a Taj MuttHall Dog Diary: Autumn confidence

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Autumn confidence

SUMMARY: In which something about my true nature is revealed.

Sometimes I practice exuding confidence as I'm walking. Usually it's when I'm by myself, when I'm not likely to encounter anyone else I really know. At the mall. In another city. Walking around an unfamiliar neighborhood. And without the dogs, who are a major distraction from exuding anything except "stop pulling, dangit!"

It's early autumn in California. Leaves are just donning their autumn colors and have barely begun falling, but enough have dropped that, sometimes, when you walk along, they crunch beneath your feet. The air is cool, clear, and crisp, just the sort of air that makes you think that anything is possible.

As I take a stroll, I put my shoulders back, raise my chin slightly. I imagine that I am supremely confident in my ability to handle anything physical or mental that comes my way. I imagine that I am physically stronger and more agile and better trained than anyone I am likely to encounter. I imagine that I am the unbeatable world champion in dog agility, fencing, sprinting, chess, aikido-- I imagine that I am keenly and hypersensitively aware of everything going on around me, before me, behind me, in line of sight in all directions.

This is not just your average supreme confidence. This is confidence at a mythic level. I might look like everyone else walking down the street, but I am so much more. Indeed, I am Bruce Wayne. I am Strider. I am Bourne. I am Corwin.

Hear me, demons and wizards and serpents of sin! I am here, and I am invincible!

And then I realize, as I'm Strider/Bourne/Wayne/Corwinning down the sidewalk, that I am unconsciously--but with great precision and determination--adjusting my stride to step on every crunchy leaf within my path.

Perhaps I'll practice my supreme confidence on a less autumnal day, so that today I can dispatch all those crunchy leaves threatening the very fabric of humanity.

Crunch. Crunch. Crunch.