Friday, October 4, 2013

If I Were a Cat....

Remember that great song by Beyonce called "If I Were a Boy?"
Yep, it's a perfect song to belt out when alone in the car but that's as far as it goes. 

I don't want to be a boy. Not ever. Even though you guys can avoid port-o-potties and just slip off into the bushes, I prefer being a girl....although being a cat (in a loving home, of course) is also an appealing option.

But what if I, "Susan says..., " just behave as if I'm a cat.

Let's explore it....

Imagine if, when annoyed, I sneak into the hall bathroom and pee in the corner. And, if you happen to come in and turn on the light while I'm doing it, I freeze, look up at you with big eyes and run -- in a crouch -- right past you, grazing your ankles as I flee.

What would you think?

What if, after your shower, I wait for you to put the bath mat down and, if you leave the bathroom for a nano-second -- perhaps to check the caller ID if the phone should ring -- I silently dash in and quickly pee up the mat. Don't blame me. As far as I'm concerned, that's what fluffy bath mats are for.

How would you feel about that? If I were a cat, I wold not feel bad about it at all.

Sneaky peeing is fun. I know it's naughty. Based on my stealth and speed, you know that I know it's naughty. But I DON'T CARE. You can scold me until you're blue in the face but if you leave the mat on the floor again, I'm going to dash in and pee on it.

Every single time.

Or, suppose, I decide, for no apparent reason, to poop in the shower. Right in the shower. And, as a flourish, when finished, I scrape and bang on the sliding glass door as if directed by some mysterious instinctive impulse until I arbitrarily decide to stop. And then what if, immediately afterward, I go to sleep on your pillow?

You might care but I sure won't.
And, when you run into the room and yell, "There's poop in the shower!!! "Who did it??" I will open one sleep eye and smugly think to myself, "It was me."

I'll sleep on the ottoman in the living room for 14 hours straight and then, exhausted, move to the patch of sunshine on the dining room floor to sleep some more. 

I'll be happy just stretching and yawning and not giving one good goddam about anything but from whence cometh my next handful of treats. I will not cook dinner, do laundry or care how "Breaking Bad" ended but I will try to run directly through the window screen if I see a squirrel.

What if, when you give me treats, I jump up on the table and eat them with no hands? And, if you seek a little appreciation for your generosity, I leap down and puke them right up on the floor because I've eaten too fast?

In fact, why bother jumping down to the floor, why don't I just throw up all over today's newspaper or on the book you're reading?

Then, if you get hungry and prepares a nice bowl of cereal and milk, what if I sit in front of you on the table and stare like a vulture as you eat? How about if I butt your hand with my head so that what's in your spoon splashes on the table and then I quickly lap up the milk?

I might beg to lick out the cereal bowl when you're done but, when you put it on the floor for me, I sniff it and walk away....with attitude.

What then?

Or, if you're eating a ham sandwich, how about if I stare at you balefully until you pull out a piece of ham and toss it on the floor for me. First, I will pretend that I don't see it until you show me about fifteen times and then I grab it in my teeth and take it into a corner where I eat it and growl simultaneously in case one of the other cats even dreams of snatching  it away. And, I do all this while looking up at you suspiciously from under my bangs.

And then, of course, I vomit.

In fact, I vomit wherever I want...the new couch, the carpet, the sink. I especially like to vomit on tile because I like it when you curse as you scrub the grout.

Do I care? Nope.

I damn well know that someone will scritch-scratch under my chin, pet me, groom me, entertain me with the laser pointer or the crinkly toy frog (or the feather on the stick or the mousie on the spring or...) and buy me endless little jingly balls no matter how naughty I am. Someone will crochet me little blankies, save boxes for me to sleep in and buy me cute fleecey mats upon which to enjoy my naps.

But, for conversation's sake, how about if I gallop around the house for no apparent reason between 3 and 4 am or run past you as fast as I can while you're walking down the stairs with the laundry basket or force my way onto the laps of visitors who are either afraid of me or allergic to me? 

Maybe later I will howl in a deep scary voice until you get up to see if I'm okay but then I scratch (or bite) your ankle and run to the opposite corner of the house where I will howl some more.

What the hell do I care?

But, on the other hand, when I am feeling happy and safe (which, thanks to you, is most of the time), I will shower you with affection, get on your lap to keep you cozy or bash you in the face, shoulder or knee with my face which means "I love you." I will sense when you're not feeling well and want to comfort you and if you let me out, I might return with the neighbor's toupee as a present for you. I would leave it on the doorstep and hiss at the neighbor when he comes to retrieve it.

