« Top ten nonsense. The part that is funny is that I have not gone missing, just merely insane. | Main | Wednesday list »

March 29, 2009

Nutballs

This morning I woke up and Bob was lying beside me, his fluffy orange backside curled around with white feet and his perfect pink toes were the first thing my eyes focused upon.

I didn't move or stretch, Soba was warming my feet and Frankie the cat was stretched out from my shoulder to my hip, filling the dip in between. I sleep on my side and on cold mornings I usually awake to find a furry someone stretched out alongside me, perching on the human mountain, the heater. My little fur blanket.

I never will understand people who don't love animals. I've been animal-mad since I was born, my dad can tell you stories about me and my first cat Betsy Ross. I dressed her up in outfits and pushed her around in a pram and still she was my happy friend, the heroine of all my stories. I named her after the cololest woman I'd ever heard of, nevermind that she was a he. When I was nine it was the two baby cows on the farm, Kermit and Piggy. We bottle-fed them and I can still remember their big brown eyes, the way they tugged the bottles, their velvety strange noses and rough tongues. I love dogs, too. And I once had a turtle named Emory who I watched with great fascination and told him all my secrets. But it seems it's me and cats who match up best in city life.

It's this odd perfect, weird kinship. Here are these little four-legged fur-covered creatures with respiratory systems and circulatory systems and they live here in this house and they make noises I have come to predict (Frankie whines when she wants attention, Bob squeaks in the mornings) and they sleep in my house and eat food in the kitchen and chase around elastic hair ties through the house and fuss over who sits on my feet. They sleep all day and greet me at the door when I come home and we're a family, kind of. I know I can't be the only one. It's not something you'd put on your online dating profile but it's true. And when I meet people who don't love animals I don't get them. Probably the same way they don't get me.

You know I get embarrassed to mention but sometimes I still get crazy crying lady eyes when I think about Roy, My Favorite Animal Ever. You can't tell that to people, they think you've gone nutso. But there's something so pure and clean about loving a pet. You never have to doubt each other, or have The Conversation, or worry about infidelity. Animal friends are the most loyal friends. When Roy died I thought I was going to have to take antidepressants or something, I was that knocked off kilter. He was my best friend for ten years. He slept on my pillow every night for ten years. He was my always-there guy. And then one day he wasn't, and it broke me in half. People, I cried more over losing that damn cat than I ever did over losing my ex-husband. Only animal folks get it.

And when I look at my little furballs now I think they are tiny miracles and weirdos. I love meeting up with people in my neighborhood while they're out walking the dog -- petting dogs on the morning walk is a major benefit of living in my neighborhood. Animal people soften their edges. My neighbor a few doors down used to be known as Crackhead Bob, the one who set his house on fire. Now he's just Bob. He adopted two stray little neighborhood cats a year ago, took them in and fed them and named them and someone who can take in an animal and feed it and name it... well. They get points.

My mom called me the other day and we were talking and out of the blue she said, "I didn't understand when you were losing Roy how hard it was on you, but now that we have ol' devil dog here, I cannot even imagine. I am so sorry." And even though Roy has been gone almost two years I still just hung up the phone and cried.

Animal people are crazy old fools, aren't we?
Crazy old softie fools.

Posted by laurie at March 29, 2009 10:46 PM