Just saw this (again) at the Seattle Art Museum exhibition: Elles: Pompidou
Today’s cat story, “The Asshole With a Dead Bird In It’s Mouth,” was related to me—breathlessly, I might add—by John.
It seems that John and our friend, Camille, were on one of their usual afternoon dog walks with Gomez (Cairn Terrier) and Doug the Dog (Pit Bull mix), when they noticed a nicely groomed white cat, with a dead bird clamped between it’s (satanic) little teeth, as it stood on the porch of a neighborhood house. Camille asked John to hold Doug’s leash so she could take a picture of the white cat and it’s lunch, using her iPhone. One picture. One.
No sooner did she turn her back, post-photo, holding out her hand for Doug’s leash, when the white cat dropped the bird on the Welcome mat in the same manner that certain scrappy girls at my high school would remove their hoop earrings before pummeling someone, then taking off after the four of them like it was go-time. When John said taking off he meant that the thing was moving like a Concorde leaving London Heathrow because the white cat was racing toward them, its front legs flailing wildly, claws out, in a full-on furious one-cat elevator fight. He said it looked like Steven Segal doing his best spastic faux martial arts moves, so much so that John fully expected the cat to snarl, “That’s right! You want some of this?”
John also said that he didn’t know a house cat could “run on two feet.” And, that “this must be how the paparazzi feel when they try to photograph Alec Baldwin.” Of course, he was thinking all this as he tried to protect himself and Gomez using the patented Single Leg Kick While Also Trying To Not To Turn His Back On The Attacker And Watch Out For On Coming Traffic maneuver since he, Gomez and the white cat were all in the middle of the street. As he turned to run he was thinking What sort of cat abandons its kill to pursue a grown man, a grown woman, a terrier who specializes in killing rats, and a pit bull? Wondering if the white cat had some sort of on switch activated by the appearance of an iPhone?
Further down the street, he said that the white cat was still chasing them on it’s two skinny legs, still ripping at the air with it’s front legs. Not only was it still in hot pursuit, it seemed that running away from the cat had the effect of pissing it off more, something it illustrated by delivering a claw-bitch slap across Gomez’s surprised face when it caught up to them. Camille and Doug were already across the street and halfway down the block.
It finally gave up quite a distance from the porch and the dead bird. John said he was going to go back the next day and see if it was there, like he was suddenly Riff in the original Broadway cast of West Side Story , itching for a turf war. Gomez, on the other hand, was more like the little Jewish candy store owner lecturing the Jets about violence after they pulled off Anita’s shawl (so we’ll know she’s Puerto Rican) and started tossing her around (so we’ll buy into the possibility that all those dancing Jets are going to violate her).
One day, while I was walking our dog with Camille and Doug, one of the kazillion urban chickens that lives in our urban neighborhood, was out of it’s yard and hanging around the sidewalk as they are wont to do, unnerving Camille who has a slight case of Pet PTSD. I wanted to remind her that we casually eat their kind, which I believe is a pretty effective form of domination, and, besides, it’s not like the kazillion crows that lurk around our streets, clearly bored out of their minds and looking, I’m fairly sure, for the opportunity to peck out the soft jelly of one’s eyes, but I know we all have our fears.
Later she sent me a copy of the iPhone Photo That Was Taken And All Hell Followed. She said of the picture, “Here’s the asshole with the dead bird In it’s mouth”—which now offer to you.
Apparently, assholes with dead birds in their mouths is actually a classic painting motif.
This is from another tumblr called artchipel. It is not a picture of Otis. Except he looks a lot like Otis.
Here is what I wrote in an earlier blog about our former Manx, JB:
…[she had] an alarming, rather creative anal issue that would’ve been funny had it been happening to someone else’s cat. We were told it was a “Manx thing” but I really must call bullshit because I’ve since had another Manx and there was no alarming anal business with him.
All true—until yesterday when it seems the gods were screwing around at their desks, halfheartedly checking out bad plastic surgery on the Internet, while lamenting the inability to “discover anything new online” (a fundamental flaw with being all-knowing), that they stumbled across the above statement in my blog. Hmm, they said, perking up a bit, Doesn’t she have another Manx? And isn’t that Manx in possession of an anus? Then someone called out for martinis and tacos and the next thing I knew, I was headed back to the vet with our little Manx, Otis.
