June, '98

Monday, June 29, 1998, 10:14 AM:

Just back from the vet: White Dog has no fractures, but she's not breathing right and I have great fears for her. Jim's kid Shaun and one of his buddies are staying in the guest room, as of last night and one of them came rushing up the stairs to say that it looked like W.D. had been hit by a car. I was upstairs wasting time with Solitaire, a little after W.D. had told me that she wanted to go walkies and while J. put on a shirt so we could take them all out; I had heard a yelping doggie, but the bark was unfamiliar and I fear now that it was White making a sound I had never heard before and so did not recognize. I ran down and there she was in the street, laid out and unresponsive, but breathing. I scooped her up, got Vern to move his truck, which was blocking mine as usual (blocking my view of the street too), and drove straight to the Vet. As I pulled her out of the car, she shit on the seat (plugged up an ready for walkies for sure), then I took her right to the operating room where Dr. Wallace and Dr. Lewis got right to work on her. I was rather a pest, but they shooed me out; the only information I managed to get out of them was that her heart wasn't great but was OK, her breathing was very difficult (my greatest worry) and that there were no obvious fractures. Was she hit? Did she have a stroke or something? How long did she suffer B4 I got to her side? I know I can't be there all the time and when I hear a yelping dog I ignore it nowadays, particularly since Cairo, the new puppy dog has just moved in across the street (and there are probably a dozen new doggies at this end of town now as summer session students move in), but I am afraid that W.D. was alone and I wasn't there for her. I hope she is all right: J and I have had more than enough death in our lives of late and this well this is too much. Be well, my sweetie: be well!!!

Was she hit by a car?? Jim and them had left by the time I got back so the "witnesses" are nowhere to be found.

11:06 AM:Dr. Lewis just called: they rolled her over and it became obvious that she had been hit by a car: maybe some broken ribs and obvious elbow damage. She is breathing a little easier (probably the change in position) but that's about it. He will call again later. I am going to the shop to get some work done: I can't wait wait wait

12:12 PM:Made a thing for the safety valve on the steamboat; still no word. Will email Todd.

5:18 PM:Dr. Lewis just called: W.D. died.

Time to walk the doggies. I feel like shit. I am passing time, waiting to die. I hope I get hit by a bus and check out like the guy in the milk commercial. No regrets, no second thoughts, no hopes, no nothing.

Just sent the following to my friends via email:

Subject: More bad news
--White Dog, by best friend in the world, was killed today by a
hit-and-run driver who didn't even bother to hit the brakes. I've had it
with this town, with its insensitive people and with life in general.
--White had been very nearly deaf for some time, but she had
excellent "car sense" and would have gotten out of the way of any
"normal" car situation. One can't plan for all eventualities of course
and the odds just caught up with my little family one more time. White
had had cancer for the last 5 years but she was doing well on a
maintenance dose of a prescription drug and we fully expected her to make
it into the 21st Century with the rest of our little band.
--I know that all our days are numbered and that consciousness is
nothing more than the figment of an uppity imagination. Gone she is, but
her mortal remains will be lodged next to those of the long lost Mr. Dog,
my best friend of times gone by. He died before she was born, but had
they been contemporaries, it would have been a match "made in heaven" and
I will see to it that what's left of them will be together now, rather than
not at all. I hope my bones will be fortunate enough to wind up there some
day, too: one couldn't ask for better friends in the land of the living
or the dead.
"Steamboat Ed" Haas

9:53 PM:Talked and walked with Jim Freeberg: he's a good listener, despite my current despair with all things consciousness-related. It is difficult to get my verbalizations down on paper, but to sum it up I see consciousness as a generally bad idea. I try to see the world from the perspective of the universe, i.e. an insignificant speck in the scheme of things, meaning that life on earth is even more meaningless, cosmically speaking. It's not just that: it's the passage of time as well: how would life look if viewed from the perspective of infinite time? It would resemble a boiling cauldron of stuff, bubbling, frothing, becoming and un-becoming, but ultimately yielding what? Nothing as far as I can fathom. What's the point? There is none: that's all there is to say. Could there be a point, if we weren't around to see it? That is poorly put. What I mean is, how can a finite life span have value, unless it produces something that transcends the finite? OK, words are cool. If they are well crafted and survive politics and flood, they might endure for a few thousand years. But what is that in the cosmic sense? Not much. A life of a thousand years will end, so what's the value in hanging around, aside from having the freedom to choose the exactly aesthetically perfect moment to end one's own life? The only alternative to this bleak outlook, that I can imagine might be if my body managed to survive long enough to participate, i.e. to contribute the physical aspects of "me" which contain that part called "I" to some more enduring entity, probably an artificial construct that has yet to be imagined by technological or medically-inclined scientific dreamers. Right now the fix is sociological, i.e. one procreates and offspring inherit the future, but they and theirs die too: what's the fun in that?? To pass on the same information, adding a smidge of this or that in each generation, but forgetting a like amount of good or bad information, in order to progress along the road to oblivion seems absurd. To experience it ALL, to know it ALL, to be a becoming of all who are and who are yet to be born would seem to be a more enduring and a more correct paradigm. But how to get there from ignorance? I don't know; it just seems that this would be a better goal than to pass on what is learned to future generations than to discard our consciousnesses as our bodies decompose into the oblivion of dissipating atoms. The road to this utopia is invisible to me. Wiser minds must blaze that trail. I once thought that I was part of the last generation for whom death would be anything other than a mere inconvenience, but the more those about me die, the more unlikely that "happy" future eludes me. I think that death, decay and the disappearance of accumulated learning will continue for millennia. Luck is fickle: W.D. got the short end of the stick and so will we all for the foreseeable future. Shit.

I eat and watch TV mechanically and it seems not right but I don't know what is right anymore. Jim and I walked down to Randy and Patty's place and talked a bit while their big mutt Katie nuzzled with me: I seem to attract doggies, but I don't mind: are those for whom self-awareness is but a dream attracted to the one who shuns its burdens? Do they not know something I wish not to know? It is late and my mind is too boggled to continue. Maybe I'll die in my sleep. Maybe Moses will rise from the dead. Maybe winged angels in flaming chariots will lift me up into the heavens. Maybe pigs have wings.

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