SOCIAL DISTANCING, Chapter 47: In Which It Comes In Like A You Know What

By Liz McLeod
Still Your House Manager
 
“March,” declared Miss Carol T. Cat, “has arrived!”
 
Ordinarily I would have welcomed this news. March is the harbinger of many things that bring me great pleasure  – the Vernal Equinox, Baseball, ... um…. Well, OK, March is the harbinger of two things that bring me great pleasure, and the news of its arrival should be something I would greet with much eager anticipation. But it’s hard to greet anything with eager anticipation at three in the morning, especially after the news of its arrival has been delivered following a swift, blood-drawing swat at the forehead by one’s  feline companion.
 
“Yeah, swell,” I growled, attempting to suffocate myself with the pillow. “Actually, it got here yesterday. What’s your point?”
 
“I call your attention to the leonine manner of its arrival,” continued Miss Carol. “The wind is howling outside our window at a distressing speed and strength. The dying poplar tree next to the window is bending and sagging precipitously under its fearsome gale. Doubtless more shingles are being torn from the roof of our shabby hovel at this very instant, and carried thru the air to fall on the unsuspecting heads of the unfortunate few who must be busy about their daily employment at this unwholesome hour.”
 
“Good,” I exhaled from within the pillow. “Maybe they’ll conk whoever it was that stole those quarters out of my car the other night. I needed  those to buy my breakfast.”
 
“Your attitude,” rebuked Miss Carol, “is uncalled for. The arrival of spring is a time of great portent. This month will mark exactly one year since the Strand Theatre was forced to shutter its doors in the wake of the present cataclysm.  The spring season traditionally represents a time of new growth, of rebirth, of emergence from the grim cocoon of a cold and dismal wintertime into a bright new world of promise. And yet there you lie, foundering in the ocean of your own pathos.”
 
Well, I ask you. Who could argue with a line of bunk like that? I ask you. Certainly not me. With a sigh I reached over and snapped on the light, put on my glasses, and squinted at the furred bulk that sat, like a plaster garden statue, at the end of my bed. And weighed about as much to boot.
 
“You’re right,” I said,  “Spring is comin’, and things are lookin’ up. At the theater we’re working on all sorts of projects for the spring and summer, and before you know it the time will come when we won’t just be virtual anymore. Remember last year when I said ‘every day brings us one day closer to reopening?’ Well, that’s still true. Every day. One day closer.”
 
I paused as a severed shingle slapped hard against the bedroom window, but I wasn’t worried. You only have to worry about them when they come in side-on, that’s when your glass gets cracked. You learn this kind of stuff. It’s been that kind of winter.
 
“So you agree, then” continued Miss Carol, “that steps should also be taken to resume a more normalized routine in our own daily lives. The reinstatement of my mid-afternoon pre-evening meal would be an appropriate step in that direction.”
 
“Oh no you don’t,” I snapped. “That was never a thing. Uh uh. You never had four meals a day, that was never a normal thing.”
 
“Your advancing years,” sniffed Miss Carol, “have clearly taken their toll on your memory. Perhaps you will recall my early-morning pre-breakfast jentacular?”
 
“Ridiculous fat barrel cat,” I sighed, burying my face in the pillow and fumbling for the light. Even after all these years, every day of my life “comes in like a lion.”
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