Black dog

Odin is taking a walk on his lunch break. He’s skipping lunch today, so he tries to avoid crows as he walks to the tobacco shop to buy lottery tickets, because he doesn’t want to disappoint them, or make them feel rejected, talking on his mobile phone to his wife, mostly about how hard he is to hear when there’s wind, and something about their daughters.
He sees no crows on his way to buy lottery tickets. On the street that goes downhill past a guarded embassy and a school, he begins to think about something he thinks about a lot. He thinks about the phenomenon of misunderstanding one’s situation, of overestimating one’s success or good fortune. He wonders if he overestimates himself, or if he cripples himself by fearing he might be overestimating himself. He wonders if there is a name for this; how this relates to imposter syndrome; and if this misunderstanding of what is going on is limited to him, or rare, or common. On the one hand, Odin supposes not even George Clooney is as suave as George Clooney believes. On the other hand, Odin has to think about the black dog in a photo his parents took of him as a child. In the photo, a grinning Odin is holding up his arms. He thought the dog was dancing with him. What a clever dog!
Odin’s parents thought it was so funny they took a picture instead of shooing away the strange dog that was trying to fuck their child.
Odin thinks about that situation a lot.
Odin always asks himself, what is the black dog now?
Now what is the black dog?
There is a long line at the tobacco shop. They run Odin’s tickets through the machine, nothing. He buys two more for the next drawings and goes back out into the wind.
The black dog is not imposter syndrome. Imposter syndrome is, you think others think you’re better than you really are. The black dog is, you think you’re not as great as you think you are.
Odin can’t decide if it’s better or worse.
On the way back to the office Huginn, the grey one, lands on the grass strip between sidewalk and street and regards Odin.
Sorry, Odin says. Tomorrow. Then he says it in German, just to be sure.
But Huginn follows him for a while.
Odin wonders what sort of structure would make the best hideout.
Any structure where you’re not expected, he figures.
Odin is dizzy from not eating.
Tomorrow, he promises the crow.