Friday, January 20, 2006

Update 1: Nine lives is too many

A few months ago, a skeletal mommy-kitten appeared, suddenly, outside our back door. I'd been in the middle of saying something to Luther and Wil, and I saw her through the glass. She stood, alarmed and ready to bolt, on the big, orange, riding lawn mower parked outside the door, black kitty on black plastic seat. She couldn't decide between hissing and meowing, so she did both, a sadly comical mix of fright and hunger.

There wasn't any stopping me. I guess there never is. I slid the door open a little. I called to her and held my fingers out. She approached, she hissed, she meowed, she hissed. And I reached over her and closed my fingers on the skin behind her head and pulled her inside.

I was so angry about that cat. The more she adored me, the more angry I became. We are not having a pet. We're going to travel the world and live on a sailboat and not know and not care where we'll stop for the night, and we are not going to stop and say, "oh, we can't go away for the weekend. Who will take care of the cat?"

Do you remember George Bailey in It's a Wonderful Life? He told Mary he didn't want to get married. He was so angry, because he was already trapped. Just like me with the cat.

Sometimes I feel quite trapped by my job, by this town, by a promise I've made and some others' goals that I want and need to support. So when the cat gets up onto my lap and curls up and purrs, I give her a dirty look and think nasty thoughts. You're on notice, cat. The minute we're free to go, we are outta here, and no cute, purring, clever, drinking-water-from-her-paw "Simplicity Simone" cat is going to get in our way.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Keanu Reeves is my neighbor

Last night I dreamt that Keanu Reeves was my neighbor. Actually, Keanu was only a small part of a more complex landscape, but not surprisingly, he's the part I remember. In real, waking life, Mr. Reeves did appear a number of times on a streetcar in my youth, before he was famous. He was striking, as he is now, so that I noticed him and recognized him when I saw him a second time. When he began to turn up onscreen, I remembered seeing him on the streetcar. Many years later, I now remember that striking young man as like an apparition, with a dreamlike quality, which is why it never seems strange when he shows up in my dreams. Last night, he lived two doors away and came over when my house was in an uproar over something, and we hung out for a quiet moment, like having a cup of tea, in the doorway.

Stopping for a cup of tea in a doorway is something I miss. The form it actually used to take was more like a glass of wine from a carafe on a patio with a friend, but the feeling was the same. There is that long sigh, that dust-speckled ray of sunshine, that you can enjoy with a friend on a warm afternoon, when the reason you've met at this cafe is not to catch up, not to make plans, and not to meet in preparation for some other event, but just because it's a warm afternoon and a glass of wine would be nice.

Now, my best friend lives here with me, and the closest we get to tea is when I go down to the cafeteria at lunchtime, and he closes the book he was studying, and we open our little plastic containers and eat lunch together. It's nice, but because our life is one ever-evolving project, we meet for tea between tasks, always on our way to something else. The exception is when we travel, not to visit family or friends, but just to go. Then, every moment is a cup of tea or a glass of wine, and I am in heaven.

I miss my Toronto friends. I miss the way my life used to be about catching one of them on the phone, and stopping somewhere on the way home and then just not moving on until hours later. That's not gone --but those warm afternoons have been transformed into long weekends that are far too few and far between, when my best friend and I get into a car, and turn onto a freeway, and just don't think about turning back.