Monday, February 16, 2009

If I Could Talk to the Animals

Last night I was flipping through the channels and came upon some old, black and white film where a woman very World War 2 era clothes was doing a swirl turn in front of her friend, saying, "Oh Gawd, no! I don't want to wind up being one of those old women who sits at home and talks to her cats." It's a funny line. In fact, with some level of embarrassment, I suspect I've used the phrase myself. But why is that bad?

Some more deep confessions and introspection. I talk to my pets. All of them. Just this week we lost one of our cats.

I had to start another paragraph because that last sentence was a lie. We didn't lose Fat Cat (as most of us called her) so much as I gave up. She was old, diabetic and no longer had much in the way of any quality of life, but I gave up on the fight. She could have pushed on a bit further, but I bailed out on her. I'm finding it hard to deal with that. But my talking to animals started long ago.

It used to be that I only talked (at least out loud) to my dogs and cats when my wife was out of town. Then I began doing it when I was downstairs and she was still asleep upstairs. Now she frequently comes out to ask me what I just said and I have to admit that I was talking to one of the animals. Have I gone around some bend?

Aside from my spouse I have very little desire to speak face to face with anyone else anymore. I enjoy talking to to my two dogs and (now) three cats. We have fascinating conversations... or at least I do. I suspect they play along with the script because I'm the one that puts the food down every day. If they had opposable thumbs and a credit card, some of them likely wouldn't give me the time of day.

I've also lost interest in politics since our Fat Cat passed away. That may not sound like a big deal to you, but in my other incarnation I am actually paid to watch politics, to read about politics, to talk about and write about politics. Losing interest in it is inherently damaging to my long term prospects. But there you are. What I think about now - when I'm not talking to my pets - is fishing.

I combine the two and imagine situations where I can have both dogs and all three cats on the edge of some river or pond and I fish and explain to them what I'm doing. Then we argue. We always argue. We argue about food and the weather and what the neighbors are doing. We debate whether it's a good time to go for a walk, how the various snacks are going over or why I'm screaming at some horrible program on the television.

I'm going to have dinner, read something, and talk to my pets. If you could talk to the animals, what would you say? Probably something different than you say to the myriad people in your lives. At least I hope so... most of them are idiots.

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