I recently came across information about a workshop on the topic of “how to communicate with your pet”. I immediately scoffed, not because I don’t think people should learn to communicate with their pets, but because the need for such a workshop just doesn’t exist when it comes to Buddy. Buddy is an inveterate communicator. There is no mystery as to his emotional state or desires at any given time. He’s hacked the human/cat language barrier, and also, he never shuts up.
By far, the two erudite topics he is most interested in conversing about are: Lunch and the Illusion of Linear Time, and The Fine Art of Terrifying Squirrels. It goes about like this:
Suddenly, one hour before his strictly scheduled lunchtime, his little dirt-stained body manifests in the computer room doorway, and he peers at us tremulously: “NeeoooooOOW???”
(Sternly) “No, Buddy. It’s not time yet.”
Thirty-two seconds later: “NeeOOOOW?”
“Nope, still not time.”
Two minutes later: “Neeeoooow???”
“No! You have to wait. You are on a schedule.”
Flopping over plaintively on his side to demonstrate how weakened with malnutrition he is: “Ne--neooOOW?”
A brief silence followed by a succinct: “Neow?”
“Oh for God’ s Sake, Cat, if you promise to shut up, fine!!!” Cue this annoyed typist, stomping off to serve up his kibble as he races me to the kitchen making triumphant squealing sounds that clearly mean, “I won! I won! I won!”
He skids into the computer room in a tizzy, yowling the feline equivalent of “Ms. Typist! Ms. Typist!! There’s a squirrel on my lawn! It’s an emergency!!! I have to go outside NEEEOOOW! Neeoow!!”
“Shhh! You’re not going outside right now. You know the rules.”
“But there’s a squirrel and I must terrify him neeeooow!!”
“Buddy, stop it. Ms. Typist gets very upset when you beg to go after squirrels.”
There is an uncharacteristic silence as he shrewdly files this information away for future emotional manipulation purposes, followed by: “NeeooooooOWuh?”
Then, out comes the familiar otherworldly cat wail that roughly translates to, “I hate you and I hate your stupid face and I didn’t ask to be born and you are ruining my entire life!” Usually followed by him diving under a piece of furniture to pout until it’s time to beg for dinner.
See? There’s nothing to it.
Last night, my brother got all braggy on Facebook because he got tickets to Jim Gaffigan at the Key Arena and was going that very night! I, who have no FOMO gene, nonetheless felt an uncharacteristic pang of Missing Out. He urged me to drive on over, as there were plenty of seats, but by that time it was 7:45ish, the show started at 8:30, and I had just showered, climbed into my night pants, and fired up Minecraft, because that’s how this beast rolls on a Saturday night. I supposed I could have rallied and made it over there barely in time, (it’s debatable the way Seattle traffic is nowadays), but inertia had me in its iron grip and wasn’t letting go. I was, however, a bit wounded by the fact that Jim Gaffigan was in town and somehow I didn’t even know. How did my life become so insular and devoid of cultural joys that when one of my favorite comedians breezes into town, I’m totally clueless about it? I can’t even remember the last time I went to a movie, let alone a proper show in a theater and all. Part of it is that I just don’t trust entertainment to actually entertain me anymore. If I’m going to invest time and money and sit there for ninety minutes to two hours, I want to make absolutely sure it’s going to be, if not a transformative experience, at least one that I find emotionally enriching and that I won’t promptly forget a day later. Movies don’t do it for me anymore, I’ve never liked huge live concerts, and I’m apparently too out of it to keep up on the goings-on in my own city. Perhaps I am doomed to wander in a self-imposed cultural desert for all of eternity. That’s okay. At least I have comfortable night pants.
I may have missed Jim live, but there’s always Youtube. Enjoy this clip. I’m off to go gaze worshipfully at the first real rain Seattle has seen in months.