Neighbor cat don’t give a ffftttt about the Covid
I have these delightful neighbors three doors down who used to “own” a cat that the neighborhood elected “Cat Mayor” by unanimous consent.
The cat’s name was Mister Furley, or rather, “Mayor Furley.”
Mayor Furley was all about his constituents. Sometimes he would come over and stroll in a carefree manner into my house like he owned the place, and wander around to rub his cheeks on things to own them like cats do. Finding all acceptably shipshape, he would go upstairs and take a nap.
Refreshed, Hizzonor would come down, stretch in down-cat yoga poses, and depart to enjoy his rich, fulfilling cat life. Often without even the proverbial tip o’ the hat (because only one cat can wear hats and we all know who he is).
I knew Mayor Furley appreciated my hospitality as much as I appreciated his availing of it. It’s like we had the perfect AirBNB relationship.
Obviously, when Cat Mayor Reelection Day came around, I had his back and he had my vote. “Furley For Our Future,” was the campaign slogan I proposed that was rejected by his campaign that somehow nevertheless prevailed.
Then one day, Mayor Furley disappeared.
Political foul play most foul? Most likely not.
We surmised he made himself at home in a flatbed Ford of a landscaping crew headquartered in a distant suburb after a crew member alluringly said, “here kitty kitty!” Mayor Furley of course couldn’t resist. He loved chasing votes more than chasing the seriously irritating blue jays outside my bedroom windows that scream at me for my audacity to live here.
In small consolation, Mister Furley likely was elected Cat Mayor or maybe to Cat Senate in his new (but obviously lesser) jurisdiction.
Then along came Charlie.
Charlie was adopted by my delightful neighbors two doors down.
By default because he’s around a lot, Charlie is the new neighborhood Cat Mayor. He’s the reluctant politician modeled by Civil War hero William Tecumseh Sherman who said, “If nominated, I will not run; if elected, I will not serve.”
Charlie’s ok. But I knew Mister Furley. Mister Furley was a friend of mine. Charlie is no Mister Furley.
First, not to be Feline Lookist, but Mister Furley wore his sleek black and white coat like an After Six tux and moved smoovy like Bond, Cat Bond. Charlie’s, um, a bit of a load, and orange/yellow and white, like the original Creamsicle. Or Seth Rogan/Jonah Hill.
But Charlie’s cooler than Mister Furley.
His personality evokes the 1959 hit by The Coasters, “Charlie Brown.” You know:
Who walks in the classroom, cool and slow?
Who calls the English teacher Daddy-O?
Suffice that Charlie’s got the louche going. He would never even consider deigning to deign to suffer fools gladly by glad-handing fools, like electable mayor cats must and love to do.
Charlie somewhat likes attention and petting, but on his terms — what he wants, when he wants it, how he wants it. If you lack feline EQ and give Charlie even a soupçon of the wrong affection, he’ll hiss in haughty high dudgeon and maybe even attack you. He’s like humans who are in the wrong relationships.
Yet, being at home with too much quarantining, I like having Charlie around.
Make that, love.
Fortunately, Charlie’s around a lot.
Charlie makes himself at home almost every day (or night?) on my backyard deck and chairs, in my garden beds, on my front porch, wherever he wants to be. Sometimes I’m startled when I step out front at 6:30 am for the paper and Charlie is there, on my entrance path, stoop or welcome mat.
He always looks up at me, unpleasantly surprised, with a miffed expression that asks, “What? What are you doing here? What do you want? Why are you going outside in your boxers? If you don’t have anything for me, if you don’t mind, then I guess we’re done here. Go about your business, as I will go about mine.” I respect that.
Charlie, of course, don’t know nothin’ about no coronacrisis Covid-19 pandemic thing.
Or the social distancing quarantining lock-downs and human illness and death. Or the overwhelmed healthcare workers and facilities desperately trying to save lives. Or the economic collapse, job and income loss, toilet paper hoarding, or lack of masks, tests, ventilators and vaccinations. Or the people not sick yet who think it’s hyped by the media. Or the millions of people who are lucky to be merely going mad from being at home too much.
Charlie also don’t know about — as one lifelong Republican who served three GOP administrations put it — our impulsive, shortsighted, undisciplined, divisive, polarizing, narcissistic, unreflective President of the United States, and his “grave, costly errors,” “false information,” “misinformation and mendacity,” and “massive failure in leadership” of the nation through this historic deadly national crisis, “that stems from a massive defect in character.” And by not only failing to lead, but misleading, this president caused too many Americans to die needlessly and actually said “not my responsibility.”
Certainly Charlie don’t care how much I miss him when I don’t see him sleepy-sunning on my back-deck chairs or commanding my front stoop.
These days when I open the door and Charlie looks up as if to say, “What? What’s your problem?” I reply, “You don’t wanna know.”
But sometimes I whine about how the whole Covid thing is emotionally “impactful,” although fortunately I’m healthy and have plenty of food and toilet paper and nobody I know has the Covid or died so why am I whining?
Charlie’s not the perfect therapist, but he takes my insurance, to borrow a joke from “30 Rock.” I suspect Charlie doesn’t give a cat’s ass what my issues are.
But Charlie’s pretty cool and that’s plenty good enough right now.
Jeffrey Denny is a Washington writer.