Malcolm the owl was an energetic young fellow, especially first thing in the morning. He wanted to demonstratehis eloquent speechand share the stupendousideas he had concocted right at the break of dawn. Unfortunately, all the other owls were fast asleep.
After flying over to his friend Zeke’s tree, Malcolm gave Zeke a quick poke with his beak. “I challengeyou to a game of chess and let’s make it 3D!” Malcolm hooted.
Zeke opened one bleary eye and sighed, “Dear owl pal, there is a glitch in your wiring. We are supposed to snooze when the sun is out shining.”
Distressed, Malcolm flew home and played chess with a rabbit. The bunny beat him, so Malcolm ate him. “How I wish Zeke were awake,” Malcolm said with a shake of his head and a burp.
Time slid by like reflections smeared by the rain. Each moment seemed compelling until it was replaced by the next one, like a picture inside a kaleidoscope. She felt as if she were a mere park bench in a painting, observing her own life but not participating in it, still having trouble transitioning to this new way of living, working, being. There were smiles, of course, such as last weekend when she saw her friends again. They watched a movie outdoors, and it was L.A. Story with Steve Martin, which she thought she should like, but it was vaguely disappointing. Her instinctsprotested against all the grabbiness by the various characters, even though it was done in the name of comedy. That’s supposed to excuse a lot of unacceptable behaviors, isn’t it?
Maybe it was her, her habit of craving stability and sameness in a world gone mad. Perhaps it was time to fling off her fears and dive into the chaos, as she had done when younger. But that was a road to nothing ultimately, and while she didn’t have an overwhelming sense of regret for her choices, they hadn’t led to anything great either. But maybe greatness wasn’t the point… maybe a better method would be to appreciate each moment fully before it was washed away in the rains of time bla bla bla. As her favorite quote went: life is short; eat dessert first.
That thought reminded her of one of her favorite books: The Unbearable Lightness of Being. She had read it several times, and it was such a great study in the intricate differences of perspectives. When they cast Daniel Day Lewis as the lead, she’d been pleased. He so perfectly matched the image in her mind of the philandering doctor in the book. The movie itself was good, but it couldn’t live up to the book’s greatness because there was no way to bring in all the crucial nuances of the narrative.
The Glass Castle, on the other hand, had disappointed her with the lead. This was one of her favorite books and yet Brie Larson as Jeannette didn’t feel right at all. There was something off about her voice, tone, and looks. She’d never envisioned J as an adult Manhattan snob the way she was portrayed by Brie. There was a strong undercurrent of angst and loss in the book’s Jeannette, not this smoothly perfect adult. However, Woody Harrelson as the raging alcoholic father was a perfect fit. She decided that casting was an onerous task and she would certainly find it tough. There were so many factors to consider.
In any case, she had a family beach day to look forward to tomorrow, which would probably end up as next week’s smile. But how was it possible that over half a year had passed in this strange limbo? She didn’t want to spout cliches, but she had the eerie sense that the ending was rushing toward her like an out of control semi-truck on a slippery downhill slope. Or perhaps it would be a warm gentle fog of nothingness as the colors all blended into one…
I try not to be constantly enraged, but it’s hard. I get so frustratedwhen things don’t work properly or when companies give crappy or nonexistent service. While I like to think of myself as calm and logical, the truth is I am very prone to anger. This is something I struggle with because I don’t want my peace of mind to be controlled by the tyranny of the marketplace. Yet, being high-strung is part of my nature and helps my creativity flow…
I’m never in a great mood, though I can have great times with family or friends. Yet, I’m always aware of pain… there’s not one second when something doesn’t hurt. I wish I could be oblivious to this, but I’m not, and maybe that’s why it takes so little to wreck my day. Except I’ve always been this way! Although I can barely remember a time when I wasn’t plagued by pain, I do know that even as a teenager I was on edge, easily triggered into anger or tears, same as now. I feel so much, including what people I care about are feeling…
But I’m also silly and funny/fun. It takes so little to make me happy. A cat being cute. A yummy cookie. A witty play on words. A riveting suspense film or book. Pictures of my grandkids… 🤩💖 I like that I have low expectations and don’t need huge thrills or expensive events to decide that life is worthwhile. I mean, I can be completely pissed off about some irritating glitch, but if I get to have a Snickers bar,everything is fantastic..
