A tale of cat turds and extra sensory perception

Last night, it was snowing like a bastard so I went outside and moved my car to make it easier to get out when I left for work this morning. I cleared the snow off the car, hopped in, and started it up. Then I smelled the strong, pungent, unmistakable stench of shit in my car, like I had stepped in it and brought the foul stuff into the vehicle with me. But, strangely enough, I hadn’t. There was no shit anywhere. Not on my boots, not in my car, not anywhere I had walked in the snow. I shrugged and put it out of my mind, and finished what I was doing.

I went back inside the house a minute or so later to find Jenn coming down the stairs, holding our cat as far away from herself as she could, proclaiming that he had just shat in our bed, and was continuing to shit as she carried him outside. That’s right, the cat shit in our bed. He’s an old barn cat named Masuku who has always loved to come inside whenever we allow it, and Jenn thought we should bring him in last night on account of the inclement weather. But I guess it’s been so long since he’s been inside that he has forgotten what is expected of him there, and Jenn said she walked into our bedroom to see him squatting right in the middle of all our blankets, confidently releasing his bowels into our most intimate of spaces. It wasn’t like he was terrified and spraying diarrhea; no, these were fully-formed solid turds he was depositing, and continued to deposit as Jenn rushed down the stairs with him.

That will be the last time Masuku is ever allowed in the house. He really went out in a blaze of glory. Much manic cleaning ensued.

That’s a gross little story in itself but for me, the most fascinating aspect of this debacle is that I inexplicably smelled shit in my car right around the moment Masuku shat in my bed. How strange. I was just saying to someone recently that there was a period in my life a few years ago where I experienced several strange coincidences that really made me go, “whoah, this is spooky.” I wrote about some of those things here and here. I’ve gone a long time without experiencing anything spooky so as much as I want to puke at the memory of our damn cat shitting in our bed and down the stairs, I have to be grateful for — and try to focus on — the cool, mysterious experience related to it.

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Huh. Apparently it’s a thing. How about that.

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“fur babies”

i hate the term “fur babies” but i’ve been thinking about animals acting as stand-in children. i’ve decided that while annoying and cutesy, “fur babies” is a fairly appropriate title for the pets of people like myself.

i mean, i like kids just fine. i worked with them for years, teaching swim lessons and working as a leader in youth groups and summer day camps. i thought i hated kids until i did those jobs, and then i realized i love working with them. they’re brutally honest, but never with any devious intentions. i remember when i cut my hair one time, and all the swim lesson kids were shocked. some of them said, “i liked your long hair better.” and i didn’t care that they didn’t like my new haircut, because what i loved was that they were being so god damn honest with me. i appreciated that. meanwhile, all the adults i know would says stuff like, “well, that looks, uh different,” or they’d make some over the top swooning comments like, “no, no, i like it, it really makes your eyes stand out more. it’s just hard to get used to such a big change, i mean, your hair was, like, YOU, you know?…” some bullshit like that. as if i can’t handle the truth that some dowdy middle-aged woman i have zero sexual interest in doesn’t like my haircut.

i’m ranting. back on track: i also love how kids find everything fun. they love the simplest games, even just running around madly. they use their imaginations like crazy. i get a vicarious thrill when i see something blow their mind for the first time. little kids are just awesome.

then they become teenagers.

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awkward, surly, gangly, testy, greasy, horny, disgusting teenagers. i’m not interested in dealing with that for 7 years straight.

and then they become adults.

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making poor choices when they should know better, consuming like crazy with zero understanding of the effect their appetite for junk has on the rest of the world, having political stances i can’t accept, being boring…most children will turn into a person i have no interest in maintaining any sort of relationship with. i’m just not that good at unconditional love.

that’s pretty heavy stuff, and it’s a big part of why i’m not up for having kids. the investment is massive, and the likelihood that they won’t live up to my ridiculous standards is so high that it’s a foolish gamble.

but dogs, cats, chickens, goats…that’s a whole other story. even as seniors, they are joyful subordinates, content in their dependent roles. they are pleased with the simplest things — walks, laying in the sun, occasional affection from their master. they are perpetual children, but even as such, they are also independent enough that you can leave them at home and not have to worry about the place burning down while you’re out, or your beers mysteriously vanishing from the fridge. in contrast to the high investment and high risk of disappointment of kids, pets are low investment and low risk. i’m sure many would argue raising a human is more satisfying but i don’t know about that. i spend an awful lot of time in my yard, just staring at my chickens as they scratch around and eat bugs. i find it immensely satisfying. i can’t imagine feeling much better than that. and i don’t even have to change their diapers or pick them up from the drunk tank after a night of ‘experimenting.’

really, it’s just the expression “fur babies” — not the idea behind it — that bothers me. i should just come up with a less objectionable term. adopted animal child, non-human surrogate progeny…there, i like that last one. it’s got a ring to it.

high expectations

this is a counterpoint to my previous post, which is pretty obvious and doesn’t really need to be said but i feel like saying it anyway.

in contrast to having my low expectations routinely exceeded, i have had a lot of my high expectations severely disappointed. it happened at work the other day. i met a woman who seemed pretty interesting and intelligent. i thought, “wow, neat. a cool person.” we talked for a while, or she talked a lot and i listened. that got old after a while but i figured i was probably more curious about her than she was about me so whatever. then she said a few things that were a little out there, some real hippie dippy bullshit, and i thought “this is going downhill fast.” then she told me that she doesn’t tell many people this but she speaks with the pope’s spiritual advisor on a regular basis.

so she doesn’t tell many people, except for virtual strangers she just met 15 minutes ago? give me a break. she probably tells every cat she owns, multiple times a day, and they care about as much as i do.

needless to say, i didn’t like her much in the end. i thought to myself afterward, “fuck, that was disappointing.” but she really did start strong so i feel like i shouldn’t blame myself for believing she might be cool, but i can’t help it. my sense of failure is overwhelming, even in this minuscule case. i should have been more conservative in my initial appraisal. fuck me and my latent optimism.

[as a side note, i just learned that spelling minuscule ‘miniscule’ is the old world way, and ‘widely regarded as an error,’ according to merriam-webster.com. i’ve been living a lie for all these years.]

back on point. i run into this too often, liking new people more than they deserve, giving films a chance, looking forward to anything at all, etc, and then being bitterly disappointed. so i’m going to make a point to try to be even more cynical and less hopeful than ever before. it’s the only way i will ever attain any sort of consistent happiness.

i feel better than ever!