Now here I must digress. I’m currently in the second month of a Self-Improvement Program where, among other things, I’m trying not to mix-and-match my waking and sleeping wardrobe, while make an effort to get out more. I happen to be one of those people who gives the impression of being more social than I am because I’m cheerful and chatty and tend to enthuse over the prospect of “getting together.” I am sincere about wanting to see people; I’m just equally sincere about wanting to stay home. Socializing is one of those things where the more you do it, the better you do it, and the less you do it, the more you gaffe, which makes you not want to go out very often, which makes you more gaffe-prone when you do go out. In short, you become your own social problem.
For example, a couple of months ago some friends of ours, who live in a large and lovely Victorian that had once belonged to something like the richest guy on the block, invited us to a dinner party. Their house is a nice blend of a couple of centuries: The structural elements of their beautifully remodeled kitchen includes 19th century wooden columns salvaged from a razed school house, and a gorgeous, repurposed wooden beam rescued from an early 20th century barn, alongside shiny restaurant-style appliances. They also removed the wall between the dining room and kitchen, playing with the whole formal/casual thing, then added a pair of French doors opening onto a deck, secluded by landscaping that looks untouched by a human hand. The entire effect is actually transporting.
The main floor bathroom, located at the end of its own small, dedicated hallway is in keeping with the elegant-modern Victorian vibe. The vintage wooden door is inset with a large sheet of glass. A bathroom door. Sheet of glass. My first thought was This is kind of crazy. Then I considered the close attention paid to the rest of the decor and thought, Or is it crazy like a hip, happening decorator? Here I must digress from my digression for a minute—I had been in a very groovy downtown restaurant a few years ago and the one-room restrooms had sliding glass doors that, when the light came on, blocked the interior view from the people waiting outside. I could see them but they couldn’t see me. It was like peeing while observing a police procedural at HQ.
So here’s the inherent problem with a bathroom that resembles something in a design magazine: I’m not quite sure what is meant to be admired and what is meant to be used. Which brings me to the fancy drapes, held back on either side of the door by what I believe are called “holdbacks”, and pooling artfully on the floor. I stood inside the bathroom, examining the drapes as if I were one of the 2001: A Space Odyssey apes puzzling over the monolith. If my hosts wanted to obscure the view, why didn’t they use textured or frosted glass? And wouldn’t some sort of window shade indicate its purpose in a way that a pair of heavy, perfectly arranged floor-length drapes using holdbacks, do not?
Then it occurred to me that this wasn’t glass glass but trick glass; a kind of wink and a nod within all this Victoriana. After all, it wasn’t as if the toilet was tucked discreetly behind a set of thick Turkish towels on a heated rack, or a refurbished locker from a colonial men’s club that now served as a linen closet. The drapes were merely the frame for the cool window.
I should add that the only illumination in the bathroom came from strategically placed lit candles, lending the interior a soft, romantica glow. Having decided that the glass was the sort of trick glass that was activated by flooding the room with light, I knew the candles were inadequate for the task and flipped on all the lights.
There I was, using the facilities—attempting to use the facilities—panicking a little over a sudden attack of pee-shyness brought on by the sense of being on display when a male guest, who I had yet to be introduced to, came to the door. I didn’t panic because I was in a well-lit bathroom and I knew, per the groovy restaurant restrooms, that I was invisible to the exterior. When the guest reached for the no-lock doorknob I called out, “Someone’s in here!” not wanting, of course, to be walked in upon.
His response was to make eye contact before offering me a little “didn’t mean to disturb you” wave as he disappeared down the hallway.
When I quickly returned to the party (if I was absent any longer Mr. Nameless Bathroom Guy may have thought he interrupted a far more involved activity—forget that I didn’t even get to do what I originally had gone in there to do so I still had to pee but didn’t feel comfortable excusing myself again when I had only just joined everyone), all the guests were at the table. I took the one empty chair to find myself next to Mr. Nameless Bathroom Guy; yes, sitting next to Mr. NBG who had last seen me…sitting.
Though we talked all evening I have no idea what was said because all I could think about was that he had seen me where he had seen me, all the lights on, while I was acting as if I were invisible—I had called out to him when he was staring right at me, like a Mistress Obvious of Indoor Plumbing—and that for all I knew he thought I was some kind of golden shower aficionado who opted not to use the very conspicuous and copious drapes that were clearly to insure privacy, and that maybe he played into my little Dinner Party Toilet Fantasy that I like to indulge in during social occasions with strangers because he had never met me before and so had no way to judge my behavior.
