Monday, July 20, 2009

The Runaway Returns

Well, it's been an awful morning. I've experienced anger, panic, despair, sorrow, boredom, gratitude, and joy. No wonder I'm tired.

I let Mittens outside last night around eight. I was watching a fairly stupid movie on Maybe it's call A Dog's Breakfast. Instead of a made-for-TV movie, it was a made-for-cultdom movie, but it never made it. Anyway, I knew I'd be up for another hour, so I obeyed the wishes of my beloved cat, and let her out.

I called her many times after the movie, but she didn't return. Well, she's been hanging with Nero. Oh my god! I wonder if they have formed a cult? He does seem to have some strange power over her. He's an unfixed male (as you'd know if you'd been paying attention) and I swear I've seen her want to come inside, but she checks with him and he says no and she stays outside.

Being a wild-haired feminist myself, of course I resent her kowtowing to him. On the other hand, although they're faint, I, too, have memories of losing my heart and other organs to inappropriate males, so I've not been too harsh with Mittens's choice of companion.

Well, if she starts wearing a bonnet, I'm putting a stop to the whole thing.

So Mittens was gone all night. That's not my preference, but it's not unusual, either. She's always out front waiting for me when I get up the next day. I'll open the door and she'll start talking before she even gets all the way inside. I never know if she's chewing me out for having slept later than she'd counted on, or if she's simply engaging in Girl Talk, regaling me with tales of her night. Either way, I enjoy it.

In fact, that's one of the things I prefer about cats -- at least my cat -- compared to dogs: She talks with me. She says something and I respond and she responds and then I say something. It's a regular dialogue and I love it. A dog may flap his tail, roll onto his back, or even yelp a little greeting, but it's just that -- a greeting, not a conversation. No wonder they're men's best friends.

Well, this morning, I was up at four because, actually, I was concerned about Mittens. I went out and called for her, a waste of breath. I went out again at six. Nero was there. I brought him wet food. I think I may entice him into a cat-carrier one day and bring him to the vet for neutering and vaccinating and debugging. Bringing on the Meow Mix is the first step.

So far, when Nero's around, Mittens is around, too. But not today.

I Facebooked it and got some sympathy, which was nice. I skimmed the entire novel, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, by Steven Spielberg, of all people. There's a fourth book in that series. I'm assuming the movie borrows from all four because there was no cute little E.T. in this one.

While I'm at it, let me also say that I finished Sarah Bird's The Flamenco Academy. Usually her writing is jaunty and casual. This is a real departure from that, which she talks about just before the Reading Group Questions and Topics for Discussion section. I like both her styles, and now I want her to write a book about writing. Anyway, thumbs up on this one.

Ooh, but thumbs down on those annoying book club cheaters at the end of so many novels these days. Maybe this is just sour grapes because I've never been invited to join a reading group and a minuscule part of me wishes I would, but most of the questions seem insulting or irrelevant. I wonder if the authors even like this sort of thing. And who writes the questions? And do reading clubs even use them?

But I digress, don't I, Diane?

I wanted to take Benji on our regular walk so we could look for Mittens that way. He didn't want to walk, however, and I've never been able to say no to him. The only reason I wanted him with me was so I could talk out loud and people would think I was talking to my dog instead of to myself. Years of living alone -- and especially these last eighteen months of not even going to a job -- have encouraged me to chat away even though no one else is around. Thank god that business of talking to yourself equalling insanity is just an old wives' tale, right? Right?

I embarrassed my own self by chanting that find-it poem that Catholics and other superstitious people say. Oh. I suppose it's a prayer, since it's addressed to St. Anthony:

St. Anthony, St. Anthony,
Please come down.
Something's lost
And must be found.

You don't mind a little forced rhyme, do you? Me neither. Presumably St. Anthony's okay with it, too. Or maybe he had a fight with the Patron Saints of Poets -- there are four of them. Dang. There's only one Patron Saint of Geologists, and it's Barbara. There are over twenty for Difficult Marriages but only one for Happy Marriages.

I thought about the photos I have of Mittens and envisioned them in LOST posters. I don't have good pictures of her, mainly because I'm a lousy photographer. Since this is skeeter season -- as it is for about nine-tenths of the Floridian year -- her nose looks like raw hamburger. She has a hyper-sensitivity to mosquito bites. I started putting Skin So Soft on her this year after all the bumps showed up. I actually think the bad nose keeps her from being kidnapped, though.

I called my friend, an animal psychic, and left a message asking if she'd "gotten" anything on Mittens.

About three minutes after that, I heard Mittens's adorable voice. I looked out the window and there she was on the porch. I, of course, was up for a tearful, heartfelt reunion. She was up for Meow Mix and a nap. She chose a new place amongst the clutter. She was so bushed, the flash didn't even bother her. And she wasn't chatty, either. I fear that last night's activities will remain a mystery to me.

But how do people with children ever handle the angst? Seriously. How can you stand knowing all the things that could happen to your kids, and yet you let them out of your sight anyhow? Okay, sure. They're in their thirties, but still, doesn't it just break your heart, make you useless with all that hand-wringing? Don't forget, there are only five Patron Saints of Parenthood ...

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