If I Could Just Have a Word, Teresa Peni

When you went out last night, the minute you left (in your diesel-guzzling, unsustainable 4WD, pulling out of the driveway like it does every morning at 6:50 am–I know because it’s right next to my bedroom window) I noticed your dog, Pepper started barking (and yipping, and talking to herself a fair bit) and continued to do so pretty much the whole three hours you were out (This I also know because I was watching the movie, ‘Room.’ It was a very long and suspenseful movie, and Pepper’s yips punctuated every intense moment Brie Larson and that amazing little boy actor–who didn’t even know dogs were real–tried to escape their shed prison). I actually videoed the barking (in case you were wondering, I have evidence), and I felt a bit (a lot) annoyed that my peace was interrupted. I felt—

—Oh I
—I’ll just
—Sorry about

I felt angry because this is not the first time I’ve complained about your dog barking, and I thought you should know that she barks every time you leave her alone at night (at possums, at the boogie man, at the echo of herself coming back across the creek valley), and I am worried (about her) you are not aware this is happening (how could you? She saves her best barking for the moment you zoom off in your beast of a car), and I am not alone in thinking this is a bit annoying (yep, me and the other neighbours have moaned about it behind your back) and we were thinking (use ‘we,’ I sound more badass) that perhaps Pepper ought to be left inside, or you could take her with you when you go out at night (which you young people seem to do a lot, and as I have no social life to speak of right now, it means I get to stay home and listen to your dog. Maybe I should go out more?)

Oh she’ll rip the—
She’s an outside—

Frankly, I think we need to remember that she’s your dog (and your problem) and that if I went out and left my kids screaming for three hours in the backyard during an evening, you’d probably call the police (which I can’t do… because I’m trying to be reasonable, and because nobody is home at your house to receive the cops) (Hmmm, maybe I should make the kids do that…)

Yeah, well my housemate is normally—
She’s away for the—

(What happened to that nice boyfriend you had when you first moved in? Why did you change your hair from blonde to brunette… don’t women normally dye it blonde after a breakup?) Listen, when you leave your dog at home alone during the evening, outside, and she spends the whole time barking, I feel upset, and I would appreciate it if you did something to alleviate her disturbing the peace. (LET’S NOT EVEN start to discuss the fact that the arrival of your cat has created territorial and self-esteem issues for my cat…)

*names have not been changed to protect the guilty

Author: Teresa Peni

A late blooming writer, Teresa spent her first twenty career years as a freelance photographer, parent and Kombi road tripper. Her writing reflects everyday people engaged in turning over the joys and rot of their inner lives, so they may grow and reap some sort of harvest. She combines being an anthropology and creative writing undergraduate at Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia.

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