Back to the cat. Last week, the Cat OD prevented us from going to a barbecue that we had been looking forward to attending.
This week we had to miss out on another party for a friend of ours who had been living in New York for the past six months—all due to yet another, serious Cat Problem that I won’t elaborate upon here except to say that it was creepy, unusual, serious, and involved an anus, as was previously mentioned. And it cost $400, which I’m beginning to think is the exact cost of some recreational activity someone at the vet enjoys.
Well, at least someone is getting out.
On Sunday, I was reading the paper when our dog, Milo went into the backyard to enjoy the dusty dirt pit that she excavated for herself two summers ago. It’s shaded by the bay of a bay window with a depth that leaves her head at ground level. Even when you know it’s there, it’s still a little disconcerting to walk past a dog’s head, especially when the eyes are open. I’m tempted to blame the album cover of ”Goat’s Head Soup.”
Milo is a shortish, pleasingly rotund dog who looks a little like something assembled from the leftovers of other breeds, though she is actually an Australian Cattle Dog/miniature Australian Shepherd mix. Her mother, the Australian Shepherd, was a show dog while her father was the caddish opportunist belonging to the neighbors who commenced his brief romance with the show dog after the owner asked her TV watching teenage son, in what can only be described as an epic moment of optimism, to “watch Bunny while I take a shower.”
Milo is adorable, with her loaf-like body on short, slender legs, causing strangers to constantly say things like “Someone needs to put the food bowl down” and “Whoa, someone never misses a meal” and the ever classic “Hey, Fat Dog.” ( A woman even once said to me repeatedly, as Milo sat patiently outside a store, “Your dog looks like a pig!”) For the record, Milo has been on more diets and calorie-restricted food than a supermodel; the only things missing are the Marlboros and bulimia. Additionally, she has led an unbelievably active life that has included day hikes, camping trips, vacations at the lake, walks around the neighborhood, and two extended trips to the park every day. In short, she is like her own part-time job. But I have a theory about this: Dogs are like the Internet. People say all kinds of shit on the internet because there is no personal consequence. Insulting a dog is the same rude, cowardly behavior. I say this so you’ll know exactly what I’m thinking if you see me with Milo in the park and mistake insults for conversation.
Milo, being fourteen years old and on medication, decided to skip breakfast (as supermodels do) which I didn’t bother to pick up (as negligent pet owners do), thus providing the ideal opportunity for our seventeen year old cat, Otis, to grab a quick bite before racing out the front door as if being pursued by jackals.
But here’s the thing about Otis: along with his many idiosyncrasies is the one that I call Bowl Recognition. Bowl Recognition means that Otis will only eat, or drink, out of one of three bowls. To wit, no matter how enticing the food, if it is in an unfamiliar bowl Otis develops a food paranoia on the level of a double agent at the height of the Cold War. He’ll stare at the food, then stare at you, then back to the food. Except on Sunday when, he decided to dine out and ended up eating Milo’s codeine.
This was the moment where, for some inexplicable reason, I suddenly turned into Joan Collins, who when asked about the thirty-two year difference between herself and her significantly younger husband, said, “If he dies, he dies,” because I found myself considering handling the situation on a “see what happens basis”—even though my much-loved seven pound cat just ingested the amount of codeine calibrated for a forty-two pound dog. Incredulous almost—though not quite—covered John’s reaction, voiced with “You’d let him die?” (Side note: Seeing how your loved one handles the care and treatment of other living things is only a short leap to see how they will treat you, the biggest living thing their lives, so John’s distress may, or may not, have been limited to Otis). I immediately answered, “Of course not,” now switching it up as if John were the one to cavalierly suggest the Let’s Get On With Our Day And See What Happens School of Pet Care.
We ended up racing out to a far off animal emergency hospital where they told us that they would have to keep him on an IV for at least 8 hours, along with “giving him something to make him throw up.” Fun fact: It’s not that easy to make a cat barf. I wanted to suggest placing something of value nearby like a cashmere sweater or something in silk as an incentive. Failing that, they could always drive him down to the gas station bathroom I had to use one night December before last in the middle of nowhere in Southern Oregon.
In the end, Otis was fine. On the upside, his very terrible day of nausea medicine, constant IVs, and living in a hospital cage pretty much played into his near constant belief that we are but abusers waiting to gleefully abuse him. For all I know, this validation was a kind of gift for him. For $406.00. Happy Birthday, Oats.
