Kitten Chronicles

DSCN3924I’m sure you’ve seen those ads, where pathetic sniveling dogs express gratefulness to their new owners. Well, those are dogs: disgusting, noisy creatures with no sense of self-respect.   I remember dogs from my time at the pet store; they groveled and begged at every person who came in. How stupid. We cats know better; let the humans come groveling and begging for our attention, not the other way around.

Several weeks ago, I was still living there with some of my litter mates. We had been rescued from the cold and fostered by a kind woman who realized that the greatest good she could do in this life was to take in feral kittens. I am learning that such devotion and intelligence is rare among humans. After I reached the age of reason, my brothers and sisters and I were brought to a new location. Some painful and humiliating things were done to me there, and the less said about them the better. Still, I enjoyed my time there. There were many toys to play with and best of all we were mostly kept apart from the annoying people. Oh, an occasional hand would poke through the bars of our home, but it was easy to avoid them when privacy was wanted.

Until the afternoon she showed up. I was in a good mood that day, and was more than willing to snuggle and play with her. While at the store, she showed the appropriate amount of worshipful attention to me. I realize now that she was pretending in an attempt to fool me. One minute I was enjoying myself, chasing after a toy and racing around her skirt, and then suddenly I was locked into a small box and subjected to a car ride. That was the first indication of her evil, treacherous nature.

I now live with the woman. At one time there was another cat here: I can smell her clearly but she is nowhere to be seen. This concerns me greatly, and I wonder if perhaps I will meet the same fate that must have befallen the missing cat. There are a number of really fun things to play with, but the stupid woman gets upset whenever I attempt to enjoy myself. For example, I was just having the best time rolling around and tugging at some wires. I was able to pull a number of items down from a taller shelf, giving me even more things to play with. Sure enough, she ran over and ruined all the fun. She hissed at me and pushed me away. Hissing! Really? Who the hell does she think she is – my mother? Or perhaps she thinks I am as stupid as she is and will not know the difference between a human woman and the cat that birthed me.

That is just one example of how much my life now sucks. The other night I was having a grand time. I started on her dresser, jumped onto a rocking chair, raced around on the floor, jumped up to go back and forth on the bed, then over to the headboard where I ran across it back to the dresser and started my second lap. I was considerate enough to include her in the game, making sure that when I ran up and down on the bed it was right over her. It would have been a lot easier to run just anywhere on the bed, but that’s the kind of kitten I am. Well, you’d expect that she would have been thrilled with this game, or at least thank me for including her. Instead, she let out a yell, turned on the light, and shot a stream of water at me. What a bitch.DSCN3937

To be fair, she is not totally evil. I eat well, and there are times when she is willing to play and provide me with the proper devotion. Still, she seems intent on prohibiting me from doing much of what I want to do, and for that she must pay.

She isn’t here right now, which is why I am able to use the laptop. In yet another example of her idiocy she doesn’t use a password, so I hop on the computer whenever she isn’t around. What a maroon.   I’ve placed an order for 10 pounds of cat treats and the largest, fanciest cat tree I could find. It’s got a perch way up at the top that will let me jump on top of her head anytime she’s near it. That should be fun!

Wait; I hear her at the door. Time to save this document, close the laptop and pretend I’m just hanging out on the table. She is so stupid…

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True Confessions of an Ex-bookworm, or Why I Will Never Finish A Tale of Two Cities

Reading the first words in a new book sends a shiver of anticipation down my spine. I wait for the moment when I am pulled into the story, no longer a passive, external watcher but a participant. Descriptive passages seem to reflect what I can actually see in my mind’s eye, conversations relay what I am hearing. The words become a conveyance used to transmit this reality to my brain, different but no less valid than what eyes and ears do.   The world within the book becomes more real than the physical world that surrounds me.   Despite that, no matter what adventure is being experienced, it is always safe within the pages of a book. Nothing can hurt me when I am reading.

Books, for me, are magic.

For as long as I can remember, there were few things that beat the feeling of being immersed in a good book. I was an awkward, geeky kid and we moved a lot; I never had many friends. What I did have was books, and I read them nonstop.  I’ve spent many weekends sucked into a book, eschewing friends and activities to find out what happens next. There have been nights when I was so tired I could barely see, but I wanted to read just one more page – and then just another one more page – until I would fall asleep over the book.

The switch to eBook format didn’t faze me one bit. Sure, the physical feel of opening a book and turning pages was gone, but that was more than made up for by being able to take every book I was currently reading with me, and the thrill of finishing a book and being able to start a new one right away.

The magic is gone. It disappeared two years ago, during the month I spent sitting next to Rick for hours every single day. Most days he was unaware I was there; I held his hand and read. I read 4 or 5 books that month and I don’t remember a thing about any of them.

Except for the last one I read.

For some reason I had never read A Tale Of Two Cities. I started reading it mid-August. Despite being written 150 years ago about a story that was two generations old even then, the book is a great read. As with all of Dickens’ novels the characters are honest and real; even minor ones are engaging.   The story was exciting, and switching the narrative between characters kept the pacing to a much more modern level than most Victorian novels.   I am a sucker for good writing, and love to encounter a combination of words so effortlessly elegant it makes you stop.  TOTC had many of those lines.

This was the book I was reading when I looked up to see the somber faces of his doctors as they walked in to say there was nothing more that could be done; this was the book I stopped reading the day he died.

I just checked; I’m at page 161 of 237, 68% complete. I will never read another word of A Tale of Two Cities; it remains inextricably bound with those painful, final days of Rick’s life, with the realization that there wasn’t going to be any bottom of the 9th home run to save the game and that all hope was gone.

That day, I lost the magic.   I couldn’t immerse myself into Paris of the 1790s and forget where I was. The world – the real world – was right there and it wasn’t going anywhere.

The magic never did come back. Books are no longer an oasis. Oh, I still read, and probably more than most people do. I can critique and analyze as well as I ever could, but I don’t have that shiver of excitement anymore. I can enjoy a book, but I can no longer become immersed in it. Most of the time, I’d rather watch a movie than read.

I’m not a bookworm anymore.