Sunday, October 16, 2016

Storm Disappointment, Nighthawks Love, Cat Karma

We here in Western Washington were recently promised a storm of epic proportions, which, disappointingly to me, never materialized. Apparently, our “multi-million dollar weather supercomputers” miscalculated the force and trajectory, and the storm just sort of fizzled out. I feel very let down. I needed a storm in my life to match my emotional storminess, and the weather simply refused to cooperate. This is one of only many times that I have been thoroughly let down by weather: There were all of those 90-degree, aggressively sunny days when I was depressed and could not cope with all of the exhortations to “get out and enjoy the sun!” (Just for the record, I’m pasty-skinned redhead who is prone to burning in mere minutes. I hate the sun and will never, ever “enjoy” it.) That time that I was caught in a completely unexpected severe rainstorm in downtown Seattle and got hit by a wall of water so powerful I was as soaked as if I had waded into Puget Sound, and it took me seven hours to get home that night. The time when we had a severe heatwave for two weeks straight and everyone from the South made fun of us without realizing that no one in this effing state has air conditioning. Ugh, weather. It’s the worst.

I recently came across a Photoshopped image that reminded me of how much I like “Nighthawks” by Edward Hopper. My artistic tastes tend toward the unconventional, but I’ve always been a fan of Hopper’s work, and “Nighthawks” is a favorite of mine. I don’t know why—I don’t generally like L.A. noir style work, but there is something about this painting that I have always found hauntingly beautiful and fascinating. It’s a combination of the light, the darkness, and the mysterious circumstances of the cafĂ©-dwellers. Why are they there so late at night? What’s going on with the couple? What’s up with the single guy at the counter? And what does the seemingly world-weary diner attendant think of all of this? No one in the painting seems overtly sad, nor do they seem particularly thrilled to be in each other’s company. They all seem to be in their own emotional worlds, connected by proximity, but detached from one another. The painting is both emotionally rich and deeply ambivalent. I get that feeling from a lot of Hopper’s work, but this one is by far my favorite.

Recently on a podcast I listen to with semi-regularity, one of the hosts said that dogs are subservient because they need humans to take charge of things, but cats are assholes because they are more independent and can just do whatever they want. This is entirely true. Now that the weather has turned, Buddy has given up his deck-jumping antics and has taken to sleeping all day long on top of the refrigerator in a paper tray we have up there. Why do we have a paper tray on top of our fridge? Reasons. And right now that reason is so that Buddy has a cat bed to rest in. I know this is not an original thought, but if there is such a thing as reincarnation, I’m coming back as a cat. I want to lounge around on top of a fridge all day, manipulate humans into loving me against all reason and common sense, grub free food and boarding, and contribute nothing to the household. Also, I’ll have a complete patsy in tattooed cat apologist Jackson Galaxy, who will defend my atrocious behavior at every turn. Get that soul contract ready, Gods. Cats owe me, and it’s payback time!



--Kristen McHenry

2 comments:

Frankly Curious said...

On the issue of Hopper: I had noticed that you changed your Google image and it looked a lot like Hopper. Is that the case? I've admired his work since my teens. Whereas I've tired of the impressionists, Hopper still speaks to me. I'm not that fond of Nighthawks, but only because of all the parodies. It is powerful in that I feel like I've lived that, even though it is in an entirely different time. I think everyone who's traveled long-distance by bus has lived it. You're in the middle of something, but stuck -- at least temporarily.

Have you ever heard Janis Ian's Hopper Painting? Beautiful song.

We managed to get upwards of two inches of rain from this storm, so now I feel like we stole it from you. But I'm still disappointed. I always want it to rain more. To some extent it is just a matter that it makes me feel more normal being inside (my natural habitat). Although the rain is about the only thing that makes me want to go outside. A cloud cover makes me more trusting of gravity. (I think I've shared this with you, but I love William Carpenter's poem "Rain.")

I recently read that dogs have a short term memory of just 5 minutes, but cats have one of roughly 24 hours. That makes sense given how dogs and cats hunt. But since we are on the subject of reincarnation, perhaps you should write a cat version of My Talks With Dean Spanley. Maybe your next novel!

The Good Typist said...

Hi, Frank! *Waves*

I actually don't know, although I suppose I should, who the artist is for my new profile pic. It's just sort of a placeholder I pulled off of Google image search, to use until I can get updated headshots. Also, I was sick of looking at my own face.

I feel the same way you do about the rain, which is why I love living in Seattle still, even with all it's problems due to overpopulation and rapid growth. At least I can count on regular rain.

I know what you mean about the transitory sense in "Nighthawks". It makes sad yet hopeful at the same time.

Thanks for the link to the song and the poem! Both amazing.