SOCIAL DISTANCING, Chapter 3: In Which I Receive Psychological Counseling From A Cat.

By Liz McLeod
Still Your House Manager
 
“I can tell you right now what your problem is,” declared Carol the Fat Barrel Cat, as she delicately nibbled at the most remote quarter of her rear haunches that she could reach. “You’re addicted to your job.”
 
“Hah,” I scoffed, meaning it to sting. “What would you know about jobs? When did you ever have a job?”
 
“Oh, but I have one right now, hew-mon,” she retorted, rolling over on her side. “My job is to keep you in line. I saw you last night, pacing the floor at two o’clock in the morning when you should have been providing me heat in the bed – and by the way, how do you call that a blanket? It’s a moth hole surrounded by a few pathetic shreds of old wool. You can do better.”
 
“Now just a minute,” I protested, brandishing a half-eaten sausage on the point of my fork and stabbing it in Carol’s direction for emphasis. “You know very well that I…”
 
With a lightning-like swipe of her paw, Miss Carol plucked the sausage from the fork and swallowed it in a few quick bites. She made an unintelligible remark as she chewed.
 
“I better not find that on the rug later,” I warned. “You got some nerve.”
 
Miss Carol nibbled daintily at her extended paw to ensure that the no microscopic bit of sausage grease remained to soil her fur. “Let’s get back to you,” she said, in a firm voice that to the uninitiated would sound much like the hiss of a air brake. “Just what do you hope to accomplish with all this fretting? Do you think because *you’re* inconvenienced, because *your* routine has been fractured, because *your* life has been tipped on its back to wave its helpless legs in the air, that everything’s just going to settle right down and get back to normal because *you’re* frustrated and annoyed? Is that going to accomplish anything? Of course it isn’t.”
 
I saw her eyeing the few scraps of scrambled egg left on my plate and made a preemptive strike to claim them for myself. “You’re one to talk,” I replied in a peevish tone I knew would rile her. “Look how you get when *your* routine gets disrupted. Remember that time the guy from the oil company was here to fix the burner. Tromping thru the house with those big boots on, making all that noise and smell. And you hid under that end table in the living room for two days. Remember? You knocked over that stack of Artie Shaw records on your way there, and broke “Frenesi.” I haven’t forgotten that, you know, Miss Self Righteous Know It All Fat Barrel Cat.” I swallowed the egg with conviction, knowing I’d scored a thrust.
 
Miss Carol stretched out, doubling her length and halving her width, like some sort of non-Newtonian fluid contained within a semi-permeable membrane. Or like a lump of Silly Putty. Whatever. Her eyes narrowed to slits “We’re not talking about me, we’re talking about you,” she countered. “You need to think more like me. Look how I’m dealing with this. Do you realize how annoyed *I* am by your constant fussing and fretting and kvetching and the way you stare out the window expecting the Fed Ex truck to pull up outside with An Answer To It All? But do you see *me* fretting about it? No, you don’t. Because *I* know that Whatever Will Be Will Be.”
 
“I can’t stand Doris Day,” I snapped back. “Too saccharine. Helen Ward was a much better…”
 
“And that’s another thing,” she interrupted. “Enough with the Big Band references. You’re writing for boomers here. They don’t know who you’re talking about. Get with the program.”
 
“Now just a minute,” I yelled, feeling my thread growing ever more taut. “I’ll put up with a lot from you, but when you start with the music shaming…”
 
“You’ll do anything to deflect my arguments,” Carol said with a smug look of catly satisifaction firmly set on her face. “You know I’m right. The only way to deal with this situation is to accept it – and to understand that time is a linear progression. We are at this point on our timeline. Eventually, inevitably, we must arrive at a further point on that same timeline in which these events are part of the past.”
 
“I knew I shouldn’t have let you watch ‘Star Trek,’” I  muttered. “Enough with the Spock stuff. Talk English. Or Catglish. Or whatever language it is you speak.”
 
“This too,” she exclaimed with finality, “shall pass.”
 
I had no reply.
 
“Now, If you’ll excuse me” she added,” climbing slowly to her feet and lumbering out of the room, “I have something I must do. That sausage isn’t sitting well. Good day to you.”
 
I sighed. This too, shall pass.
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