Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Stray Cats and Other Tails

I'm working on overcoming my bad habit of welcoming various human and animal strays into my life and home. I adopted my gray calico from the cat lady in Stuyvesant Town in Lower Manhattan, because I was alone and thought I'd find a lap cap to keep me company as I acclimated myself to the East Coast. Clancy was great at first, but like all living creatures with a pulse, personalities and behaviors change over time. We were content in our cramped one-bedroom apartment in West New York, New Jersey, until hell temporarily rose on earth to upend us. We were displaced between the old and new apartment in Manhattan.

I had talked a hellion college dorm mate to move up north months before we moved into Manhattan. I can't recall now why or how I ended up sleeping on the floor of this girl the Texan hellion met and beguiled as was her nature to do, other than the new apartment not being ready at the time. I digress. I was responsible for two strays at that time, and it almost took its toll on me. Adulthood wasn't for the weak of heart back then.

Fast forward. The apartment was ready for occupancy, and I left Clancy to screen and capture small to medium sized four-legged creatures before we officially moved in, which she did a few days later. She meowed, no, bellowed, to get my attention when she caught a mouse. I walked into the kitchen where she held a dead mouse with what appeared to have been a pained or frightened expression about its face. I wondered then and now why she chose not to eat it. Does only happen on National Geographic and cartoons?

Many years later, I look around at my cluttered apartment with stacks of magazines and shelves overflowing with books I might not get around to reading, clothes that are woefully out of style, an aquarium with an overgrown tri-collor tropical shark, and two cats, the oldest of which seems to be purring her swan song.

Where did the time go? How many roommates-cum-strays have I rescued, given shelter, a few of which took advantage of the situation and me? I had to call upon my Peruvian-Irish friend to come over and evict a Spanish con artist that I thought I was saving from all manner of heartbreak and despondency. He pulled the wool over my eyes, and racked up international phone calls, as did another Spaniard, by way of England. Perhaps I had "sap" emblazoned on my forehead.

I have a bad habit of trying to repopulate my life with favorable people and experiences from the past in Houston. What do we say about not living in the past, and letting go? People are different on the East Coast, and no amount of books, parties, and sleepovers will fill the tiny space that at times can seem as vast as the universe that's yearning for emotional and spiritual sustenance. When I was a child, I did childish things. It's high time I put away the bucket of Legos and electric race car set, and get to living as an adult life without so many encumbrances, useless clutter, and spiritual vampires. Perhaps it's time for me to have my own reality show: Simplify Your Life, Now! (Just do the opposite I what I used to do.)

No comments: