The gloves have come off

Turnabout FairPlay: The media, excoriated by The Donald, is exploring the possibility that he is mentally unstable. I watched MSNBC in fascination as Lawrence O’Donnell interviewed a psychiatrist (I believe it was a psychiatrist) who stated that our president was displaying behavior that conformed with mental illness.

Take, for example his statement made earlier in his campaign that transgender people had every right to the bathrooms of their choice, and his current stance forbidding them that right. He has turned around previous remarks with regularity and firmness that has to be noticed, even by his supporters, although it seems the voters don’t seem to care. Currently, that is. In the meantime, the gloves of the media have come off.

Meow’s Way

Here is an excerpt from my book Meow’s Way:

I am flat, peering under the sofa. Pinky is beside me, also flat and peering into the darkness. Of course, she has no idea what we are doing.I laugh out loud, and she flops on her back and wiggles. It is her orange catnip fish that is missing again. I have considered purchasing a dozen to keep in reserve, but I am as stubborn in continuing my daily pursuit of the fish as she is in losing it.A long, thin dowel is my instrument of retrieval. With it I sweep under all the furniture in the house.

She has other toys, but has a passion for the fish. For a cat who may have been feral before she moved in with me, she has adapted superbly to life indoors, unless she was only half feral before. I had never seen her, a longhaired tortoiseshell with green eyes, in the neighborhood before she came up the steps to my patio, leaned her paws against the door, and peered through the glass. I moved to open the door and before I could invite her in, she backed off and ran away.

She returned again and again, each time following on my heels. Whenever I turned
around she fled. One day she held her ground and uttered several meows in a tiny voice. I interpreted them to mean, “I like you. Can I stay? I’m a good cat. I won’t give you any trouble.” I named her Pinky for her one pink toe.

She did stay. Soon I was scanning grocery shelves for flavors of canned cat food, then loading sacks of dry cat chow in my cart, then picking up leaflets on veterinary pet care. I was having fun. After my budgerigar, Daisy, died, it seemed reckless to acquire another pet that I could not leave for at least two nights at a time. Daisy did not mind my absence if I left a radio on near her. She would cock her head in its direction and, from the pile of droppings below, seemed not to have moved during those days away.

Pinky could look after herself, I reasoned, if I left her a dish of food and water outside the door. But what about raccoons eating the food? Other cats? No matter. I would figure something out. At least she wouldn’t need a litter box.
In the beginning of our friendship, there was a problem with our nights together. I had to get up several times to see if she had come to be let in. When she did come in, at whatever time of night it happened to be, she would jump onto the bed and sleep by my side. Sweet comfort for my spirit, this little furry body purring next to me! After my husband, Renato, died I endured the same painful emptiness everyone does after loss. I did not want another human being next to me.

The pet door I installed suited us both. Now she came and went as she liked.

Pinky the cat

I miss her so much. I had never known a cat like her. She invented games and led me to play them with her. One was our hedge game, where she would go to one side of it and I on the other. I leaned over the hedge and made menacing noises and she would glare at me and race off across the lawn. My cue was to chase her but had to stop to unlatch the side gate, which was no obstacle to her as she squeezed under it. And on the other side she would Wait for me to resume our chase, which always ended on the driveway as she flopped on her back for me to tickle her belly.

It was a game we played perhaps three times a day. I marveled at how she pretended to be outraged at my gobbling noises before she took off running.

Our games were usually played on the lawn. One day she walked away from me and disappeared around the hedge, leaving me to wonder. In the next instant she returned and raced around me in circles while I laughed.

We had visits of deer on the other side of the chainlink fence and when they came Pinky and I stood carefully motionless to watch them. I don’t think it would have mattered to the doe and her fawn if Pinky had walked close to them but nevertheless she understood we were not to spook the mother and fawn.

She rests in my heart and if there is a heaven for cats I can see her playing games with other cats. Perhaps I will be allowed to join her.

Jeep Cherokee

And so I drive, always conscious of cars in the next lane and expecting to scrape them at any time. It isn’t that the vehicle is so much wider than my own car but sitting high with a narrowed scope of vision (the side mirrors obscure traffic) and the rear window is smaller makes me paranoid. In parking garages I swing so wide around parked bumpers that I almost hit cars on the opposite side.

This garage where I now live has enormous posts which presumably hold up the building and they too present a challenge as I maneuver between them and other cars parked in their slots.

The auto body shop where my own car is being repaired will be calling me anytime soon to pick it up. Not too soon for me.

But I manage the windshield wipers, yes I can. I have mastered them from lo to high, along with the radio. The other buttons and dials remain virgin intact, unmissed by your intrepid driver.

Panic! At the wheel

I brought my car to the auto body shop this morning, as agreed, for extensive repairs to the rear bumper and taillight. That stanchion I backed into in the garage because I forgot it was there, didn’t move. My bumper did.

And so the process began. Everyone at the body shop, the insurance agent, and lastly the Enterprise rental people, were extraordinarily nice to me. I mean, the body shop man went promptly to my car to estimate the damage, returned and solicitously offered tea, coffee or water. He also called Enterprise to tell them they were late delivering my rental car.

I had selected, having been offered, the car I wished from Enterprise: a Chevy, small, compact. At Enterprise, after having been driven there, there was a round of handshaking, and when I sat down to wait for the rental car, an agent sat with me to chat. So odd and unexpected a courtesy, I thought. By then I had shaken hands six times.

The rental car, when it was ready, was not the small Chevy but a Jeep SUV, whose gigantic proportions frightened me. It’s easy to drive, said the agent. The step up was level with my knees, but I got in by clutching a…a…bar inside and scrambling up with my coat and purse and tote bag all askew. The agent further showed me that instead of a key, I was to push a button on the dash to start the car. How to unlock the gas tank? Another button on the door.

I drove home then, somewhat bemused that I had not scraped another car enroute nor misjudged distances between the SUV and car bumpers as I crept into the garage. I needed to switch on the lights but had forgotten to ask the agent how.

I don’t think I will be driving much until it is time to reclaim my own car. I’d rather call a taxi.