How much do I love Girls? I love it so much. I swoon a little over the rather brilliant dialog. I adore the perfection of the cast and characters. It’s breezy, oh-this-old-thing aspect is so convincing that it leaves no doubt as to how much work and artistry is actually involved. It’s a bit like the old Dolly Parton quote that it takes a lot of money to look this cheap.
To be clear: I am not the demographic for Girls. If you want to locate my demographic imagine the weird wasteland that lay outside the house in the movie Beetljuice. Now picture Geena Davis and Alec Baldwin running in terror from the giant sand worm that roams this particular limbo. Now go ahead and replace the sand worm with that commercial about the woman who is portrayed as a stick figure of leaky pipes—you know the one where she goes to lunch, then rides an elevator, then walks down the street completely self-conscious because her entire urinary tract system is really just crappy plumping in a slumlord’s rental? Or try the commercial with the Cialis couple who spend their down time lounging outside in matching bathtubs while holding hands. (Fun Fact: When a friend of mine turned fifty, she asked her “landscaper”, a self-important, draw string pants-wearing, ah! India! feng shui gasbag if she could take a bath in the bathtub he had in his garden. So maybe there is a whole swath of middle-aged Americans with garden bathtubs that I was unaware of, though I suspect he had the tub in the garden for the same reason that we had an old claw foot tub in our yard when we bought our house: Because someone was too lazy or too cheap to haul its two-ton ass away. But, really, isn’t leaving your discarded bathtub on the lawn is really just one step from putting your car permanently on blocks.) Still not there? Then allow me to introduce Jamie Lee Curtis and her willingness to publicly announce her views on bowel evacuation. Really, toss in a Beano ad and I think all bases due south of your own personal border will be covered. In any case, it seems these are my people.
But the fact is that the emotional world of Girls is so sharp and true that it transcends age as it cuts to that elusive universal experience that is essential to art. The great thing about art is that it doesn’t just live in a single time zone or, to put it another way, the great thing about Girls is how much of it I recognize. It isn’t simply that these city girls and their adventures and sentimental educations recall my own city girl youth (that wouldn’t be art; that would be nostalgia) but that they depict a timelessness. You could probably find four young women in New York during World War II and one would be the girl who loves the man who loves her though she is no longer in love but is engaged to him anyway; the virgin; the glamor girl who is the resident free spirit; and the girl who is less definable because her primary quality is that of observer/writer/dreamer. Or, to take it back even further, the March sisters of Little Women comprise the pretty girl who finds love with the decent man (Meg), the adventurous, vaguely amoral girl trading on her pretty face (Amy), the saintly virgin (Beth), and Jo March, who is writing it all down.
So what else do I love? Hannah (“A voice of a generation”) who is involved with a guy who is all kinds of wrong with some aspects of all kinds of right thrown in, so what appears to be a questionable choice quietly becomes something less expected. The guy’s a terrific character, not to mention that the relationship is almost like a Rorschach in real time. In almost any other sitcom, Hannah would be limited to constant self-deprecation and irony, while the boyfriend would be less fundamentally strange. His actions and reactions would be tempered, as if his idiosyncrasies are no more than a persona he assumes; as if underneath all his sometimes difficult eccentricity is someone you could take home to mom. Dunham knows better. She understands that this character’s inner self isn’t less profane or selfish than we think—he is as he seems to be—but that along with the unvarnished sex and ego is tenderness. It’s an unexpected revelation when it comes, as is Hannah’s unexpected reaction. Their relationship, given what usually happens on shows like this, is realistic to the point of seeming almost radical.
Marnie is the responsible girl, self-supporting with the wonderful boyfriend. He’s the sweetheart who gives all the right gifts because he knows her that well and loves her that much; yet Marnie cannot admit that her love for him has lost its erotic charge and become familial. Even when she describes his touch as that “of a creepy uncle,” she’s still the Good Girl who can’t go back on her promise to love and cherish, unable can she admit that True Love just may have an expiration date after all.
Also radical is the nudity and the sex and the look of the actors—all of which play against the accepted (and expected) Hollywood-type. Not that the cast isn’t appealing by any standard, but the physical range is broader. In Girls, the writing and characterizations are the locus where we find attractiveness: no one is without his or her charms.
