I do these writing prompt deals from time to time. They help stimulate a little creativity and get the tappers on the keyboard. This one came from Medium. The prompt was “What Prepares You for the Day“.
For the uninitiated, Medium is a writing platform created by Ev Williams, one of the creators of Twitter. Ironically, where Twitter only allows 140 characters to communicate, Medium has no limit.
Ripping the title from the Brad song “The Day Brings” off their album Interiors I tuned into my favorite, and most consistent, muse, Rufus. Rufus Thuderlove. For the uninitiated, Brad is an offshoot Pearl Jam band started by PJ guitarist Stone Gossard.
I’ve pasted what I wrote below, but if you wanna see it in its Medium glory, click here.
I’ve got a dog.
A rescue dog.
An anxiety riddled, hyper, sweet, kind and funny pit bull rescue I named Rufus. Rufus Thunderlove.
Considering I live in one of the most densely populated cities, NYC, specifically Brooklyn. Even more specifically, the ever gentrifying Williamsburg which means walking Rufus can pose certain challenges during most of our walks. While not aggressive, he is rather anxious so we tend to avoid people and other dogs.
One might think that after 3.5 years in the same place, walking the same nabe, the same streets, he might have become accustomed to our pattern. He’s not. Or maybe he is and he just views each walk as a new adventure. We’ll go with the latter.
Rufus is still pretty nervous out there on the mean streets of Williamsburg. There are simply too many things to smell and mark. And lately, too many people. But that is the way with these things. Landmarks go down, luxury buildings go up. Artists move out, finance people move in. It sucks, but it happens.
My preparation for the day begins with the 6a.m. wake up tongue lashing from Rufus. While Rufus is cut, not an ounce of fat on him, I am convinced his tongue is his strongest muscle. I’m also convinced the dog has his own alarm clock because without fail, the same time every morning, he is up and ready to go. Being a dog and all, he’s pretty much immune to reason. I’ve tried.
So, we bundle up and take the elevator down the eight flights and begin his odyssey and my trek. At 6a.m. the neighborhood is still. There is no construction. There are no cars. There are no baby carriages. It’s pretty much me and Rufus plodding around sniffing and peeing on things. To be clear, he does most of the sniffing and peeing.
We walk around and take note of buildings in various states of construction. We look at the few remaining vacant lots and try not to imagine the building that will soon fill it. I try to explain to Rufus that the buildings going up are supposed to be a good thing. They create jobs, stimulate the local economy (what remains) and will have some affordable housing (but not nearly enough). I’m pretty sure I do this mostly for me because he just keeps walking, sniffing and peeing.
Occasionally, we will run across some other poor sap who has either a morning dog or morning job. Sometimes Rufus will make eyes at them, but mostly he just looks away as if to say “OK, you too are a morning dog. We are of the same pack. I will leave you be friend.”
The silence of Williamsburg that early is good for him and for me. Even despite the rampant gentrification, it is at that hour you can still feel a small sense of community.
It’s the same garbage people whipping around the ‘hood who now honk at us.
It’s the two guys standing outside the Kosher sausage place smoking who nod as we walk by.
It’s the guy cleaning the bar mats at the beer hall and the other guy cleaning the bar mats at the country and western bar who stop to let us pass and give the three finger wave from the nozzle.
It’s the only time I still can call Williamsburg a neighborhood.
As the sun either begins breaking through or it starts getting lighter (that depends on the weather) we begin heading home for the coffee I queued up before we left and for him to have his breakfast (the single most important meal of the day). By now he’s finished all his dog business and I’ve had enough time to shake the cobwebs out of my skull.