Saturday, July 26, 2014

Shop Cat

There's a new girl on the block, who visits me nearly every night and often in the mornings. I've named her Cordelia after the sympathetic daughter in Shakespeare's tragedy of King Lear who was disinherited and cast out by her father. She's a dark little tabby with some calico coloration who appeared in the neighborhood a week ago and whom I discovered to be the shop cat for the Land Cruiser™ dealership and service center across the street in front of my loading dock. She's a very charming little thing, and while she tends to interrupt my sleep at times when she comes over to visit she's more than welcome company. I'm guessing she's about a year old, and it wouldn't be at all surprised that she's one of those cats who got abandoned after her owners realized she's not a cute little kitten anymore, and would cost money to take care of and who may not put up with as much of their child's crap as she did when small and helpless — this happens more often than you may think. She's a very affectionate little critter: she loves to sleep on my chest, oftentimes kneading it as though she were making biscuits. (I've even made a silly song up to sing to her when she does this, titled “But Where's the Gravy?”) And, she's a climber, too! She leaped on my shoulder one night when she felt I was insolently paying my cigarette more attention than I was to her.

Thursday, July 17, 2014


You know, it's funny, but I remember for years and years I used to tell myself there was certain things I'd never do while living on the streets, spurning such things as if they were beneath my dignity and even ridiculing other homeless people for doing them. There is a certain ugly quality to human nature that impels us to raise ourselves up kicking others down, even if only metaphorically and cathartically. However, this time around on the streets I'm finding myself doing a couple of these things that I forswore so vehemently in past dereliction sojourns, and I can't help but wonder if maybe I'm not suffering from institutionalization and am embracing diminution.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

No Rest for the Wretched

I'm guessing I may have only gotten three hours of sleep last night. The Land Cruiser shop across the street from me saw some late-night activity manifested in engines occasionally thundering as musical motor vehicles was being played in the parking lot and the street between us, ending on dissonant note with the squealing metallic shriek of the gate being closed; Burlington Northern cast four of its freight trains out into the night, whistling plaintively (though at least I didn't get one of their engine cars trundling down the street my loading dock abuts, which happens every two or three weeks); but worst of all was the fleet of garbage and recycling trucks that roused me out of my fitful slumber at least eight times and filled me with consternation because I hadn't noticed them before and had always thought that Tuesday or Wednesday was the neighborhood's trash day. I even had my ear plugs in! So, I ended up getting hour-or-so coast-guard ration increments of sleep, starting around midnight and ending in frustrated resignation with my nose in a book at 5:30 AM, waiting for the Friendly House to open.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Forever Alone?

Not too long ago I read A Street Cat Named Bob, wherein the protagonist bemoaned his isolation from society, stating he felt utterly alone most of the time, like a ghost passing through the streets of London mostly invisible in the daylit world of suits and shopping bags. (I paraphrased perhaps somewhat egregiously; the author isn't very eloquent, though this doesn't detract from the book's overall merit — in fact, I recommend it.) Sounds familiar, doesn't it? It should: I used to tell myself this walking back from the chow hall at Ft. Gordon, an army base larger than many small cities; I've known kids in high school who thought this while texting friends in cacophonous cafeteria; in fact, I wouldn't be at all surprised if at this moment there's myriad people in shopping malls, at board meetings, attending weddings, etc. thinking the same thing. But, is this ubiquitous angst based on anything real? Sure, some of us are pretty cut off from the world around us, but for the most part each of us not only has relatives and friends — and the occasional lover — but even people locked up in prison or bed-ridden in hospital deathbeds regularly experience human contact.