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The Best Day

Submitted by Claire on June 9, 2009 – 8:43 amComments

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Today was the best day.

It wasn’t really the best day. Instead, it was kind of a hard day. Which isn’t that interesting, because we all have these days, when things are going on in life that aren’t ideal and we feel kinda sad about them. But on this trip, when we have them, Lara and I like to use a phrase of our friend Mari’s, and we look at each other and say: “But you can’t have a bad day – because you’re living THE DREAM!”

So, because of the best day (smiling even when you feel sad helps you to feel happier – in the same way perhaps calling a bad day the best day does), I knew I couldn’t miss out on a Goan beach run. Because it turns out I kinda love running, actually, and might even do it indefinitely. So here is what happened on my run that made the best day actually, truly, one of the best days I’ve had in a long, long time.

I was running, and I came across all these ferocious looking probably rabid feral dogs. And I got kind of scared, but then told myself that there were really only three, that they even looked mildly playful, and that I could run into the ocean and out-swim them with my large arm muscles if they tried to viciously attack me. So I kept running. This may not seem like a big deal, but it is, because I used to be terrified of dogs. In the past couple years, though, several specific non-crap dogs, Holly’s Bo and Sammy Sperber and Zoey, have been really influential in helping me transform my feeling about dogs. And I have decided, shockingly, that I actually (gasp) kind of like dogs, and actually (quadruple gasp) think I want to get one one day.

So after I safely passed the dogs, and there were no casualties, I realized all of a sudden that there was this little dog thing running behind me. And I did get scared, because it kinda looked like he was trying to bite the back of my calf muscle, but I breathed deeply and all and kept running. And he just hung in there. And then I started thinking he was a pretty tight dog. So the dog and I ran up and down the beach together, and it was really weirdly wonderful.

What was also great is that, since the dog was perhaps eating too much Indian fruit, it was having digestive issues so it had to stop a lot, and it gave me a nice little respite from the activity. At some points, especially after he would use the bathroom, I started to worry that the dog was getting worn out, because he was so far behind just sitting there, and so I would clap my hands and say encouraging things like, “Come on now Buddy!” And then he would come running like a crazy man really fast, and I realized that he wasn’t really tired at all, he just thought I was slow and so was giving me a head start so it didn’t get boring for him. (Kind of like skiing with parents or boyfriends, I thought).

At some point, I started to feel really, really warm feelings for the dog I couldn’t control, and I remembered that on 1950s television shows and Disney Family movies sometimes people throw sticks and dogs catch them. So I went and found some dead tree near the beach and got a stick which I thought looked about right. And then we started playing this game, “fetch”, which was perhaps the most out of body experience I’ve ever had. For the record, he wasn’t that good at it (because I don’t think he gets a lot of attention) and so he never managed to actually bring the stick back, and instead would just sit there with it in his mouth waiting for me to come get it. And so we moved down the beach like that, and I kept thinking how it was one of the weirdest days of my life. Eventually it did get semi-boring, being that fetch isn’t that intellectually stimulating and all.

At or about that moment of boredom, however, because it is Southern India in August, it started monsooning. The rain got really, really, really hard and it was kind of hurting my eyelids and I couldn’t see much more than fifteen feet around me. But I didn’t want to go in, because it was very cleansing and all and I needed that, and so I stood there on the beach feeling the rain. And then I looked down and realized that the dog was huddled up against me to protect himself from the rain, and it felt like I was helping the dog by just being there, and that he needed me, and I felt so great and lucky and all. And it made me think deeply of what Jennifer Aniston had told Oprah (remember when I watched Oprah last week?) about when one day when she was sad and doing yoga she just had this crazy flash and thought: “Everything’s going to be just fine. Because I am exactly where I am supposed to be.”

When I came back from the run, I said to Lara, “I ran with a dog!” And she said, “But you hate dogs. Or you used to, at least.” And then I said triumphantly, “I know!”

And then I told her the whole story of what had happened, with the fetch and the dog and the warm feelings and all, and I even said provocatively that Jesus might have been coming down when the light got all weird. To which she said, without looking up from her work, “I’m sure it was Him, Claire,” which was kind of a sarcastic comment because it’s unclear what Lara thinks about Jesus.

The best day.

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