Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Touchée, Pussycat

The weekend before last, one of my closest friends, Ani, made a rare visit to DC. Her last visit predated the Object's and my decision to live in sin, and as she toured the apartment, she benignly asked the Object how he was adjusting to living with a cat.

"I guess it's ok," the Object responded. "I don't love the crapsand [cat litter], and he whines like a little bitch, and he's gotten really fat, but at least it's a temporary situation. I mean, he's pretty old, right?"

A very long pause ensued as Ani, a lifelong cat owner, and I exchanged a sidelong glance. She broke the silence, asking "How long do you think cats live?"

The Object tossed a breezy, "what, seven... eight years?" We paused again, then Ani turned to me. "How old is Schmoopums McKitty?"

"He turns six this summer," I responded.

The good thing about having close friends is that it doesn't require a lot of verbal communication to formulate and execute an emergency plan very quickly. She caught my eye and nodded subtly. As I got the tequila off the shelf, she turned back to the Object, looked at him squarely, breaking the news like a band-aid ripping off an infected wound. "Dude. Cats usually live well into their teens, and it's certainly not unheard of for them to live into their 20's."

The Object's carefree expression faltered. "You're talking about cat years, right?"

I handed him a shot of tequila to absorb the news. "People years."

The Object whimpered, "twenty... years... crapsand?"

It was a rough conversation, one I hadn't realized needed to happen, but I'm glad it did. After a few shots of hard liquor and a few rounds of Guitar Hero, the Object was right as rain. And yet, because the universe likes to keep things on an even keel, this is the sort of thing that has a nasty way of coming back to haunt you later. In this instance, it took less than 24 hours.

The next day, as the Object and I walked Ani to her bus stop, she casually asked what I was doing the following weekend. "Ugh," I responded. "I have to go to this riDICulous horse race." The Object spent four years of his life in a fraternity at UVA. Although he hides it well in most company, he can't deny his roots. So each year, the brothers get together to relive the puke, the booze, and the stench emanating from the bowels of the pits of hell (the basement of their frat house) during the last weekend of April for Foxfield, a horse race whose motto is "last one to see a horse wins." The boys start worrying about what pastels they will incorporate into outfits months in advance, then spend the day summarily ruining them. It's the one day of the year they can act like Compleat Donkeys while the women around them, placated by the idea that there will be horsies, don their pinkest and greenest frocks in green, drink Boone's Farm blue-flavored, alcoholic-like drink product and try not to wince when the King of the Donkeys waxes poetic and at great length about his onanistic habits.

It's worth mentioning that the last weekend in April is a priori the weekend before my birthday.

I explained all of this to Ani, who also attended my tiny, private, liberal arts college, where the motto is "you haven't heard of us, but you wouldn't have gotten in anyways" and where the fraternities were forced out of their housing to make room for "theme" houses filled with cooperative groups who used Castille soap on both their dishes and hair.

Thinking about Foxfield eft me with a double huzz. "I can't wait until the year when my birthday isn't going to be tainted by this whole business," I sniped at the Object. "When do you think you're going to outgrow it?"

He raised an eyebrow as a very familiar awkward pause stopped the conversation. Once again, it was Ani who broke the silence, proclaiming with no small amount of glee, "Hey, this is just like your version of crapsand!"

In the end, I supposed it does pretty much even out - both circumstances bring equal amounts of puke, foul odors, and naughty behavior to the relationship - the one is just spread throughout the year while the other is concentrated into one weekend. It's a compromise, and both of us try to alleviate the stress on the other as much as possible. I schill out hundreds of dollars each year in synthetic hormones designed to get the cat to shut the hell up. The Object, who's no dummy, bought me Feist tickets for the evening after the race. But this whole compromise thing is kind of like asking which you'd rather have - menstrual cramps and hormones for two days a month over the span of forty years, or one sharp, ball-busting kick in the nads. That's the beauty of a healthy relationship - you get both.

2 Comments:

Blogger Kaze, Latte, & Chase said...

I remember those days of pastel! Haha!

4:50 PM  
Blogger Matt Eckel said...

That was beautiful.

9:39 AM  

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