A history of abuse

I condescendingly ask my neighbor if she speaks “a little English”. That insult alone should have driven her crazy. But I think she’d rather have that kind of violence, instead of the bloody, hellish, Hannibal Lecter nightmare I’ve been day-dreaming about, involving her dog and her family. She does speak English, enough to understand my request.

I want them to tie the dog at night. Their dog enjoys the wonderful sport of barking at another dog, in a mock-fury, both of them safely on opposite sides of a tall fence. Like medieval knights. Most nights I don’t notice it. Some nights, though, I feel like clubbing the damn dogs with the bat I keep on the veranda.

Perhaps she spends too much time with school children, because her reply is typically childish: “There are other dogs, too, not just my dog”. She understands, though, that there is a difference. She can, in fact, tie her own dog. It’s almost impossible to control the others, they’re semi-stray.

She definitely feels that my request is another straw in a series of psychological burdens. I’ve seen it in Romania. Ordinary citizens get so much abuse from other ordinary citizens, not to mention the ongoing theft performed by the politicians. It is the same here. Everyone needs a break, that’s why they come to Possidi. To forget the every day issues of taxes, debt, ruin and despair.

I see the frustration and aggressiveness in her eyes and I completely understand. I tell her that it’s fine if she doesn’t want to tie the dog, I can’t make her. I tell her that I have no more arguments. Just wanted her to know that the dog disturbs me, my guests and basically everyone around.

She uses her angry momentum to point that we’ve been hit by thieves. “Well, the dogs didn’t stop them, did they ?” I almost laugh. I notice her humiliation. She winces at me, but I smile. She starts talking again, about other dogs and so on and I stop her short. “Listen ! I just wanted you to know this. That your dog disturbs us”.

She fails to understand that my mission is one of peace, of mitigating, of avoiding further disturbance. She only feels another external demand, another pressure, another annoying little request. I give her a symbolic choice. She can comply or refuse. Evidently, she has that choice (this is not Germany, or some other civilized country, where law enforcement could actually make her do something about the dog).

Secretly, though, I decided to talk to her mostly out of curiosity, to find out if she is aware of what her dog does. She is aware. There is, of course, another reason. The indescribably violent urge to fight back that I’ve subdued for so long.  You see, I have my own history of abuse.