Monday, December 24, 2007

The Cat is In

Anticipating the usual 4,599 people in line at the Department of Motor Vehicles, I did the dishes before I left. Smart me. Nobody informed me about the construction taking place for a mile each way in front of DMV, which puts me into Big Panic (I am beyond geographically challenged), but I managed to play loop-de-loop in relatively short time and find my way back and into the parking lot just as the doors opened. All 10 (yes, I repeat) TEN of us dutifully lined up to receive our numbers. Mine was L902. I took a seat and unleashed a huge yawn, which (although of course I politely covered my mouth) was all the invitation needed by a nearby, visibly shivering older gentleman who said, "I see you're still waking up!" Uh oh. He came around the row of chairs and sat beside me. Uh oh, again. But as it turned out, he was sweet as can be, from Guyana, diabetic with exceedingly poor circulation. This at least explained his shivering (beyond the fact that it was 42 degrees outside and he'd been waiting for 20 minutes), and his hands like slabs of ice. I know this because he asked me to touch one of them. He volunteered that he is 67 years old, lived in Canada and British Columbia, managed an international company, was diagnosed with diabetes 27 years ago, the same amount of time he's been living in Arizona. What a lovely accent he had! "I'm from the Caribbean," he told me. "Well, Guyana is more 'South American', but it's an island atmosphere." [Proof that I'm geographically challenged goes beyond my panic at street closures in my own hometown. Can someone please tell me where Guyana is? I don't seem to have a world map.] And just about the time he stopped shivering, the mechanical voice announced his ticket number at desk 14, and off he went, smiling and wishing me "Happy Holidays". I love it when encounters like that happen. Guyana! I'll be Googling that when I finish this post.

Meanwhile, I then reached into my purse to yank out my journal -- but it wasn't there! I'd left it at home, in front of the fan with a painted page layout drying. Eesh! Blimey! Sh*te! But then my fingers stumbled across a mystery envelope. What's this? It was a hand-pawed note from my Picasso-Esque Gato. Someone (I suspect Sheldon) ratted me out, told him I was thinking about 'canning' him. Uh oh. Let me share it with you. [You'll need a drink.] [And at least one box of Kleenex.] It's a tearjerker, I kid you not. Zoe translated it for me when I got home. Here it goes:

Are you ready?

"Yo, Lady" [see? Grabs you right from the opening words]

I heard you was thinking about maybe not using me in your painting. I gotta tell you, my feelings was hurt big time. I know I ain't pretty like maybe you wanted. But think about it. I been leading a hard life, ya know? My mom, she was high class, real 'Paradise Valley', but she met my Pop and fell in love anyway. He was just a regular Joe, ok so maybe he was a drifter but he was serious about Ma. When I was born, her humans didn't know what to make of me. Back then, folks wasn't so open-minded about a cat with crazy fur like mine, all those colors. And those humans, they didn't take to Pop at all. They caught him, and took me and him in a cardboard box to the pound. I remember Ma watching out of the big window in their fancy shmancy livingroom. That's the last time I saw her. Nobody wanted me at the pound, everybody thought I was ugly, and Pop was too old and untameable. But when Doomsday came, when that doc came out to get us, Pop went crazy, wild, hissing and scratching. It was just a cover, so I could make a run for it. I never saw him again. I hadta cross 3 freeways to get to a neighborhood where I could hide. Scarred me for life -- I could never go near a street after that. But alleys, alleys was small and quiet and I met some guys, you know. They kinda took me in, showed me the ropes, kept me going, never said nothing about my crazy fur. Real friends, those guys, you should put them in your painting, too. But alley life is rough, all that scavenging, living hour to hour, dodging the trash trucks and the dogs. So see? I'm just writing to say that maybe it makes sense that I look like I look. I'm beat up, I know it, but that's the life of an alley cat. Maybe I'm a little worse for the wear, patched together like you say, but that's reality. I don't know nothing about this Picasso human, but I'd bet ya a greasy newspaper full of fish trimmings that he'd go for some reality in your painting, too. And just because I look crazy and talk rough don't mean I never wanted my life to amount to nothing. Gimme a chance, Lady, would ya? I ain't begging, ya understand. I'm just asking."

Sniffle. Sniffle twice. HONKKKKK splutter (that was me blowing my nose).

The cat is in. The cat is in.

Eesh. Blimey. Sh*te. That means I have more sewing to do. Gimme that drink. And your box of kleenex!