Out of the gate and into the wild

Out Of The Gate And Into The Wild

I’ve been indulging in my usual Saturday morning routine – sitting in my pajamas with coffee, idly paging through social media until the brain shows signs of life. Facebook’s “On This Day” feature this morning offered me a video by recording artist LP, whose incredibly unique voice isn’t even halfway showcased here (you should try a song called Tokyo Sunrise if you want to hear what she can really do!)

LP – Into The Wild

A few minutes later, the interwebs offered up this gem:

Left the gate open

Of course, the two connected are screaming, “Memo!”

I actually think this is a foolish sentiment, as a routine life strategy. One should not always be bolting willy-nilly through every open gate one sees.

Who bolts through open gates? People who are looking for a way out. People who are some combination of bored, scared, trapped, desperate, and/or yearning for freedom. People who are convinced that what lies ahead HAS to be better than whatever they’re leaving behind. People who want to run.

I decided to google the song lyrics for insight. The pertinent, most recognizable lyrics to the LP song are:

Somebody left the gate open
You know we got lost on the way
Come save us a runaway train
Goin’ insane….

Oh please believe me I’m more scared than not
That oh now this isn’t the way

So here we have another category of bolter – astray, scared, and with full, after-the-fact awareness that bolting wasn’t the best idea they ever had. This was not a well-thought-out bolting, but an irrational, reckless rush into madness.

When we were growing up, our family included a dog named Rusty, who would bolt at every opportunity. Gates, doors, however he could manage it, Rusty would lead us on a merry chase through the neighborhood until his inevitable recapture. That is, until the time I found him in a doorway, reached for his collar – and he snarled and snapped at me. Here I am, worried for his safety (hey, we lived at the intersection of Jamaica Avenue and Francis Lewis Blvd. in Queens!), and this is the thanks I get for chasing him down. Fine. Be that way. And I went home in a huff, leaving him to figure it out on his own against the perils of the city.

I have no idea why some dogs are bolters, and some are just plain disinterested in the open gate. He wasn’t abused or ignored or anything like that, and always had a big yard to run around in. Some dogs are calm, placidly content. Rusty was a more energetic, more interested in what lies beyond the gates, I guess.

On the surface, the placid pooch seems smarter, more dignified, more mature, steadier and more reliable than the bolter. However, his worldview is more limited than Rusty’s. The placid pooch never gets to sniff and explore and learn quite as much as the one who wants to know what’s outside the gate.

There’s got to be some happy medium between the sameness of contentment, and the terrifying plunge into the abyss.