Saturday, December 24, 2011

Becoming a Crazy Cat Lady

When you are a teenager, there are any number of nonsensical things to worry about:  whether someone will hear you tinkle in a public restroom, whether or not your nightgown will fly up around your shoulders, exposing you to the neighbors when the aliens abduct you from your bed, if your right knee is less attractive than your left...all of the haunting questions that fill the adolescent mind leaving little or no room for things like finishing algebra homework or remembering to do the dishes.  But one thing I never worried about was whether or not I'd grow up to be a Crazy Cat Lady.

Part of this was the arrogance of youth and its general and quite reasonable disdain for anything an older person would be tempted to call a knick-knack.  Moreover, my visions of my future life came out of the books I read rather than any kind of personal insight. I was certain that when I grew up and moved out on my own I would live in a sophisticated abode where I would hold the kinds of parties where people would sip wine and quote Proust (I was a nerd, okay?) at one another while occasionally throwing envious glances at the artwork on my walls or stopping to ask about the unusual sculpture I'd picked up on my last jaunt to Argentina or Alpha Centauri to gather classified information for some mysterious government agency.  I'd quietly make sure that my weapons were well hidden under my Parisian ensemble before inviting everyone outside to gaze at the stars from my terrace.

I didn't actually know anyone with a terrace, mind you, and I wasn't quite clear about what kind of home had one, but whatever kind it was, I was going to buy it and damn well gaze at the stars from it.  Sometimes I even imagined having a house with a name like The Gables or Marmoset Manor.

At the very least I was going to have a big, remodeled house like my friend Kim (mentioned in earlier posts) has now, where I could express my excellent decorative taste.

The problem with this scenario is that it only works if you have excellent taste, and as a series of frustrated or amused roommates can attest, my taste runs to torn scifi posters, shelf after shelf of books, and floors that serve mostly as laundry receptacles.  And it doesn't matter what you have on your walls if no one can walk across the floor to see it. 

The fact of the matter is that I probably always had "Future Crazy Cat Lady" stamped across my forehead for everyone (except me) to read.  The only thing that temporarily held me back from this inglorious fate was a biological quirk:  I am highly allergic to cats. 

Mom, however, isn't.  And after my father passed away, I loaded up on allergy meds and bribed her to come live with me (which I correctly supposed would keep me from being reported to Clean House) with a kitten:

This is Leia, no longer a kitten, but still a princess, as you can see.  The thing about being owned by a cat, however, is that, as with potato chips, it's hard to stop with just one.  A few months after Leia deigned to move in, this little guy came along:

His name is Spike, not because I was trying to be ironic or because I really wanted a dog, but because my colleague, Vivian, had rescued him, his sister and his mother from living under a building on campus.  Vivian is a wonderful person, but my friend Amy and I did not trust her to name cats, so we did it for her, and Darla, Drusilla and Spike did not seem to resent being named after vampires.

Although, now that I think about it, I'm not sure how they would have told us if they had resented it.

Leia did adapt, more or less, to Spike, but she has made it clear that she's not going to share her humans with any other creatures, and she enforces her will with tooth and claw. 

But like I said, cats are addictive.  And they started to multiply.

Okay, this one is cute and was a gift from my neighbors.  He's also useful, as he's a teapot, and I actually love to make pots of tea.  But I can't see anyone discussing Proust while pouring tea from a ceramic mouse, even if I could figure out how to make petites madeleines.  In fact, it's entirely possible that a fat cat teapot is antimatter to conversations about Proust.

This is a cat kitchen timer.  You'll note that it's stuck and doesn't actually time anything.  So it lives next to the kitchen timer that actually works, a nice sleek black one that my sister gave me.  My sister who probably could stand in her kitchen and chat about the weather in Florence in the spring, if she cared about that, which she doesn't.  But the point is that she could, and her kitchen wouldn't actually repel such a conversation.  Mine would.

I had to have bookends anyway, right?  And these do look more sophisticated than cute, don't they?  Maybe?

Er, we're veering into Crazy territory with this pillow, but it was a Christmas gift for Mom and adds a note of whimsy to the living room.  I hope.  The fact that their eyes follow you around the room with a slitted gaze in a way which specifically does not remind you of the Mona Lisa is not at all likely to make you dream about a feline sequel to Hitchcock's The Birds.  Moving along...

So maybe they sell these to humans who visit Alpha Centauri.  I'm sure it will be worth lots of money in a few centuries.

Everyone needs somewhere to safely place his or her rings while doing dishes.  The fact that I neither wear rings nor do dishes is completely irrelevent.

I don't have any children, but many of my friends do, so it's only polite to keep a supply of toddler entertainment devices around.

Oh, frak.  They're breeding in the kitchen.  I'm doomed.

And then there are the Christmas cats:

The stocking holder.

The tree ornaments.

And, of course, the salt and pepper shakers.

I'm pretty sure that the salt and pepper shakers put it over the top.  This is not whimsical or charming or quirky; no, I have become a Crazy Cat Lady, and the only satisfaction I get from the whole thing is from imagining some future teenager helping my family clean out my cat-infested home when I'm an old lady retiring to Alpha Centauri.  Hopefully, by then I'll be able to afford a robot cat to take with me.

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