SOCIAL DISTANCING, Chapter 39: In Which We Sort Of Look Ahead

By Liz McLeod
Still Your House Manager
 
“I call your attention,” declared Miss Carol T. Cat, “to an essential truth. The year 2020 is now at its conclusion.”
 
“What?” I muttered, brushing six hours’ attempts at sleep out of my saggy baggy eyes.

“The old year now recedes into history,” Miss Carol continued, with crisp authority. “A new year dawns.”
 
“Not yet it doesn’t,” I growled back. “It’s five o’clock in the morning. Call me again when the sun comes up. I can’t face what I can’t see.”
 
Miss Carol would not be so glibly dismissed. Glib dismissal is something Miss Carol does, it is not something that is done to her. You’d think after ten years I’d know that by now, and as if to reassert her controlling position in the conversation, she brushed her claws, ever so lightly but ever so unmistakably, against my jugular vein. One of these days I’m going to get a turtle-neck nightgown.
 
“It is customary at this season of the year to take stock,” Miss Carol declared, and knowing when I was licked, I turned on the light. “We must consider the lessons learned as the old year closes, and we must consider the eventualities of the year to come. It is my observation, to begin the review of 2020, that you have not handled the challenges of the year past with particular aplomb.”
 
“Sez you,” I rejoindered, without putting much effort into it. How much effort could *you* muster, arguing with a cat at 5 o’clock in the morning. “I thought I been doing pretty well, all things considered.”
 
“Crouching in a fetal position on the bathroom floor as you weep uncontrollably is not ‘pretty well,’” countered Miss Carol, “by any acceptable definition of the term.”
 
“I only done that once,” I snapped. “That day they traded Mookie was rough on everybody.”
 
“Nonetheless,”  insisted Miss Carol, “the breach of self-control was unacceptable. I recommend a program of rigorous self-criticism designed to focus your poorly-balanced emotional state into more productive channels.”
 
“I’ll get right on it,” I sighed, pressing the pillow over my face.
 
“Now, to our second concern,” segued Miss Carol. All that was missing from her presentation was Powerpoint slides, but fortunately my computer is too old to run that application. “It is customary at this time, as you hew-mons put it, to ‘make resolutions’ intended to focus your attention on positive accomplishments over the twelve months to follow. I have several suggestions, which you may implement to your benefit.”
 
“I’m sure you do,” I mumbled, with a mouth full of pillow.
 
“It goes without saying,” she continued, “although I shall, for the sake of the conversation, say it -- the year to come will feature numerous challenges. The end of the year 2020 by no means cancels the many difficulties which have taken their toll on the twelve months previous  -- indeed, the arrival of the new year only emphasizes the necessity for calm but decisive action on multiple fronts. The matter of the coronavirus pandemic must be resolved, and in the wake of that resolution must come a reordering of social and economic matters thrown into disarray by the events of the past nine months.”
 
“Absolutely,” I groaned. “Consider it done.”
 
“Excellent,” she nodded. “I have no doubt that the proper steps will be taken.”
 
“That’s a relief,” I agreed. It’s so much easier to sleep at night knowing your cat is confident that all will be well with the world. I hope hope hope hope that she is right.
 
“There is another matter that requires your attention,” Miss Carol declared. “It has come to my notice that on several occasions during 2020 you substituted Friskies Chicken with Salmon for my customary Thursday supper of Friskies Chicken with Tuna. As you are no doubt aware, felids are beings of habit. Please see that such errors are not repeated in the year to come.”
 
“I promise,” I moaned, and I meant it. I might have no control whatsoever over anything that may happen in the world in the year 2021, but I’ll tell you one thing, I can read a label on a can of cat food, and to do so with greater caution in the year ahead is a resolution I feel that I can confidently keep.  If 2020 taught me anything, it’s that you gotta pick your battles.
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