A dog’s life 

It is at 3 pm. Sunday. I sit on the couch and watch my dog. She is stretched out in its full length, with her head in my lap. So far, she has walked twice an hour and a half, during which casual passersby pointed her compliments, and she was repeatedly approached by members of the primary interest group – children and minors (no panic, there is nothing perverse about it, only her two-legged peers). She ate abundantly the finest foods for her breed and age, and every time she deserved it, she was rewarded with adored dog treats. She took care of her physiological needs, and her Sancho Pansa praised her for it, and then cleaned it responsibly. She played a little and cuddled a lot, and she spent all her time between the “demanding” actions slept through!

Ever since the best man’s friends moved out of poorly assembled wooden houses and muddy yards into rooms with central heating, dog life has ceased to be a metaphor for misery and anguish. Realistically – which of us would not change for a similar treatment?! Just imagine that your boss is thrilled every time you do something that you learned a long time ago, and that is in your job description! You might then come home exhilarated, waving a smile like a dog’s tail. Of course, cooked lunch and a loving and understanding spouse will be waiting for you in your own home, ready to repeat a hundred times that you are beautiful, kind, and smart. In turn, you just have to be wise enough not to dig up her favorite flowers in the garden or knock down his favorite game console. Of course, in such situations, anger towards you would be short-lived, and pouting and patronizing would be unfamiliar terms.

Even if you are not an animal lover, and not even my hairy friend, who, according to our local carpenter, fell an ax into honey, you would hardly not agree to live a carefree and senseless life, at least briefly. It’s just so that you have no idea what stress, crisis, or recession is for change. Just you not be worried by not being able to afford new clothes, or your butt is visibly larger than a year ago. And it’s perfectly normal and acceptable for your male to sniff and jump at every female nearby.

This is how we can be comforted that, at least for reasons of collective grumpiness, we are keeping up with the world, and frankly, for some Americans or English people, it must be even harder. Because while the years of booming economies and prosperity are behind them, crises can only be news to young children. Parents who are trying to explain today to the technologically advanced youngster that they will still have to settle for a third-generation iPhone, even though half of the class has already received the latest, probably quite vividly remember the time when we used to buy basic groceries for vouchers. The ones that have been bothering to not renovated their fleet for a few years might be teleported in not so long ago when cars were a luxury, and we drove them on even or odd days, depending on the last digit on the license plate. We experienced the golden times of Markovic (if your first thought was of the current president of the HNS, you do not remember the ’80s and the fairytale favorable exchange rate of the Dinar compared to the German Mark), but also survived the crisis tax.

I can say we are indestructible. Or it was just me with those dog comparisons that went in the wrong direction because instead of the hair, I had to focus on the feathers. Occasionally, we are frighteningly similar to a large colony of ostriches far from their natural habitat. I am very interested in the fact that the problems which get people on their feet in our country go through with only a few louder remarks, but this is not a topic for a pleasure magazine. I prefer to admire our ability not to give up pleasures even when the world around us seems to be collapsing in its foundations.

Although the temperatures, by mid-November, were still more similar to those typical of early fall, the most beautiful and expensive winter coats for which there was a waiting list in a Zagreb store were grabbed long before. And we may be late paying utilities, but we won’t give up coffee with friends. We will probably fuss about all the ways that some new state budget will knock us over the budget, but in the home version of the same, we will find ways to go skiing this winter. Two weeks. We will complain and cry that things used to be better, but still, all our dear ones will find at least a little sign of attention under the tree. We may be angry that this year, all the holidays fall on Saturday, so the vast majority of us will not snatch another extra day off, but we will still with great pleasure eat the cod, turkeys, piglets, and dry cookies like there was no tomorrow. And this is one of the few reasons why I wouldn’t change with my dog after all. Her December is by no means special because, for her, every day is Christmas.

TEXT – Barbara Kolar