I am incensed. Incensed. Which is a very good thing as this is as much human feeling I’ve had in a week.
No, I did not have the divine gift (for that is what it should be) to experience life as a cat. That would have infinitely preferable. How such quiet little mammals can be so damned persuasive is a mystery to me. They give you these hurt expressions all the time, and we slavishly 1) cuddle them more. 2) feed them more, 3) pick up and put on lap, 4) talk to it in baby talk because baby talk appears to relax said cat, 5) give it a treat, 6) brush and comb cat with the luxurious coat, but it’s never enough even if you spend the entire day working on it, 7) put cat in your bed where it promptly deigns to give you a tiny corner without blankets while they manage to take up the rest of the whole damned thing.
But we love them.
But, no I haven’t been a cat this week. I think I’ve been a shadow of my former self. (I mean I’m already a shadow of my former self, but I’m wispy. Partially transparent? And I don’t mean that I’m compelled to show all. No, I mean transparent. I said to Chip last week, “I think I’m disappearing.” He didn’t much like this one bit.
I wanted to see no one. Ever. I didn’t want to do anything with my time. Ever. I certainly had no interesting the internet. Woohoo. I really failed to see the point of any of these things. And if I continued to fade away into the ether, who besides my immediate family would notice? Not for a long while. I’d be like one of those mummified corpses that are found time to time. (Either that, or a really stinking corpse, and one of the doormen would be forced to check out what was going on in 4R, because 5R was really getting annoyed at the putrid smell coming from somewhere below.)
I got an absolutely lovely letter from a literary agent who went to Paul D. Schreiber High School of the Port Washington Union Free School District. This dude was a literary agent as soon as he was able to talk and became a partner in his Dad’s business. He also happened to be a very good friend of Doug. It’s now a big muckety-muck agency, and he agreed to check out Since When. The dude read 200 pages. 200 pages! That’s unheard of. He said I was a wonderful writer, but in it’s current form, as this mega-family epic, he couldn’t sell it. (He must he been an awfully good friend of Doug's.) Of course he couldn’t! How I wish I could give him a big smooch for his candor.
People often forget that candor goes a long way in this world. What does Judge Judy say (what doesn’t she say, that Solomon of the airwaves?), “You don’t need a good memory if you tell the truth.” I think that’s brilliant. I had a boss who was pathologically unable to say the truth even when there was no damned good reason to lie. She get herself all tangled in it, and had Chip make “all better.” Chip is no sorcerer. When he wasn’t, he was left to eat the shit she left in her wake. There’s a lot Chip doesn’t miss about Grace & Rothschild. But we met some really incredible people there. Pathological lies and all, it was a magical place. No one I know has ever had an experience like we all had there. So I gave up a fat career by not leaving, but I couldn’t leave these great people for some high-paying job at any other agency. We were unique. And we’re all still friends. Creepy, yes?
But let’s get back to mummification and transparency. I wasn’t even depressed. (Well not in its usual manifestation.) I could finally accept that I loathed my days. I hated “exercising.” (I move my arm, that’s cardio.) I also had to walk the hallways until I gasp and cough, gasp and cough, (etc,) until I was able to breathe and do the whole fucking thing over again. (Mind you, I’m not doing this on my own. Chip walks besides me with the mega tanks of oxygen I need to attempt a “walk.” I guess, you guys, when the weather’s nice, strolling is out of the question. Sorry. But I can get wheeled about in my cute little wheelchair though I’m still tethered to mega oxygen tanks. I look simply adorable. (When I’m wearing my oxygen mask- in addition to the cannula in the nose- I swear I resemble- okay only slightly- Hannibal Lector when he’s wearing his muzzle.) I thlnk that’s a hoot. Though Hannibal Lector was never a look I was going for, when you got it, baby, flaunt it.
But let’s head on back where we started (this post does have a beginning if you’ve forgotten. (If you weren’t sick like me, you would have forgotten or recognized this beginning as anything other than a couple of sentences I’d soon forget having written.. I forget everything now. I make no judgements either way.)
I have never liked my next door neighbor. She is a nervouse chahlairya (per my mother from Leah in Florida). Her husband had terrible bowel issues and has had a colostomy bag several times in his relatively short life. (Too much information! Yeah, right.) The two of them are our age? Could it be? Sure can. Isn’t that just terrible? /but I’ve found, through his misery, he’s a very pleasant man and looked forward to bumping into me and chatting. This man is not a chatter. His wife, a Long Island pediatrician, is another story. They have two kids. The older one looks just like her mother and seems like a major pain in the ass. The younger looks just like Dad and appears to be rather normal and pleasant. The nanny (with her Island accent) often mutters under her breath about the older one. Never the younger.
Chip and I seem to schedule my hall walks (the big cardio of the day), when Mama is going in, out, to the compactor room and she does either of two things: when I’m in my full Hannibal Lector gear and Chip is carrying the heavy-duty oxygen tanks, she seems to think she’s cheering me on somehow by loudly exclaimed “Faster! Faster!” with a big smile on her face. Now in my day, I walked fast because I live in NYC and many of us do that here. She knows my diagnosis and the uselessness of my speeding up my already quick(ish) pace. Fuck, I’m not a cripple in the usual meaning of the word. My lack of lung function makes me a cripple and the fun mental issues that appear permanent (more on these in a later post- when I’m not too low to talk about them. Oy.)
“Faster! Faster!” Is distracting. It’s not cute. It’s not funny though she seems to think so as she shoots us a big grin when she opens her fucking mouth. But this is annoying. It does not make me incensed rude as it might be. (You realize that every single atom of my body has to focus on this walk or I won’t be able to complete it. Frankly, if that happened, I’m not sure how I’d finish. I suppose I could always crawl back in.)
No, my neighbor lady doesn’t like cats. She’s not allergic. I think she’s just one of those people who are weirded out by mammals living amongst them or anyone else. Chip wants to lock the cats up for my little walks. Yes, Conway would love to slip into anybody’s apartment. Cleo, not so much. But Conway is the large, fuzzy fourteen pound boy, As cats go, perhaps he’s imposing. Neither cats are at all mean, but if you stick a finger in Conway’s face, he looks at it as an invitation to bite it. How fun!
But I really like when the cats come into the hallway with us. This lady sees Conway, out of her mouth comes , “Cat! Cat!” She is farblonjid and must be attended to before the cripple walking the fucking hallway. Chip leaves me leaning against a wall while he digs Conway out of the compactor room. Poor lady. She could put away those smelling salts. She was saved from the big, nasty puddy cat. Thank the lord!
I was beyond livid. While walking, my back pain is dull and tolerable. (People are so resourceful. I guess we’re like the frog or lobster placed in warm water which slowly gets hotter and hotter. For awhile they adjust to the warmer water. Hey, gotta make the best of it, right? They try and keep swimming. Yeah, until they’re parboiled and ready to eat. Yum!).
Leaning on that wall made my back pain shoot up seventy-two notches. But was I relieved my neighbor was taken care of and saved from the evil feline. If we were both on the Titanic, I’d shove her ass off (even now I know I could take her) the lifeboat and squish Chip and the cats in. Maybe as she treads water seconds before freezing to death, I’ll call out to her showing my pearly whites, “Faster! Faster!”
When this was all over, I was batshit. Chip is afraid Conway will go off in an open elevator never to be seen again. He has a point. But what are the odds that’s going to happen? I don’t think they’re very high. Then again, neither were the odds of my getting ARDS?. At the very least, I want the damned cats to join me on my walks. Fuck you, lady.