Where desire and action meet
Your best life happens
breathe deeply the sanguine summer air
and close your eyes as you feel the heat
of the sun
on your skin,
gently masticated by your own light and beauty.
In honor of International Hug Your Cat Day, I’d like to wax poetic a bit about the fur kids with whom I share my life.
Mini Biggles is a 13-year-old red tabby who I met as a one-month-old little kitten. He fit in the palm of my hand and, upon first holding him, he crawled up under my hair and nestled in at the nape of my neck. I’ve been smitten with that kitten ever since.
Through the years, we’ve moved a couple times and we had to say goodbye to Mini’s big brother, Biggles. Mini was so lonely. I’d hear him meowing from behind the door as soon as I got home from work and he would proceed to follow me around like a puppy.
That’s when I found Teddy. Another red boy, he was already a year old when I saw him sitting ever-so-quietly in a cage at a shelter. I pulled him out and held him and he seemed right at home in my arms.
Mini and Teddy became fast friends…once Mini established his alpha male status, which took about 10 minutes.
The three of us have now lived together for six years. The amount of fur they shed is astronomical. I’ve got weapons such as a vacuum, lint roller, brush, packing tape, and Static Guard in my arsenal, but I just can’t keep up. I’ve accepted the omnipresence of cat hair. There’s just no escaping it.
I’ve accepted the fact that the second I finish cleaning their litter box, one of them will immediately go in there and stake their claim by taking a huge, stinky cat dump.
I’ve accepted that at least one of them will puke on a daily basis. I just do my best to keep it off my bed and my shoes. Everywhere else is fair game. Although it does amaze me that if they’re on the line of the floor and the carpet, they’ll always hit the carpet.
I’ve accepted that it’s my job to pick out eye boogies. It’s my job to clean dirty butt holes. It’s my job to wipe Mini’s nose when he sneezes and great amounts of chartreuse snot shoots out of his tiny, little nostrils.
I refrain from throwing Teddy off the bed when he meows in my face at 6 a.m., which, by the way, is a solid 90 minutes before I actually have to wake up. I try not to yell at either of them when they knead me with their sharp claws or climb on my laptop while I’m trying to use it. I spray water at Mini when he scratches at my closet door in the middle of the night, but I always follow it with an apology.
I don’t mind any of these things because…well, I DO mind them, but the bottom line is…they love me unconditionally. They’re always happy to see me when I get home. They greet me with meows and head rubs against my leg. They jump into my lap and settle down for a night of purring and petting when I’m lonely. They’re excited to see my eyes open when I finally wake up in the morning. We have routines. They’re predictable. They're also unpredictable. They make me laugh. They make my smile. They make me happy.
I love them and they love me and I can’t think of anything better than that. They might struggle against it, but I’m going to hug the heck out of them today.
Jeffrey was afraid of losing sleep. He knew that he would feel wrecked in the morning, cranky with his coworkers, probably look like a zombie. He was committed to getting a solid 8 hours, especially so early in the week and with a Friday deadline looming over his head. The laundry was done, he fed himself paltry leftovers, and felt ceremoniously satisfied as he began to undress.
His phone buzzed. The nightstand vibrated and blinked and Jeffrey was a little perplexed. Oh shit, was his first thought, it's work. As a newer member of the design firm and probably 6 years shy of becoming a junior partner, Jeffrey was never willing to disappoint. He didn't have much else going on. No girlfriend, no hobbies, not even a cat. Except for the occasional off-Broadway show and a five time a week running habit, Jeffrey was totally devoted to work, and his bosses knew it.
He slung his shirt over the headboard and approached the bedside table with his pants unbuttoned. It was a shame, really, that he didn't share that body with anybody. He picked up the phone and read a message in the glowy haze:
I need you. Meet me at our bridge in 30.
It was must have been a wrong number. No name was attached to it, but more noticeably, Jeffrey knew nobody who needed him, and no one with whom he shared a bridge. He wrote back:
Sorry, wrong number. I hope you find who you're looking for!
The exclamation point at the end felt gratifying to Jeffrey. He was very polite. Surely the person on the other end would understand that they had simply mistyped the number. Before he could even pull his pants down:
This is exactly the right number. Bridge at 5th and Davis. Don't let me down.
Whoever the mystery texter might have been, they understood Jeffrey's ingrained sense of responsibility. As a resident assistant in college, he often found himself cleaning vomit from the hallways before reporting students for drunken behavior. He thought he was being diplomatic and fair by giving a little to both sides, but in truth, nobody felt like he could ever just hang. He played the bouncer at his little sister's birthday party, and only after she cried for 20 minutes because she thought that her best friend didn't show up did he tell her that he sent Stephanie home and asked her not to return until her gift was wrapped properly. Sloppiness was not an option, not even for five year old little girls. So without much more deliberation, Jeffrey buttoned his pants and threw a clean t-shirt on. He thought that he might still get 7 hours of sleep.
He arrived at the bridge with two minutes to spare, checking his phone rather obsessively for an update. He was feeling a little foolish and confused when he finally heard the sound of expensive leather boots on the sidewalk. In the shadows of the underpass, Jeffrey could make out the distinct voluptuousness of Marsha, the sister of a senior partner at his firm. With her hands in her coat pocket and a fedora over her eyes, Marsha walked by Jeffrey and quickly handed him an envelope. He tried to speak and her hand shot up in the air in an abrupt attempt to stop him. She kissed him on the cheek, her open lips lingering just a little.
Marsha walked away as quickly as she approached and Jeffrey stood in the darkness, surrounded by puddles. He opened the envelope. In it was a one way plane ticket to Rome. No note or explanation. Jeffrey was completely confused, almost paralyzingly so. He remembered Marsha's flirtatious behavior at the office Christmas party a few months ago, but other than that, there were not even any pieces to put together. Why was Marsha so secretive with her texts? Why was this bridge a special place? Why did she just give him an expensive plane ticket that left in fewer than 12 hours? What would he do about work? Was she maybe, just maybe, in love with him?
Completely flummoxed, Jeffrey began the chilly walk home. He looked forward to taking his pants off, and felt resolutely comfortable knowing that he might not get any sleep tonight.
Whenever I visit my mom, I drive through the rural Amish countryside of Lancaster and I’ve always been completely flummoxed by this sign: End Brake Retarder Prohibition.
Um, what? I’ve tried to work out this quadruple negative in my head and it goes something like this.
First of all, what is a brake retarder? I understand that brakes stop a vehicle and a retarder would slow something down, but if a retarder is slowing down my brakes, doesn’t that mean I’m speeding up? And if a brake retarder is prohibited, that means I shouldn’t allow this mystery retarder to slow down my brakes, right? But then I’m told to end…what, exactly? The prohibition of the brake retarder? Well, doesn’t that mean we’re just back to regular brakes working the way brakes do? And if that’s the case, shouldn’t the sign just say, “Use your regular brakes”?