“Because, as we all know, it’s easier to do trivial things that are urgent than it is to do important things that are not urgent, like thinking. And it’s also easier to do little things we know we can do than to start on big things that we’re not so sure about.” ~ John Cleese
“Great dreamers’ dreams are never fulfilled, they are always transcended.” ~ Alfred North Whitehead
Softness seems to be the feel of the day. How can something ‘seem to feel’? Let’s just call it an indictment against doubts. Doubts are like the guy who zooms by you in a no passing zone then makes a right hand turn just two blocks down. Let that one sink in, no hurry. I know that there are proactive doubts as well. Prudence and all that happy stuff. On a practical level. But I’ve got creativity and mental illness on my mind and they ain’t likely to take leave before bedtimes comes. That’s cool. Whatever. Speaking of bedtime I awoke to find Rosie the cat laying alongside me this morning. This is very unusual, unless she does it while I am off dreaming somewhere, and I don’t know about it, and wouldn’t that be just like a friggin cat to do something so sneaky. I know she’s got my back on a psychic, astral level. You just never know when some bruja, or chaos magician, a Republican pollster or a . . . no wait, that sentence was well on the way to becoming unruly, and I was simply trying to portray the way in which my kitty cat protects me from the pigments (sic) of my imagination. These dark shadow phenomena are not imaginary, they are imaginal. There is a lot of difference between the two. And I am gonna leave this meandering train of thought parked in obscurity, as I move on. Now, I awoke with no noticeable anxiety this morning. This is very rare. And I didn’t even snap until just a short while ago when I was sitting out on the deck and I heard what sounded like a muffled shriek from a small mammal; definitely not a cat, I thought. Not 30 seconds later here comes the neighbor’s cat, wandering along the garden path, nonchalantly as they do, sauntering through the shadows. I hissed. The cat turned to look at me. I hissed again, louder. The cat moved on. It was not long before I heard the non-cat sound again. This whole episode stirred me up on a primal brainstem level. That’s when the visceral anxiety kicked in, and I was instantly reminded that adrenaline rushes can trigger the anxiety for me. Long after the adrenaline is gone from my system the anxiety remains. Sometimes for days. Geez, who am I kidding. It most often goes on for days, weeks, months, whatever. That’s why they call it a disorder. Duh. Furthermore, this whole episode brought Tessie to mind, and I then remembered that it is approaching the second anniversary of the day that Tessie chomped down on my right index fingertip. It happened one month, almost to the day, after I began working at the animal shelter. I had started working with dogs, but my goal was to work with the cats exclusively, so I was cross-training that day, working with Amber, who would go on to become one of the – maybe a dozen by now – platonic loves of my life. Anyway, that aside, she and I were cleaning up cat poop and shredded newspaper and stuff. I was on one side of the cattery and she was across the room. Then, suddenly, a scream rang out. Pardon me for the trite expression here but the whole scene was mucho dramatic, k? “A cat got loose!”, Amber yelled. I was off like a shot, going to assist in apprehending the errant cat. I got over to where Amber and I ended up face to face, and I asked where the cat went. But I found out as the cat came zooming beside my left ankle. Instinct gave me a foolish action, but it was all I had. I reflexively reached down to grab Tessie as she rocketed past my foot, a silver gray missile, as fast, at least, and Wiley Coyote. And I got her, back around the rear end of her rib cage. I ratcheted up the pressure and she became almost compliant for a moment. Protocol says to get the animal by the scruff, to achieve control over the animal. I’m mostly a rule-abiding guy, so I went for it, released my already controlling grip aiming to achieve an even better controlling grip. As my right hand moved toward her shoulders her head whipped around to the right, at which point Tessie sunk both fangs into my fingertip, right down to the bone. Oops. What had felt dreamlike became real in an instant. I dropped the cat and began to yell “God damn it” over and over, as I rushed to the utility sink to run the insulted finger under cold water, wherein I fell into a meditation as I watched my blood run down the drain. Amber was yelling as well.
That day I was fully initiated into the animal caregiver biz. Perhaps I should have seen that incident as an omen for the sad ending I would find at the shelter, but I am glad I didn’t. Tessie and I made up within two months. It had been a point of intimacy. It had been the most intense pain of my whole life; we’re talking broken bones, rheumatic fever, and facial impaction head trauma. And through it all, and on into the future, there was an undercurrent of deep and natural love, which remains to this day.
After that long stream of consciousness paragraph I had better got on to prep for the day. Stream of consciousness? I love it when I start the day in a conscious state! It’s like Tessie: she woke me up in an instant, and I love her for it. She went on to be adopted, but only after I initiated a push to get the old-timers out and into good homes, which was quickly accomplished through the efforts of the crew that I didn’t feel too good about. That was all politics, however. The bite, and the adoption push – that was all about love and freedom.
Peace out, y’all. Goof gloriously.