Yes, I may drive you crazy at times but my presence alone will lower your blood pressure, ease your anxiety, cheer you up, keep you from feeling lonely, be a dependable, affectionate companion in an otherwise harsh world and, since I cannot purr, soothe us both by singing along with the Josh Groban CD I clicked on purpose by accident from Amazon.

I will also try my best to kill you if you try to stuff me into a carrier and take me for a ride because last time you swore we were going to an Al Green concert and, instead, you took me to the gynecologist.

I may be taking all this too seriously because I suddenly feel like hocking up a hairball. Oh, good---there's your new sweater....

My wonderful Buzzy.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

The Lie

Yesterday, I threw Seth under the bus at Trader Joe's.

After having been laid up for a few days with a knee injury, the cupboards at home were bare. So, off I went, reusable bags and all, to my favorite store.

The parking lot was bustling and I paused to enjoy their autumnal arrangement of bright pumpkins and the yellows, russets and reds of the mums, displayed and ablaze beneath the warm October sun. I was was very happy to be out.

Limping a bit, I loaded up on greens, choosing peppers, grabbing a bag of nuts, inspecting some bananas, apples and my favorite, clementines. We needed yogurt, cheese, a box of raisin bran, a nice bread. My cart was full.

Once at the register, however, as the Hawaiian-shirt clad checker was sliding my groceries over the scanner, I reached for my debit card and, to my horror, discovered there was nothing in my wallet. Not one card, not one dollar, not one coin. Not even a piece of lint or an M&M. 
I immediately flashed back to a youthful trauma. I was a little kid sent to buy a carton of milk around the corner. I don't know what my mama may have been smokin' but she hadn't given me enough money for the purchase. 
The Archduke himself.

I recall the cashier looking at me as if I had just shot Archduke Franz Ferdinand and started a world war (this was a long time ago---my analogies must reflect that).

There were people behind me, I was around 7 years old (can you imagine sending a 7 year old farther than the bathroom alone in today's world????) and still childishly meek. The world, and cashiers, were still very big and I hadn't yet developed THE MOUTH I now employ to deflect attack.

The cashier, who appeared to be enjoying my discomfort, immediately roared out to, as far as I could see, no one in particular, "SHE DOESN'T HAVE ENOUGH MONEY! WE NEED A MANAGER AT THE REGISTER!"

I was humiliated.

He might as well have bellowed, "This tiny asshole is short five cents! She obviously comes from a bunch of morons who have no idea what a quart of milk should cost and is not worthy of remaining alive. I spit on her, her ancestors and her progeny and deem her entire bloodline unfit to live!" That, in essence,  is what I perceived and, literally, have never recovered from the experience. 

I still get nervous when it's time to pay and check and recheck that I have enough money for my purchase.

I also made sure that my mother gave me a little extra when I ran errands for her in the future. That was not going to happen again. I got the same old feeling at Trader Joe's when I looked into my wallet. I was three feet tall money for milk. I felt nauseous.

They could not have been nicer. Whether or not it was true, the manager (who was summoned discreetly for the dreaded procedure) assured me that it happens to lots of people. I told them I would hurry home and get my money and they smiled as they put everything back into the cart and headed off to the cooler where all my stuff "would stay fresh" until my return.
They're so nice there. Plus,
there are balloons.

When I got back, the friendly check-out hipster asked me with a smile, "Okay, who are you planning on blaming for this?"

Now, it was totally my fault. Occasionally don't we all go through our wallets to toss old receipts and frayed slips of paper,rearrange our cards, line up our cash so the presidents face in the same direction and put all but a few coins into the change jar?

I had done that the day before and got distracted, leaving everything in a pile on the desk.

But, instead of laughing off my own stupidity, I felt my mouth go dry as a dessert while my palms begin to sweat. Before I cold stop myself, I replied, "It was my husband!" And, as if that total lie wasn't enough, I embellished: "Yes, that's it!! He was looking for something in my wallet and he took everything out and DIDN"T PUT IT BACK!!!!!!!!!!!"
Women around me heard this and all happily went into their default "Men are idiots" routine as the news of my husband's fictional stupidity traveled like wildfire down the check-out line, through the store, out the door, to the mall, across the highway, to the state capitol and beyond. It was on the evening news...all three major networks.

He who did absolutely nothing wrong is now a legend of stupidity.

In any case, if a lie really gets rolling it can start to feel true, so I was actually a little annoyed with Seth by the time he got home. Why hadn't he put the cards back that he had never taken out in the first place?

Was my lie a knee-jerk response to the memory of the trauma from long, long ago or am I just a jerk?

I will you let all decide for yourselves.
No, not the cake!!!