminded of the inconvenient fact that I am allergic to the damn creatures.

Perhaps my misery stems partly from having just spent five days indoors caring for a sick daughter. I say sick, but she wasn’t so ill that she’d stay in bed and sleep; oh no, she was the kind of sick that is sick enough not to be able to go to school, but well enough to demand constant attention and days filled with entertainment. So, we played endless rounds of Monopoly – I did my best to lose all my money as quickly as possible to close the game down, but I didn’t always succeed – and we baked cupcakes and more cupcakes, and then some more. 

This morning, I felt like I’d struck gold when the thermometer showed my daughter no longer had a temperature, and I wasted no time in shipping her off to school. To be fair, she wanted to go to school, because today is World Book Day, a day when primary school kids across Britain dress up as their favourite book character. My daughter was going as George from George’s Secret Key to the Universe (a children’s book by Stephen and Lucy Hawking), wearing a homemade space suit with an enormous helmet made out of papier-mâché. Given that she’s still coughing, the outfit conveniently doubles as a hazmat suit. 

I’m reading in the news that people are bulking up on toilet paper, sanitizers and other things necessary to survive during a pandemic. Although I take the threat of the Coronavirus seriously, I can’t help to think, if only people took the threat of climate change as seriously as they take the threat of the Coronavirus. 

Schools in Italy have closed down in an effort to stem the spread of the virus, but I am desperately hoping it won’t come to that here in the UK. Not that I necessarily mind going into self-isolation if I have to, but to self-isolate together with two bored and under-stimulated kids, that would be insufferable. Two weeks of playing board games and baking cakes, and I would lose my mind completely. 

The older I get, the deeper my misanthropy runs, but can you blame me? Just look at the world we inhabit and which we are doing a fine job of destroying in the name of growth and progress. In my adult life, I don’t think it’s been a time when I’ve felt as depressed about the future of humanity as I do now. No wonder I am longing for a dog. 

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