Wednesday, August 17, 2005

a few years ago i inherited an albino hamster named spanikopita. spanky for short. she lasted two weeks before she died. it wasn't my fault -- we think she'd fallen and gotten some internal damage that slowly took her out.

either way, that was my record for shortest-time-as-a-pet-owner.

my house has been talking about getting a cat for awhile. everyone agreed to it. it would be the house's cat, not anyone's in particular, though some of us were more interested in it than others. but everyone was kosher with the idea.

on friday kenten and i were at the SPCA checking out cats. i fell in love with one in particular. on sunday we went back to get him. his name's solomon. solo for short. orange, short-hair, vocal, super-friendly, microchipped (creepy).

actually, aside: this whole weekend, since thursday, has been strange. i've been cleaning non-stop since thursday. i don't entirely know why. it needed to be done, yes, but i'm not usually so vigilant about cleaning. we happened to clean carpets on the weekend too, that might be related, but cleaning the stove has nothing to do with carpets. cleaning windows is pretty far removed from it as well. however. i might be over the cleaning bug now. perhaps not. i really want to get rid of a lot of my stuff, after living in a barren room over the weekend waiting for my carpets to dry.

if i kill myself soon, you can all lament that you should have seen the signs warning of it. LAMENT.

but back to the cat. so solomon moved in. everyone liked him. some more than others. i suddenly felt extremely responsible for him. to a depressing degree. i felt tied down, i felt like no one else was actually going to care about the cat if i didn't -- not that i didn't want to love him and look after him, but i didn't want to be the only one. that's the great things about cats: they don't need to involve a ton of responsibility, and shared amongst 7 people, it shouldn't be a problem at all, if only people would recognise that giving a cat food or opening the door for it isn't actually "work". but i'd put all the money forward for him, i was making sure he was getting food, i was the one telling everyone else what we should be doing to care for him, i was making all the decisions. so i suddenly felt strapped with the entire responsibility, and felt like i'd just become tied to staying in vancouver, unable to leave anytime soon.

so that, along with some other things that have come up recently, was putting me in a pretty miserable mood. and i was still sick. i might be almost healthy again, though now i have an eye infection. if it's not one thing, it's another.

so that was monday. Miserable Monday! but by the evening, after talking about it with some people, and seeing some other housefolk playing with the cat, i was feeling better about it all.

on monday night solomon found an open window overnight and ran away. he's probably out exploring, hopefully having fun, but he doesn't know that this is his home yet. and he certainly doesn't know the area, or necessarily how to get back here. and i somewhat doubt that he has the courage to stand up to the neighbour's cat if he doesn't necessarily feel ownership to this place yet. so he hasn't come back yet. it's been a full day. yes, he's a cat, cats come back home, but like i said, i don't think he knows this is "home" yet. and it's rare for new cats to return.

when i realised he was gone this morning, i went out right away and started wandering around the neighbourhood looking for him. put up a few signs too, just in case. didn't have any luck. felt worse and worse because we'd brought him to live with us with the intention of looking after him, and i felt like we'd failed. i'd failed. so i was pretty upset. it didn't help that some people didn't seemed to care. "oh, he's gone? huh. that sucks. well, gotta go to work!" no one offered to help me look for solo. when i asked, people took a sign to put up, or walked with me, but i think that was more due to the fact that i was upset, not because the cat was gone. one person said, "i'm surprised you're so emotionally attached to a cat that you only knew for a day." great way to make me feel better about feeling upset!

so when it comes down to who was actually invested in having a pet, i guess the cat was more mine than anyone else's. and diego. and maybe that's fine. and it's true that we didn't necessarily fail him in letting him take off, because we did as much as we could, we did shower him with attention, but a cat's going to do what a cat wants to do, and this one really wanted to get outside. and maybe he'll show up somewhere still. and if he's as friendly as he is, he's probably already been taken in somewhere else, at least. i hope he has.

i don't feel as upset about it as i did before. it's not that i was so emotionally attached to that particular cat. i mean, i like solomon a lot. but he's not My Bosom Cat-Buddy. but it was my duty to look after him. and i fucked it up. and felt like i was the only one who cared. and that's what made me upset.

maybe he'll show up again. maybe not. maybe it's fine either way -- because considering some of the feelings that were stirred up by all of this, the experience was what was important, not necessarily the longevity of it all.

but now i get to set a new record as shortest-time-as-a-pet-owner to two days. and it's with a creature that should have lasted 15+ years. huzzah.

yes, this has been a very bad week so far. yes, there's more to it than what i've written here. yes, this is in part why i'm staying away from some work this week, because i just can't handle more stress right now. even something as generally-stress-free as my radio show. and that's saying a lot. it's been that bad a week.

thank god for football players, photographs, films, not-so-gourmet safeway pies, crs, cloudy windy days, rachmaninov, and rutles.

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