The Cat's Meow

April 2016

Walking back across the boatyard night before last in the glow of a visit from a Burning Man friend and his partner who I had not seen in eleven years. All of a sudden I jump in reaction to a feral cat doing the same as I almost stepped on him in the dark. It was like he was asleep or something, I get down on one knee to apologize and after running 15 feet away, he turns around and slowly comes back to me.

His reveling in the human touch of his head and back being scratched mirrors back to me the love pouring out from having broken bread with fellow travelers traveling through this maelstrom of a culture seemingly trying to destroy itself. When the cat finally pulls away, he runs only to jump in the air, roll over and land on his back in the sand, jumps up shaking so innocent and playful; without thinking I hear myself say; "Yeah, the three of us were just celebrating that aspiration."

This morning at the break of dawn make an 'executive' decision to forgo my power walk, and drink coffee instead. Then, only minutes later, wake up finding myself walking across the yard, weights in hand, saying: "What the heck, I was snot going to do this today . . . . but the flow must have a reason, so . . . . ". A mile down the road to the locks, passing under the bridge over to the cruise ship complex, see a small bright foil metal bag sort of hanging in mid air next to the retaining wall. As I am pumping along right past it, it seems as though the bag moves. It is not very light yet, dark under the bridge anyway, and dark glasses on for the wind make it all very mysterious. Stop, put the weights on top of the wall along with the glasses and stoop over to see what this dancing bag is all about.

Get down on one knee only to realize that this "Frito's" bag dancing in the air has a jet-black cat's head stuck in it. The cat is balled up so tight I can barely make it out. Have no idea how long his head has been trapped in this bag, and cannot believe he picked this scary place what with the 100 decibel sound of every car and truck whizzing over the metal grate 20 feet above. Imagine that he is petrified, so sit down next to him and start a conversation. The Cat in the Hat does not answer back, nor move, nor give me any indication that he even wants to lose the hat. Since our conversation is not going anywhere; decide to energetically share some love by placing my hands around this black ball without touching him and beaming. After a couple of minutes, he takes a cleansing breath and seems to relax.

So I grab the corner of the bag and start pulling; and he is really stuck in there. I gently pull until he starts skidding across the asphalt when his legs finally pop out and he starts pulling back. And POOF the bag flies off showering him with a cloud of Frito pieces. He does not react, rather blinks at me probably blinded by the light. Finally he seems to take it all in, slowly turns around and walks away . . . gets a few yards away, only to start running and jumping with joy just like the cat the yard.

Now us retired fly-boys know that events always happen in threes . . . so I'll be back with the last installment whenever. In the meantime, having served the flow, been given the blessing with nary a scratch, and shared it best I can . . . the coffee is everything I imagined. HO