Monday, April 05, 2010

Continued diligence

Blake's workout entails the following: 45 seconds of galumphing from one side of the room to the other (which includes resting time between each lap).  Then two minutes of scraping (using my foot like a spatula to detach him from the floor and force him to keep going), followed by about another 20 seconds of running (more breaks, of course).  I do some more prodding, or shoving more like, and usually I'll get one final lap out of him before he flat-out refuses to keep going.  The whole ordeal takes no more than five minutes.

The emotional roller coaster that is patently visible on his orange, whiskered face is pretty dramatic.  On second thought . . . Blake's journey is almost exactly the first few acts from the "All the world's a stage" monologue in As You Like It.

The journey begins with childlike, limitless enthusiasm.  He's a little kid on Christmas morning.  This is the part I wish I could describe better--it's when he actually does the running.

At first the infant,/Mewling and puking in the nurse's arms;
I think it would help if I could first figure out what animal he looks most like.  The most apparent answer is an elephant--he's so big and lumbering and slow.  I'm dismissing it because of the obviousness.

For some reason I'm getting mental image of a human being running on all fours and likening that to Blake.  What is it about Blake that makes me think of a person running like a dog?

You know, I think it's his back legs.  When humans run on all fours, our legs don't work right and look awkward.  Blake's back legs look similar when he's running; I have no idea why.  Because he's so overweight?  Is it a simple lack of grace? Whatever it is, it doesn't seem like his back legs are functioning properly.  In a funny way, of course . . . not like he has a medical problem or anything.

He looks like an anteater or a possum.  I don't know how to back up such a blunt claim; have I ever even seen an anteater run?  Or a possum?  Not that I'm aware of, but their humped backs and short hind legs . . . AH HA!  I'm going to interrupt myself because I figured it out.  It is his back legs; they seem too short in comparison to his oversized paunch.  His bulging belly hides the natural bend of the mid-joint (uh, can't possibly be a "knee"?) and his hind legs appear to stay straight while he runs.  That's what it is.  OMG.

After the Christmas-morning-esque foolishness is over, when he starts getting tired, his emotional state changes from foolhardy to a transfixed fascination.  The excitement is still there, but for the most part he's too tired to put in any energy.  For the most part.  His eyeballs will be following the red pinpoint of the laser until--seemingly at random--he'll jump sideways, an impossible kernel of orange, fuzzy popcorn leaping unexpectedly out of the pan.  Then he'll go back to swiveling his head Exorcist-style as he keeps his eye on that elusive, damnable dot.

And then the whining school-boy, with his satchel/And shining morning face, creeping like snail/Unwillingly to school.
That's when the scraping and peeling comes into play as I try to get him to keep running.  After a few more passes back and forth under coercion, the transfixed excitement slowly morphs into a dreamlike meditation.  I think his fur must become heavy and his legs must be weak because all of a sudden he'll be glued to the floor.

After the collapse he stares at the brilliant red light and his eyes become unfocused as he remembers all the fun he had with the dot in days of yore.  His head doesn't swivel anymore to follow it; instead, the cartoon bubble over his head shows a montage of all his favorite red dot moments.  I swear there's a cheesy love song playing from somewhere.

That's when I poke him to try and get him going, and it wakes him up with a jolt.  He'll take a half-hearted, drunken swipe at the spot on the floor and go back to his wistful recollections of the radiant speck of blazing red.
And then the lover,/Sighing like furnace, with a woeful ballad/Made to his mistress' eyebrow.
It isn't long after this that the emotional pendulum swings again, and lands with finality on annoyed.  The more you encourage him to do "one more rep," the grumpier he gets.  Now he's a little old man who hates things like Christmas cheer and noisiness and flamboyance.  The singing, dancing dot is a cheerful peevish curse.  Cat-like and fickle, everything Blake once loved about the laser is now a maddening irritation.

Then a soldier,/Full of strange oaths, and bearded like the pard,/Jealous in honour, sudden and quick in quarrel,/Seeking the bubble reputation/Even in the cannon's mouth.
When he gets to this state, I have to watch out for my ankles . . . when I try to make him keep going, I get a Venus Cat Trap wrapped around my leg for the effort.

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