5 December, 2006, 638 am
Filed under: Music, School

Laika is a name that you take for granted. “Our mother should have just named you Laika.” What the fuck is that supposed to mean? I thought Laika was a pretty name, but irrelevant, unless there was actually someone named Laika who Alex was being compared to. I didn’t look into it, though, until this weekend. What I found made my heart feel kind of empty.

1957 was her year. She was actually a stray dog in Russia for a time, until she was taken in I guess by scientists and trained. She was real cute. “Barker”–that’s what Laika means, but I read that it’s like a generalization for a certain type of dog. Even if they were training her, it doesn’t sound so bad. In fact, in the beginning, she sounds like a success story–a lonely, mangy mutt looking for food scraps taken in and civilized by scientists. Cute. At least they’re not injecting her with poison and conducting viscious experiments on her. Not yet.

There were initially three dogs trained and tested out. For what? Space travel. This sounds inspiring, right? Like Laika’s a hero–the first dog; the first animal from Earth in space. Well, she is a hero, but…maybe a tragic hero. They put her in Sputnik II about three days before launch, I’d suppose to get used to her surroundings. There was water and food for her, and she even had a harness to keep her steady. It sounds like poor dog turned into megastar hero dog, right? They sent her up into space, and she died four hours later–from stress and from overheating.

Now, most of you are probably like, “Oh, that’s sad, a dog died in space.” But if that’s the case, then you’re not looking into it deep enough. Poor Laika was taken off the streets basically to die. She was sent into space to die. Upon leaving the atmosphere, she got stressed out–nothing was familiar, and suppose she realized she’d never go back? She was lonely and devoid of a family already, but this was just taking advantage of that…they exploited her, and she died more alone than she would have as a stray.

I’m now obsessed with Laika.

Laika, forreal.

And the song by the Arcade Fire, too. AKA Neighbourhood #2.

I’ve discovered that Marty, E-Dawg, and I are each different bands. More me and E-Dawg, because we listen to more indie, whereas Marty could listen to almost anything. E-Dawg is Rilo Kiley personified. She dresses Rilo Kiley, and she lives and breathes Rilo Kiley, whether she’ll admit it or not. Not that she doesn’t like other bands. That’s just the aura she radiates. I also love Rilo Kiley, but I feel that I am an Arcade Fire type of person. Funeral is my life, in tracks, and I never get sick of it. E-Dawg dresses feminine but herself, whereas I dress conservative but myself. I don’t know. You can tell when we wear our favourite dresses. I think, “OMGZ Jenny Lewis with dark hair!” when I see her, and “OMGZ I wish I was Regine!” when I look in the mirror. It’s weird. I can only pick that out with my favourite bands.

I found a Conor Oberst-like character, too, but I won’t admit who it is. I don’t even think he likes Bright Eyes, and I don’t want to ruin the character I’ve built around him. I know that’s horrible of me. I don’t like Math Analysis.

By the way, that chem writing project I thought I’d failed? My teacher liked it, a lot. I was worried. See, I liked it, too, but I didn’t think there was enough chemistry in it. I might continue writing it. I don’t know. There’s more to it, but I don’t want it to be lame like all my other short (or long) stories. But for some reason, I’ve matured considerably since I last wrote a serious, completely fictional story, and I don’t know…this one clicked right into place. We’ll see.

I can honestly say, now, that I do regret something in my past, consciously, that I’ve taken advantage of for about a year now. I took it for granted that someone would always be there just hanging on, but it wasn’t right of me. I abused my rights as a friend, and I was unnecessarily blunt. I don’t know how I’m going to turn that around, now that I’m realizing how real everything is now, whether it was before or not. I don’t feel the small buzz of happiness that I normally get when I feel temporarily needed or wanted or loved…the one surrounded on both sides by an all-consuming nausea, like I did something wrong or illegal to achieve that minute high. I feel euphoric, like I’ll always be happy as long as I have this feeling, like it could never rub off…and I know I’m wanted and needed and loved, but most of all, I reciprocate. Or I try to. But all my emotions normally come out mixed or stifled. And when I’m not in the center of that feeling, all I have to do is think about it, and I feel brighter, like I had it once, and maybe it will come back. There are miserable moments when I haven’t felt it for a while, or when the guilt consumes me, but it’s a feeling that’s like dancing in the rain, I guess, or the breakdowns in really great shows and movies. The whole feeling is like a soundtrack to a Zach Braff movie. Tasty.


3 Comments so far
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great post about laika. i remember when i was a kid learning about sputnik and the dog(s) (I think there were more than one that went up, but I would have to look it up to be sure). Of course naive little me assumed they came back down, safe and happy. i was so upset when i learned i was wrong. I grilled my mom about how they fed and watered the dog, how they could be so mean to not save him, why they didn’t make sure they could bring him (i thought it was a him at the time) back before they sent him up.

Anyway. Your post brought it all back, in a sort of good way. It would be awful to forget, after all, no matter how sad it is to think about.

oh, and i love rilo kiley too.

Comment by Deb

Neighborhood #4 is 7 kettles, not Laïka.

Comment by Carlos

Shit, typo, I meant Neighbourhood #2. God, rambling lends me a lot of typos. I do like Neighbourhood #4, too, though, a fucking lot. Hah, thanks for catching that.

Comment by leindiemeister

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