She sat against the arm of the couch, and picked at the cut edge of her jersey dress. She always cut her clothes like that, so that the jagged edges curled up and hems hung limp and unfinished.
"I don't know, I'm just exhausted," she said, her eyes looking across the room and twitching, like she was trying to find something to focus on. "I feel like the whole weight of inevitability is on me, but I can't figure out what it is that's inevitable."
"You know, people feel that way when they're depressed," he said from the other couch.
"I'm not depressed though. I don't feel depressed, and I mean, I've been depressed. I'm excited to see people tomorrow, and I'm excited about the show, and I had a pretty good weekend. But I just feel so tired of trying to think about how we feel about this, about anything. I remember I felt this way when I decided I was an atheist. Like, I was just tired of listening to people talk about God, like it mattered one way or the other, and I just gave up caring. That's how I feel right now about something very specific, I just can't tell what."
"There was a special I watched the other night, and it was about the breeding of dogs, how the Victorians with their easy money spent all this time refining dogs into more and more different kinds of dogs, and how that era was the turning point for how we saw dogs. Like before, they were work dogs, and that was it, dogs worked with us. Then all of a sudden they were status symbols and people no longer cared about them being strong and athletic, but instead wanted weird mutated unique looking pretty dogs. So now dogs and humans are in a kind of crisis, where we need to figure out the role they play in our society, toys or partners. And then they talked about how scientists were training dogs to smell out cancer, like bladder cancer in urine, and the smell of biological stress that your body puts out when it's sick. They talked about this kid who had diabetic seizures, and his parents had trained this german shepherd to come and get them wake them up whatever any time she smelled this kid's blood sugar getting too low. It was amazing." He snubbed out his cigarette and she hugged the couch pillow a little tighter.
"So that's what I need huh? A service dog to smell out what's wrong with me. Like, a dog that can smell where the poison is, in what cell of my body its starting, in what little strand of genetic jewels is the black fog coming from? Or get me a glass of wine when it smells the level of zeitgeist getting too heavy. Or message someone to take me somewhere great when I need my quasi intellectual cataracts cut out of my eyes."
He just kept going. "Well, so then I thought about how we call them government watchdog groups, but why watchdogs? Watchdogs are only trained to bark and be scary and a little crazy and way overprotective. Watchdogs are blunt instruments. They should want to be service dog groups."
"See, there's the problem. I want to care about your funny political thoughts, but I care way more about dogs sniffing out cancer. And maybe that's just because science is a fact, and it's usually amazing and distracting and having nothing as immediate as politics to do with my life. But everything is so insane, all the time, it's just people talking and snarking and arguing in circles, and I'm old and all I want to do is make out and have fun and make stuff people like, and not think about things that only make it clear how fucking crazy people are. But you can't escape the crazy. Even if you think you can just hang out with your friends and lovers and have fun, they're crazy too. So at some point I just want to embrace it and only be entertained by it so I don't get crushed to death by it, and I feel like maybe that's what happened with the Romans. Any layer of rich middle class. You've got just enough money to be aware and bored enough to be interested and not exhausted by manual labor all day so you find time to look around, and suddenly you realize our brains just don't work. That they never worked. That they weren't just programmed to be lap dogs, but are supposed to run and bite. "