Some might call this mundane. I call it comforting, the soothing order of things that are more felt than said. We may not speak a common language, but in those familiar moments inside the front door as we get ready for our walks, I feel strangely connected to this little guy, as if we understand each other in ways that extend well beyond mere language.
One of my must-haves before we take a walk is my smartphone. I suppose that's an obvious one given what I do. But there's more to it, because I take it everywhere with me not because I want to fiddle with it while we're out - it typically stays, ignored, deep in my pocket, because you only get so many dog-walks in life - but because I'm afraid to be without it. After my run-in with the universe - click here if you're just joining us - I became fearful of being cut off, of not having a lifeline, of something happening and no one else knowing.
For the longest time, I wouldn't lock doors behind me. I still text my wife to let her know when I leave and when I get there. After I recovered and started venturing back into the real world, on my first solo trip by train to Toronto for meetings - a mere two hours east of here - I spent the day freaked out that my phone battery would somehow fail before I got back.
So imagine my surprise when we got a couple of blocks away from home before I realized my pocket was empty. My first reaction was a skipped heartbeat as it dawned on me that we were completely on our own. Sure, we were seven minutes away from the house, but it still felt impossibly far away.
As I fought the urge to scoop Frasier up and double-time it back home, I began to wonder why I had been so set in my ways up until this day, why I felt every moment had to be experienced with a fully charged smartphone always within arm's reach. And why that had all changed simply because I ripped an artery in my neck.
I stopped myself from panicking on the sidewalk, and continued walking away from home, along the path we originally intended to take. Eventually we got home. Nothing happened, of course, and the next night the phone somehow didn't make it into my pocket before we headed out.
I'll always wonder whether or not I need it, always pause when I think about what may or may not happen when I'm on my own, away from home. But the seemingly trivial fact I'm now willing to head out the door without an electronic tether every once in a while, that slight modification to my once-inviolable "rules of flight", seems to resonate more in my head than it probably should.
I guess run-ins with the universe come with their own rules, and it's perfectly fine if we spend endless amounts of time afterward trying to figure them out.