An unwitting participant in a dog-training regimen this morning,

there I was, my nose to the pavement and going about my daily,

when a stranger and her cocker spaniel decided to make me a

bipedal version of a rambunctious doggie playdate. They stood

still in the middle of the street, waiting for me to approach without

giving away their attention. The owner repeated her command for

the poor dog to stay as I passed, and as I passed, I ordered myself

not to make any eye contact. That’s unbelievable to me, how

in the time it took to round the corner I went from being a human

humbly limping to work, to a dog with a desire for sniffing butts

and running circles around others. And I’d take offense if I thought

it would make me reclaim a sense of the humanity I’ve lost.

But cynical poet that I am, I don’t have much faith in me

transcending my baser, more animal nature anymore. Because in the

15 minutes it took to walk to work I became a fairly simple canine

consciousness that only wanted to love, eat, poop and play, that

only wanted the world to be reduced to a blur of color and sex,

inside that commotion of impulse, a tiny picture of a once upon a time

educational assistant keeping guard over a special needs student

taking what, but a standardized test.