All the houses in the new developments are the color of graham crackers with about as much variety as you’d find in the grocery store, the only difference is in the finishes.
The CD player on the Honda Pilot keeps spitting out discs and it feels like I’m pilling a cat, sticking it in to make it swallow. But I got our cat and dog home safely from Germany, via the Hanjin global logistics company and Eberhard, who coordinated and paid for everything — after having to leave them in the Frankfurt airport late April, Ginger deemed unfit to fly, too much Tranquilene.
And just as we got back, Ginger rubbed her back on the grass in the front lawn, then again on the carpet in the den, as if to soak up the scents of home — and the cat went off to preen herself in a private spot, and I’d hoped Ginger would do a better job of cleaning her off than I did because she’d shat herself on the plane and I don’t blame her, with all those union workers standing around smoking and spitting, waiting on bureaucrats, inspectors with stamps and forms, department-of-this, department-of-that…none of it in our best interest…and it reminded me of buying our car in Germany and getting it registered, how easy and quick it was: after waiting 15 minutes and filling out some paperwork, we’d paid for it, picked out what we wanted on our license plate, and just walked 50 meters across the way to a trailer where they made the plates right there while you wait, and I thought it must be easier for Germany to be so efficient like that because they’re a smaller country, but what a difference it would make for ours.
As the cat and dog lay side by side in the den the clock tolled half past five and I wondered if the sound was familiar to them; Ginger seemed to smile, and the tip of Roxy’s tail tapped the floor the way a contented foot might — she smelled less and less as the night wore on (or maybe I just got used to it), stood for a while on my lap as if making a show of it, whether she’d sit down for a bit, and I could feel her feet were cocked, ready to spring if the mood wasn’t right — but she circled three times to check the perimeter in that primitive, pack way and then sat down, settled.
I must be projecting on them but the way they look at me feels so heavy and wise, burdened by the distance they’ve come: all of us, especially them, look older now, slower.
In a similar way as our kids, they’ve grown closer because they became each other’s continuity — which is all we are to one another, to anyone we care about and many, we don’t — we’re someone else’s past whether we want to be or not through all we’ve seen and done together, it gets mixed as do our lives, by what we remember.
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That last paragraph is pretty close to the theme of a novel I’m working on. Even if some of us aren’t particularly delighted to be in each other’s company, we’re the witnesses who can corroborate the stories.
That’s one tired-out kitty too …
Cool Kevin, I like it. Thanks for reading. Bill
That efficiency sounds so appealing. Digging the efficient calm of this piece too.
Thanks Kristen! Digging waking up on my friend’s couch in Portland now! Coffee time, happy Friday.
Wait a minute, the pets… They just now got back? Were they with Eberhard all this time?! And they flew back alone?
The last bit about everyone being part of someone else’s past kind of relates to some thoughts I’ve been having too. For me it’s more of stepping outside myself to view myself from someone else’s perspective, their experience of me, and how different that can be from my experience of me, or them.
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That part got to me too. I nearly cried, I think because I’m feeling emotional anyway and that’s something I would think of to write about, something I would write about if I could in fact write. Maybe that’s it. I’m sad because the words are stuck. Now I’m making this all about me.
Bill, fantastic writing. Really. You always get to me.
Hey thank you but don’t be sad my friend! I really appreciate your kind words, thanks for that. Bill
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Yes, had to leave the pets at home with my mom in Germany because we have Ginger too much sedative and she was deemed unfit to fly. So they flew alone, as cargo, through a logistics company.
Oh you had me with the continuity line. Is that it? Is that what makes siblings both love and hate each other? They’ve seen it all: the good and the bad and the mundane. The mere fact that they’ve stuck around makes them more special than most. As with pets. But perhaps it’s something else – with the continuity of day in day out we get to see the shit (literally, on long uncomfortable flights with weird union workers in too much high vis) but we also get to see every day: the vulnerable and scared and excited and passionate, and the many facets that make us human (or animals at the very least). As I discovered in the Inside Out film, the font of all my knowledge right now, it’s the shit and hard times – the sadness that bring us closer. So the pets look at your children with a different expression because they’ve been through some stuff together. It forever makes them closer. They’re like the Dude and Walter in the Big Lebowski, scattering their friend, ‘Donny Who Loved Bowling’s’, ashes.
I wonder if anyone has ever said ‘you had me with the continuity line.’ I don’t have siblings, sometimes wish I did, but I don’t know if that’s it. Seems to be it, between our pets, but that’s also a stretch maybe. My kids watched Inside Out but I haven’t yet — although I can relate to that scene in the Big Lebowski, glad you included it, as I just watched it again when we were in Germany last year. And there’s something about that scene that seems to be anti-sentiment, kind of in-your-face existentialism, the fact that after he dies Jeff Bridges doesn’t act any different at all when the bartender asks how things are, I’m not sure he even mentions his friend died. It’s like they don’t have the capacity to care so much, but then that hug between Walter and the Dude, the Vietnam stuff, there’s more under the surface to that film — maybe why it endures. My German friend said it’s popular in Germany because they translate the word Fuck with a German word that’s loosely comparable but not often heard, so Germans like hearing that word over and over and over again.
I can’t quite put my finger on why the dog looks so mildly unhappy while the cat s face is that of a bliss. Any ideas?
The dog is missing my mom, having lived with her in Germany for nine months, spoiled. The cat is like all cats, kind of detached, kind of too cool for moping. Thanks for stopping in my friend and commenting. Bill
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ooh, I hope your dog gets to meet your mom soon 😀 and that cat of yours can be on a magazine cover. haha
the pleasure is all mine. 😀 Have a wonderful night. GN 🙂
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