These are the pussycats of my neighbors. The little red one is named Finn. I can’t remember the name of the giant gray kitty, which is embarrassing. She adores me!
For the past week, I’ve been off work at the unnamed university, where offices are closed. I really needed a break from the confines of the office, where one of my co-workers is deeply depressed and has been for some time. I tried talking to her about depression and how it makes us feel helpless, angry and anti-social. Caught in the feedback loop that is believing something is wrong but nothing can be done about it, she actually argued with me that everything would go on as it had. The best I could do was introduce the topic into conversation, so when I had, I walked away. A minute or two later, the woman who sits next to my depressed co-worker gently put a xerox down on my desk: an article called Adversity Has Been a Familiar Force in My Life. Thus, we trap the depressed in the prison of our denial because their illness calls our health into question.
The family store has been another matter, as Anya and I sometimes rang up purchases and gift-wrapped, as fast as we could for hours on end leading up to Christmas. Since then, the store has been a little more normal. I’m getting ready to go there now. Topaz and Drusy are being very helpful. They’re napping in the other room, as opposed to untying my sneakers as fast as I tie them – unless they’re not sleeping. Pete suspects they’re building a rocketship behind the headboard. I keep saying nobody’s that neat, and I’d certainly be vacuuming up little tools.
The large gray cat used to be part of a matched set of large gray cats. They weren’t just large. They were LARGE. When you have two cats at a combined weight of about 50 pounds you have a reason to fear for your china. And the china cabinet. Fortunately, they were mild-mannered and never nabbed the car keys. Last winter, the other large gray cat took the dirt nap, and recently, Finn came to live with my neighbors, who dote on him endlessly. They described him as a kitten but if he’s a kitten I’ll eat my shoes. I’ll keep my wager to myself, though: Finn’s got it made, and I’m not the kind to let the cat out of the bag.