I would say I’m on the aloofside of the introvert/extrovert chart, though this is hard to classify. I’m fine around people, chatty and not awkward (usually), but I have my limits. After X amount of time, I am DONE and need to be alone to recharge. I’m okay being alone for vast amounts of time too… though I will get sad if I go too long without seeing my daughters. Before Covid-19, I had to make sure not to over-schedule social occasions, since that’s super draining emotionally for me. Even now, it’s hard for me to deal with all these Zoom mixers people want to do. Excessive audio stimulation makes me nuts. Needless to say, I’m not listening to the convention…
I’ll admit to not feeling much inclined to help strangers or be generous with my resources including time. I learned the hard way that most people who demand things from me without offering anything in return are never grateful but will just ask for more. I am not a trusting person, though I admire and respect those who are and who do act selflessly…
I may have had some wine, perhaps a cordial or three, at the neighborhood block party. As a very religious boy, I was raised without the taste of alcohol (aka “devil’s juice”) in my parents’ home, and I was not used to the effects. In my hazy state of mind, it occurred to me I needed to do my laundry, since I was leaving early tomorrow for orientation week at the university. After lugging my clothes bag across the street to the laundromat, I noticed a new bulletin board with colorful notes, advertising things for sale.
Available immediately ~ ancient model, purrs like a kitten, still in great shape, low mileage, minimal wear and tear. Call for details.
I needed a new car something fierce. If I could grab this one tonight, perhaps I wouldn’t have to carpool with the other students. They would smoke, which I hated. I called the number. A woman answered.
“Hello,” I said. “I would like to hear more details about what you have for sale. Is it really as great as you describe on the ad at the laundromat.”
“Even better,” she answered in a strange husky tone. “Why don’t you come over right now and I’ll show you?”
She gave me the address and I walked over. It was only a few blocks. When she opened the door, she was wearing a filmy robe and I tried not to look below the neck. I didn’t want to make her feel uncomfortable.
“Aren’t you adorable?” she said. “Come on in.”
I went inside and she closed the door. “Where’s the car?” I asked her.
“You’re looking at it,” she said and dropped the robe.
Needless to say, I didn’t make it to the school the next day. Luckily, though, my laundry was intact. I brought it back to her place and stayed for three years. She was stunning and taught me about the ways of the world. I will always be grateful tomy first love. And someday, I’ll get my degree and be more than an assistant manager in a donut shop.
My greatest fear has always been aliens from outer space coming to earth and taking over the planet, enslaving us all, and using us for their evil purposes. Because this is foremost on my mind, I have many dreams about it actually happening. Last night’s dream, however, was very different, so vivid, so lucid.
First, I heard a spectacular crash, as if something had landed right in our backyard. I knew I needed to get up and investigate, but my muscles were paralyzed and all I could do was lie there, sticky with sweat. Though I was trapped in bed, I knew the aliens were coming into the house. There was nothing I could do as they crept about, searching for humans to capture. My wife slept silently beside me, oblivious to it all.
I tried to wake her up, since this dream ~ well, nightmare really ~ was so different from the others, but she didn’t respond to my whispers. Finally, I turned over and she was gone! Oh no! Had the aliens grabbed her and left me behind? That horrible thought energized me enough to get up, use the bathroom (I really needed to!), and see what was going on. I felt a short interlude of peace as I walked down the stairs and focused on the present. Obviously, it was only a dream and everything would be okay. I just needed to find my wife and give her a hug.
She was in the kitchen making breakfast as usual.
“Morning, sweetheart,” I said, embracing her tightly as she scrambled eggs in a pan.
“Hi, honey.” She glanced at me. “Aww, did you have another bad dream? I told you to quit watching those silly paranormal shows.”
Then I heard a strange high-pitched giggle. I turned and looked toward the table, where a bizarre creature sat. It had purple hair, glittery skin, and glowing gold lips. It was staring at an odd phone-type device in its hand.
“Honey, this is my cousin Jazz come to stay with us for the weekend,” my wife said. “Her apartment is being fumigated. Some sort of weird bugs.”
“Weird bugs,” the creature repeated. “Or something.”
Fountain Valley, California’s motto is “a nice place to live.” That sounds boring and bland… which is just perfect for me. I was born in NY, but I have no desire to live in a city that never sleeps. I like sleep! I don’t want noise and lights and excitement happening all night. I’m old. And grumpy. My neighborhood is quiet and dull, which I love. I get a thrill out of seeing the ducks. The immediate area is surrounded by busy streets, but I can tune them out and focus on the cool breeze, trees, and waterfall in my apartment complex. I’m happy here.