The best-party-of-your-life is the episode where everything shifts and deepens. Hannah moves beyond the tunnel-vision of how she is treated by her guy friend when she is forced to examine how she thinks of him (or doesn’t think of him). Marnie would rather whine and demand sympathy rather than acknowledge her own selfishness when it comes to the boy whose heart she just broke. Jessa’s cavalier attitude fails when she ends up in the emergency room with her employer who was jumped by two men that Jessa brazenly taunted. When she tells him, as thin consolation, that they can “still be friends,” he replies, now sadder and wiser himself, that they were never friends. It’s a sobering moment.
Shoshanna is the only one who isn’t made to face her flaws and is rewarded with the man who will finally relieve her of her virginity (her “biggest baggage”). That this cynical guy finds himself entranced by this sweet, slightly unconventional girl, is a terrific moment. It’s a sort of perfect illustration of how we fall for the least likely people in the space of an instant, when we weren’t even thinking about love at all. This is what makes Girls timeless. This is what makes it art.
And it’s so fucking funny.
Happy Birthday, Julia Child!
Like Julia, I was raised in Pasadena, albeit in a different era—but let me say that enough of the past lingered to understand why she wanted to leave (or why I believe she wanted to leave, though I couldn’t say for sure). I loved growing up in Pasadena for reasons I won’t go into here, and I wanted to get away as quickly as I could. So there you go.
I do not cook (I’m more of an assembler, that is to say, I’m a salad and sandwich maven). I did attempt cooking at one point in my life and was politely to asked by any and all who sat at my table, not to repeat the attempt. So I did the next best thing, and married an incredible cook who had worked as a professional chef.
While I did not in any way emulate Ms. Child in the kitchen, I did in another area of her life which is represented by this homemade valentine (anyone who knows John and me will know what I mean). I had always thought it was such a cool idea to send valentines to friends instead of Christmas cards. I once thought, many many years ago, that John and I would follow suit (he was unaware of this decision) but didn’t follow through because, really, isn’t Julia Child a hard enough act to follow?
One evening, my friend Esme and I were at South Coast Plaza in Orange County, when we noticed a rather long line coming out of the door of Rizzoli’s bookstore—which was a wonderful bookstore. We discovered that Julia Child was signing copies of her new book ”The Way To Cook” and decided to get in line. Neither of us cooked, but we had both grown up with Julia Child on TV.
A representative of the store told everyone in line that they were hold out their book, have Julia sign and move on. That she would not dedicate any of her signings was a disappointment since I was buying the book for John. It was in the spirit of maintaining absolute silence and no requests that I came to be standing in front of Julia. She watched me for a minute, with my book open before her, as if she expected me to say something. I wanted to; I think she would’ve signed it to John but I chickened out. It was a moment where I was thinking, This is Julia Child and Wow, she’s tall. Even sitting you could tell how big she was. After she signed, she waited, watching me again. (I have to say there were many people in front of me and many behind me, so I was aware of the need to keep things moving.) She seemed unconcerned with the line and asked, “How are you?” in that trademark trill. I think I mumbled, Fine, before blurting, “I think you’re great!” And she said, with a smile, “And you’re very nice.”
John loved the book, which is a First Edition, signed (though not to John), and a mess from all the years of use. The dust jacket is stained and spotted and worn; all the edges of the pages are stained. When you see it and realize the value of a signed First Edition w/dust jacket of what I believe was her bestselling book, then see the years it has spent in our various kitchens through all the stains and the occasional warped page and tiny tears, you have to think to yourself, this is how she would’ve wanted it.
(The List of Cats I Have Live With in My Life continued)
7. Kali Mountain: She was a two-year old snowshoe, rescued from the SPCA in San Francisco by John. She was also the hippest cat I’ll ever know. A party cat, a shoulder-riding cat, an engaged audience who looked as if she cared when someone was trying on all the clothes in her closet and complaining about the body that she now, many years later, wishes she still had because, frankly, it would’ve been bathing suit season all year long. Kali was also smart and beautiful and excellent company. She’s the cat I’ll never quite get over.
8. JB: Also from the San Francisco SPCA. We got her at six weeks. She was a little white Manx, totally tailless, with one blue eye and one green eye and a permanent expression of worry on her little cat face.
We nicknamed her Investment Kitty because of the sixteen years of vet bills. Her list of ailments were: Ring worm, loss of tiny patches of hair due to a flea allergy even though she seldom had fleas; a brief, youthful flirtation with worms, and an alarming, rather creative anal issue that would’ve been funny had it been happening to someone else’s cat. We were told it was a “Manx thing” but I really must call bullshit because I’ve since had another Manx and there was no alarming anal business with him.
