The Trouble With Living Things

The Trouble With Living Things

I was never allowed to have a cat. Except for one brief moment, when I was five years old. My mother and her boyfriend rented a farm house where we did not farm anything. We had a couple of dogs. One was black lab who played with me in the snow and stole my dolls to use for chew toys. I loved the dogs, but I wanted a cat so badly. I begged until Mom finally relented and let me get a kitty. Kittens play non-stop and engage in feisty kitten activities like scratching couches, pouncing at curtains and making sneak attacks at shoe laces. My mom didn't care much for that, so with each scratch or pounce, I watched in helpless horror as she shot my kitten with a pellet gun, shooting hard plastic pellets at my pet. It didn't last long. One day, the kitten was gone. I was told it had gone to live in the barn that...
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The Joys of a Dysfunctional, Symbiotic Relationship

The Joys of a Dysfunctional, Symbiotic Relationship

“Authors like cats because they are such quiet, lovable, wise creatures, and cats like authors for the same reasons.” ― Robertson Davies “A cat has absolute emotional honesty: human beings, for one reason or another, may hide their feelings, but a cat does not.” ― Ernest Hemingway “Women and cats will do as they please, and men and dogs should relax and get used to the idea.” ― Robert A. Heinlein * * * "I think you might have a dysfunctional relationship with your cat," Olivier said as he watched the cat curl herself around the top of my head. "What? Crazy talk. Nonsense. We have a perfectly normal and healthy relationship." I nuzzled my face up against her whiskers. "I'm sure lots of people share their pillow with a cat every night." "Lots of weird cat people." "Careful. You're offending the cat." I suppose he could have a point. Me and Cat (yes, my cat's name is Cat) might have a dysfunctional relationship, but it's been functioning...
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There & Back Again, Part 5 – The Last Stage

There & Back Again, Part 5 – The Last Stage

"No vacation goes unpunished." ~Karl Hakkarainen "No one realizes how beautiful it is to travel until he comes home and rests his head on his old, familiar pillow." ~Lin Yutang "The whole object of travel is not to set foot on foreign land; it is at last to set foot on one's own country as a foreign land." ~G.K. Chesterton * * * When the guy across the aisle from us began discussing stabbings & which mixture of drugs enabled him to best endure such an incident, I knew that I had had enough of fucking Greyhound. We arrived at the Greyhound station in Denver after our brief stop in Amarillo.  We had 2 hours to stand in a line in front of the door where the bus would arrive.  Sucking down our mediocre & over-priced nachos, Olivier & I observed that while the bus station in Denver was larger & cleaner than what we'd grown accustomed to, being forced to watch Fox News on...
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There & Back Again, Part 1 – Paris to Pennsylvania

There & Back Again, Part 1 – Paris to Pennsylvania

It's all quite blurry now, but what I remember of it all is full of various landscapes, faces & suitcases.  There was eating, drinking, merriment &... mucous. Fucking holiday travel.  It's always a lot of planning & stress, but we had a plan - a simple plan.  There was no way that it could fail. We had a direct flight from Paris to Pittsburgh, PA.  We would rent a car, then drive 3 hours to a tiny, rural town just outside the middle-of-freaking-nowhere.  After 1 week, we would board a Greyhound bus to Colorado.  Another week there & we would fly from Denver back to Paris. There were various parties, reunions & get-togethers planned in several different locations with dozens of people. Ok, so it wasn't really such a simple plan.  Maybe we'd hit a snag here or there; 1 or 2 little things could go wrong. Or... everything could go wrong. Olivier & I woke up at 4:30am on December 20th.  I stared at the...
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