We’re not too far from the beach… 15 minutes, depending on which beach you want to go to. When I walk at Crystal Cove, that drive takes a bit longer. It’s inevitable that there will be occasions of snarled traffic in a coastal area, but I’ve learned to live with that. Even though I live in a place that some might consider resort-like, I still gravitate to the tropical theme when I imagine taking a holiday. I don’t actually go anywhere exotic though. Just Los Angeles to visit one daughter, NorCal to see another, and of course Irvine to work.
Kidding! (It was Miss February.) I have lots of great memories of my pets, starting with my little dog, Peppy, who came into my life when I was 9 years old. She was a sweet little pupper, but we never really trained her, so she was not that well behaved. I loved her though and was distraught when we lost her 9 years later. That’s too sad of a story to tell and I’ll leave it in the past. I want to remember all the cute things about her.
When I was 24, I took in a homeless kitty and tried to find its owner. No luck, so kitty stayed with us. My boyfriend at the time was into horse racing, so he wanted to name the kitty after a famous racehorse, John Henry. Since I didn’t know who that was, we added the name Banana after it. John Henry Banana. We called him Henry and he was a sweetheart.
After a while, we decided Henry was lonely, so we brought home a little tawny kitten to keep him company. We named her Tasha Banana. They got along fine. Later that year Henry got sick and went over the rainbow bridge, which was really sad because he wasn’t that old. The vet speculated that he had eaten some poison when he was out wandering before we met him. We then brought home a little sister for Tasha and named her Cyndi, like the singer. Naturally she was also a Banana. The sister cats were good together, but the boyfriend became my first ex-husband. These things happen.
I just remembered that prior to Peppy’s arrival, we had fish. They were very pretty, but you don’t really bond with a fish, mermaids excepted. 🐠
Anyway, while I was married to my second ex-husband, I impulsively adopted a new homeless kitty at a cat show (remember, we already had two). In retrospect, this was a very thoughtless thing to do without asking my second ex-husband first, but it all worked out. The cat, not the marriage. We named this kitten Oscar and he did his own thing but was occasionally affectionate. Cyndi, however, was always sick and no amount of care could ever fix her. She never grew past kitten size and only lasted until she was 3 years old. (Yes, I did a lot in 3 years, but I was an energetic 20-something.)
I had to find a new home for Tasha and Oscar a few years later. Long story, also too sad to go into. I know this can be a contentious topic, with some people believing you are committed to a pet forever once you take them in, and I too believe this on principle, but life happens. I did my best to find the cats a safe place, but who knows. For many years afterward, I had no pets, only children.
Cocoa wandered into my life when I needed her, simple as that. It was 2004, I was depressed, and I’d been scheduled for a “minor” surgery. Along came this wonderful blue-eyed fluffy kitty to brighten up my days. My daughters were thrilled to have a pet and we soon adopted another kitty, Tiki. Cocoa took some time to adjust to Tiki, but then they were friends. Tiki looked up to Cocoa, like a little sister to a big one, following her all around and trying to do everything Cocoa did. So adorable!
When my marriage ended, I took Cocoa and my second ex-husband took Tiki. They totally bonded and it was cute. Cocoa, however, began failing. Her arthritis kept getting worse until she couldn’t walk much at all. She lost interest in food, became skinny, and finally we had to say goodbye. It was heartbreaking. She was such a great cat.
Before Cocoa passed on, I thought I would not get another pet because the man I was dating at the time (remember TMWBMH? ~ yep, him) did not like pets. Silly me, I had this fantasy we’d stay together, but that was not to be. A few months before Cocoa died, we had broken up, so a new kitty was on my mind. My daughter went to the Orange County Animal Shelter with me, and we chose Gatsby (she did really). She also chose his name because I’d been inclined to go with Ringo. He’s obviously a Gatsby though.
Long time readers are familiar with G’s cuteness and antics. Suffice to say, he has comforted me during many down cycles and I owe him a lot. He can be super annoying, but he’s my Little Lion Man and I adore him. We’re now sharing a place with a kitty named Tiger and her person, and the cats are slowly getting used to each other. Tiger is an absolute doll.