JB was shy and skittish; to wit, you couldn’t read in the same room with her or she would react to the turning of the page as if you were trying to staple her to the wall. Bolting From a Room was her primary form of exercise. She didn’t know how to play so if you dangled a cat toy in front of her, she was both fixated and terrified, as if she thought, “It begins with the dangled cat toy then progresses immediately to animal vivisection.”
She adhered to her own personal seasons. Winter found her sleeping behind a specific chair in the living room. In Spring she made her way into the upper cupboards in the kitchen in order to curl up on the stack of dinner plates. Summer, her peak season of inexplicable behavior, had her refusing to come inside the house to eat; she would mournfully meow through the open door while looking longingly inside, as if there our bungalow apartment had become a space pod with an invisible forcefield that prevented her from entering. Her days were spent sleeping under cars parked out on the baking California street, their warm oil dripping all over her snow white fur, creating a kind of furry Surrealist ice cream sundae effect. Thank god for Fall when her preferred sleeping spots were the wheel wells of trucks, alternating with getting trapped in various neighbors’ garages.
For all her time spent outside, she still needed a cat box since she only liked to use her own bathroom. We could’ve gotten rid of the box, but that wouldn’t have meant that she would take the hint and go outside. Bascially, the cat box was like an extortion payment for being urine, etc. hostages.
One final note about JB: Being tailless she hopped like a rabbit, instead of running like a normal cat, causing people to ask us if she was a “cabbit.” A cabbit. Related, I believe, to the jackalope. That many people believed our pet was the spawn of a rabbit and a cat eventually offered a a great deal of unwanted insight into some of the voting preferences in this country.
9. Pooh: Pooh was my roommate’s cat. He was an excellent cat until he went after my roommate’s parakeet, Pinot. She was out of town when the attack occurred (witnessed by Kali and JB who chose to act like urban crime witnesses who “didn’t want to get involved”). I rushed Pinot to the vet who assured me that, a few missing feathers aside, he would be “fine.” The vet should have added “for the next few hours.” When I checked on him after work, just before my roommate was due back, Pinot was as far from “fine” as a bird can get. While he was a good parakeet as parakeets go, I’m ashamed to confess that I wished he had decided to be not “fine” before I spent the time cleaning in and around his cage.
10. Otis: Our current cat. Another Manx because seemingly John and I are slow learners. Otis is a small, handsome cat with tiny Scottish Fold ears and beautiful striped markings. Though he is nearly seventeen years old, he looks remarkably young. He’s like Dorian Gray young. And like Dorian Gray, it appears that he traded his moral center for perpetual youth. The guy was a killer. Until he was thirteen, he treated our yard like private game reserve. John bagged so many tiny bodies he stopped even mentioning it; our property was a combination dog poop (we have a pair of dogs) and corpses.
Like JB, Otis is very hard to live with because he acts like a barely survived some particularly dreadful and ongoing abuse, always cringing and bolting and completely incapable of approaching an open door as anything other than a well-timed escape. (If he were abused, we would have to be the abusers since we’ve had him since he was eight weeks old and frankly, John and I are too easily bored to torture a cat. It isn’t exactly a challenge.) There is the terror of cat toys, and the inability of eating like a regular cat. First, he meows to be fed; then, after you’ve filled his bowl, you have to catch him to get him near his bowl (which we keep elevated because of our two dogs), even though he wants to eat. Petting poses another challenge in that he wants your attention but cannot tolerate your attention. So when he gets really desperate, he hunkers down and digs his nails into the rug to prevent himself from bolting. I’ll wait while you reread that phrase.
Also like JB, he has a seasonal schedule where he likes to begin his summer day at 3:30 am. (The winter schedule is 5:00 am.) He meows downstairs until he wakes one of us. Then, as one of us stumbles down the stairs, he briefly emerges from the shadows of the dining room, through the living room as if he is beelining it for the front door. BUT his fear of the open front door kicks in just in time for him to recede back into the shadows of the living room. So, you try sweet talk, then cursing, then chasing. The chase includes circling through the kitchen, dining room and living room—all of which open into each other. This must be done three times. Then one must hold the front screen open while standing as far from it as possible, while Otis keeps eyeing you with fear and suspicion. Suddenly, he will race out the door. All of this. At. 3 o’clock. In the morning. Every morning. Except in Winter, when it happens at 5 o’clock. In the morning.
The guy is a jerk. But you know how it is—he’s our jerk.