I think it is more true than ever that you have to live your life at home, not at work. Rusty greets me at the top of the stairs outside our stilt house, every morning I'm at work. I pull up, park the bike, take off my helmet and he rushed down and leaps into me happier to see me than he can express, though he does let loose a few howls and mewls to show his relief that I am home.
I value my dog so one night last week when a hotel called us to say they had a dog loose on the property it actually felt like a kindness to send out an officer to try to get the dog and find the owner. All of which happened by about three in the morning. The officer located a phone number on the collar and radioed me asking me to call the owner with the good news. I shouldn't have bothered. He acted as though I was telling him his mother was dead. Is this a joke? h kept asking as though it was impossible his hound had gone walkabout. Are you really the police? You aren't even a US citizen. You must be a Russian spy. I kid you not.
I don't sound as though I was born this side of the Atlantic but there is nothing Slavic about my intonation (I am a US citizen as it happens) and I simply couldn't understand what he was talking about. I was trying to get his dog back where he belonged...and I was an Enemy? In the end the weird man's wife was convinced to go to the hotel and save the family pet, a cheerful Labrador apparently on the lam, a night in jail at the SPCA. The call bothered me though. So my wife sent me a picture of Rusty in his favorite spot, not on his couch, not on MY couch, not on his bed or mine but on this corner of the carpet:
I have heard stories of people feeling empowered to hate immigrants, and indeed a friend heard his trailer trash neighbor screaming at some guy on a scooter to "go back home" to Poland. I think the Pole was being an asshole but sending us immigrants "home" every time we offend is no answer to anything. Yet this behavior is now condoned by the top dog:
I see huge ironies writ large all over the US these days.I remember President Reagan telling the Soviet Union to "tear down that wall" speaking of Berlin and today our President wants to wall us in. I recently heard an appeal from the new President of France calling on the US's best and brightest minds working on new technology and climate change issues to make France their home. In France he said they would have everything they need to do their work. Meanwhile the US President digs in and says coal is best and climate change is a hoax. The German Chancellor is now being described as the "leader of the Free World" a title she rejects but one that is filled with irony in light of Germany's past. I feel like we have all slipped down a rabbit hole and landed in a world made upside down.
I am bracing for more anti-immigrant tirades especially as the constitutional guarantees seem to be holding up better than one might expect. But I miss the country I emigrated to, one filled with optimism and belief in itself and fearlessness in a world that needed those qualities as much as it does today. I hope it comes back soon.