I have decided on the solution to my social, emotional, and economic issues; after years of being underpaid, unnoticed, unloved (by everyone except my dear, if somewhat biased, family) and unremarkable, I know what I need to do. I will become more like E.: ballsy, charming, ever-so-slightly manipulative, perfectly groomed, a teensy bit vindictive, and loving, when she wants to be.
E. is, of course, my cat: a medium-sized, tortoiseshell and white diva with petite white paws and a mean right hook. It seems a strange idea, a grown woman taking lessons on being more successful and getting what she wants from a cat, but just step back a second and consider what E. has accomplished. E. has only to lift a paw to have me, and any other humans, scrambling for a toy to amuse her, fresh food to fill her sleek white tummy, or jettisoning the content’s of one’s lap simply in case she deigns to jump upon it and stay awhile. While all cats have an element of this kind of command, E. is an expert, using a powerful mix of charming and terrorizing those around her to ensure that her will is done.
Just look at me. I was a simple, unassuming human when she arrived one January night. I was lazy and unmotivated, serving only myself, doing silly things like studying to all hours and hogging my bed and other soft, appealing surfaces. E. announced her presence by crying loudly at my door, and when I opened it, expecting the neighborhood tom, who I sometimes fed, moved inside with the certainty of a Hollywood star finding her light. She never left, assuming that her desires for food, water, heat, and a litter box would be met, which they were in turn. When she decided that she desired to spend time not in the living room, on a towel by the heater, but on my bed, she simply jumped up on it. She did have the grace to not immediately take over the bed, instead occupying a discrete corner as she tested the waters. This did not last long, however, and E. almost had her kittens right in the center of my bed, underneath my nice warm covers. Yes, E. had brought along cargo which she expected me to care for, although to be fair she was an excellent mother, albeit one who clearly indicated when the mothering was at an end and it was time for her to resume her life of self-pleasure and indolence.
To be continued…