Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Relationship Dissonance

It's just after 4:30 in the morning, and the cat woke me up--the rain and thunder were scaring him. I tried to explain that rain in Texas during a drought is an excellent thing, but he wasn't having any. So, I'm up and writing, and he's curled at my feet, happy that I'm awake to guard him from the big, bad, loud thing outside.

We had an incident tonight that reminded me that no matter how much you care for those around you, you can still want to kill them.

Those of you who have been around for more than a minute will recall that I broke into my house through the guest bathroom window earlier this year (see post here). I never bothered to replace the screen in that window because it's turned out to be a convenient way for Bob the Cat to come and go when I'm home and working. I just leave the window open for him. From inside the house, he jumps up on the bathtub and then it's an easy three-foot jump to the window sill. From outside the house, it's closer to a five-foot jump, but he loves the easy in-and-out access and doesn't quibble about having to work for it.

I returned home from the gym around 8:00 PM last night, opened the window and sat down to write. A few minutes later, I heard Bob land on the sill rather heavily and then make an even louder bounce on the bathroom floor, but he's sixteen tons ... I mean, sixteen pounds ... and you've gotta expect a little noise.

I didn't look up from my manuscript when he whined at the study door. I was vaguely aware of him entering the room and sitting down at my feet. He continued to whinge, but I was engrossed and just shushed him. He made the grousing sound that means he's annoyed, and I responded with "Just a second, baby."

I finally finished the paragraph I was obsessing over, looked down at him and S*C*R*E*A*M*E*D!!!

Inches from my bare feet was a dead squirrel with a very proud Bob looming over it.

I leaped up and over both corpse and cat, wailing like a banshee.

And here's where the relationship dissonance comes in. Bob clearly intended the squirrel as a gift, one which showed off both his hunting prowess and his love for me. After all, he'd had to work very hard to get that squirrel up to the window and then all the way through the house to reach me.

I, on the other hand, could only see a dead body lying on my carpet. I'd already made the mental leap to, "OMG, I'm going to have to pick that thing up to get rid of it." I was not a happy camper and, as soon as he realized I wasn't going to coo over him with pride, neither was Bob.

I'll spare you the terrible details of cadaver removal beyond saying that it required rubber gloves, large black garbage bags (plural; we double bagged) , and a lot of girlish squeals. Bob moved from puzzlement to rage as I yelled a stream of abuse at him while discarding his prize outside the back fence where the trash men will pick it up.

I was still scrubbing my hands like Lady Macbeth when my youngest brother called. He (a liberal) was watching the Republican debate and wanted to tell me about Michele Bachmann ridiculing Herman Cain's 999 tax plan by saying, when "turned upside down" 999 becomes 666, Satan's number.

I vented about the cat and the squirrel only to have my brother express male solidarity with Bob, whom he felt was just trying to please me. My outrage made him laugh harder, and he suggested I should have hung the body outside as a warning to other squirrels who might trespass on my property.

He was still laughing when I hung up on him.

I called my middle brother to pass along the Bachmann comment. I was pretty sure that he--the hardline Republican--would be watching the baseball game while our youngest brother--the sports writer--would be watching the Republican debate. Go figure.

Sure enough, he was watching the Rangers play the third of their post-season games. I made some comment about the assorted nuts the Republicans had packaged for this election season. He, in turn, offered to come down and show me how to skin the squirrel Bob had scored.

I've decided that inter-gender dissonance is more aggravating than inter-species dissonance.

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