My grandmother used to have this little Pekinese dog. She had several of them over the years, actually. I don't know what this one particular dog's name was. It might have been Raindrop. I know there was a Raindrop at some point during my childhood.
One thing about this dog was that it was ugly. But that should go without saying. All Pekinese dogs are ugly with their squashed faces and their stubby legs and their weird compact torsos. Selective breeding gone horribly awry.
Another thing about this one particular dog was that it was terrified of storms. But not petrified. Whatever the opposite of petrified would be. Maybe frantic with fear.
Whenever thunder would rumble, this dog would start running. My grandmother's house was a big circle. The dog would run from the kitchen to the laundry room to the bedroom to the foyer to the living room to the kitchen - on and on and on until the thunder stopped. That dog, with it ugly little tongue hanging out of its ugly face, that dog would run that circuit nonstop until the storm had passed.
Unless somebody messed up and opened the kitchen door.
When that happened, somebody - usually me - would have to go out into the storm and chase the stupid little thing down.
It was amazing how fast those stubby little legs could propel that dog.
This past weekend I went driving. A lot. And I thought about that dog and how it would run and run without ever getting anywhere. How it would run for the simple reason that it was too terrified to stay where it was.
I wondered if I was doing the same thing. And not just with the driving around. With all of my traveling, and with all of my life, I wondered if what I was really doing was running.
And if I am, then that begs the question of whether I'm running from something that I cannot escape, or running toward a destination that I cannot see.
How badly am I fooling myself?
Am I as stupid as that ugly little dog, running simply because it's the only thing I can do?