I don't think my experiment about compassion would be complete without taking on one of the biggest annoyances EVER, those damn barking dogs (listen). I used to be annoyed by the scary black cat that came around and left fur all over our patio furniture. We even named her Apocalypse because bad stuff seemed to happen when she was around. But then I started feeling sorry for her and one day I decided to see if she was pettable and it turns out that she is the sweetest cat. She is more affectionate than my own cat. I made a sleeping area for her she comes over every day to play with Suki through the window. Compassion won that round (well, I am not compassionate at all toward her owner).
The barking dogs are different. They bark all day and all night and if we are outside in our own back yard, they jump on the fence to attack us. If we are in rooms in our own house and they can see us from their yard (even with a fence between us), they bark and jump on the fence. They are non-stop LOUD barkers. Their owners just put them outside while they are at work and that's that. Other neighbors have complained and even filed complaints with whoever you file complaints with. Nothing has happened. Our neighbors seem like decent people, aside from pretending not to notice that nobody on their street can sleep. Letting your dogs disturb the peace is disrespectful, yo! This is a huge problem, I am annoyed all the time. I can't hear anything but those damn dogs barking.
Normally, I yell at the dogs to be quiet. It does nothing but it makes me feel better. When I go to take the garbage out, I have to wear running shoes and sprint to our own garbage cans in fear of being attacked by the biggest dog who has jumped on the fence so many times the fence is loose. It's bad, bad, bad.
Last weekend we were in our back yard trying to have a peaceful break from life. I was planting fresh herbs and my husband was walking our kitty (jokes allowed). The dogs were going crazy barking and jumping on the fence. It was not peaceful at all and our poor cat got scared! Oh man, I was pissed. Here was a good chance for me to choose anger or compassion, just like with Apocalypse. I chose Extremely Annoyed Compassion and walked over to the fence where the dogs were going crazy barking, frothing, and jumping. I very loudly said to the DOGS:
I am sorry you have shitty parents who neglect you and leave you alone all the time. That sucks. Please stop barking all day and night. I have reached my limit. I hear you. I hear your misery all day and all night. You can stop now. Please stop your fucking god damn 12-hour-a-day barking.
They kept barking and jumping.
Then I heard the neighbor (who I didn't see and assumed was not home) say, "Ollie, stop barking." They kept barking and she left for work, with the dogs still outside. And, they have barked ever since.
Also, after our neighbor told the dogs to stop barking after I tried to be compassionate, my husband silently plotzed and wished he could've been anywhere but where he was at that moment (at least that was the look on his face). I also sensed a fuck off tone in my neighbor's "Ollie, stop barking" but the thing is, I haven't slept in a year. And, I am not the one with the two bad dogs. Our cat meows a lot and we know it and we keep her away from sleeping people. Still, I know my Extremely Annoyed Compassionate talk with the dogs that the neighbor overheard will somehow come back to bite me even though it's not wrong to be mad that dogs bark all night. Am I supposed to feel guilty that she heard me call her a shitty parent for neglecting her dogs? She doesn't seem to feel guilty knowing houses full of people on her street can't sleep and one of those houses is full of special needs kids. Maybe she feels really bad that her dogs bark all the time and she has no idea what to do about it. That would be a bad position to be in. Not so awful that you couldn't google a solution. How could the dogs be happy barking 12 hours a day? From where I am sitting right now at my desk, they do not look happy barking. Still, I know I sounded like an unstable person the way I was talking to the dogs but I was doing an experiment and seriously, I do swear a lot. There's no point in doing an experiment and not being yourself in that experiment. In fact, I thought the whole scenario was so funny that I could barely not laugh hysterically. So in a way, it kind of did make me feel better for about 2 minutes.
I really feel sorry for the dogs but unless compassion comes in a 10mg sleeping pill and a pair of ear plugs, Annoyance wins this round.
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