New Depths of Losing

I’ve been a bit MIA around these parts, I know, and I started to worry that y’all might think my losing streak had come to an end. O my friends, wonder no longer, for I assure you that is not the case.

This past week I’ve journeyed far down into the depths of the ocean of losing, down past where the light can go, where the only color left is blue, where the currents mercilessly bash you against the coral, and the sharks are circling overhead, and you think to yourself, “Well. This isn’t good.”

ballet shark

But then you look down and realize you’ve made a grave error in your calculations and your judgment, and now your oxygen tank is running critically low, and there’s really nothing left to fear, because the only choice you’re ever going to have to make again in your whole entire life is whether to die from drowning or from the bends.

You’ve been down there a time or two yourself, don’t pretend you haven’t. Metaphorically speaking, of course. Ninety-nine percent of my despair involves my job and is therefore unfit to be discussed in writing.

But these felines of mine want to do what they can to keep my losing streak going, to test my mettle and throw some challenges my way lest I get too soft and spoiled from living a life of ease.

Take Mr. Smidge. If he got any more spirited and energetic, he’d no longer be safe to share a home with. He seems healthy, but in his short life, he’s had a couple blood tests show elevated liver enzymes. Could be nothing, could be something, the vet’s not really sure. So he’s been on antibiotics for a couple weeks and now I’m supposed to bring him in for another blood check to see if that brought his levels down.

But we’ve reached that special moment that comes in every cat’s life, where he knows what the cat carrier means, and if it’s out and you try to approach him, he is going to freak the hell out. We had a bit of a death match this afternoon as I tried over and over to squeeze his wriggling, spazzed-out self into that carrier. I’m stronger and I outweigh him many times over. I have opposable thumbs to Spock-grip the back of his neck. I have cat treats and wet food and the innate human ability to play tricks and deceive other creatures, to make them trust me and come close to me, and then to screw them over.

But all of that failed today.

Smidgen comes equipped with five knives at the ends of each of those four legs, and when he panics, he sets all four legs spinning in different directions, claws out and ready to slice open anything in their path. If you’re lucky and have superior reflexes, you may be able to avoid one, two, or even three of those whirling dervish legs. Maybe. But that fourth one will get you every time.

butcher cat

This battle of wills left only one of us standing. It proved, once and for all, which one of us has the iron resolve and the unshakable determination, which one of us knew from the moment he saw that carrier, beyond a shadow of a doubt, how this day was going to go and how it was NOT going to go. And the other one took that L, got on the phone, and made an appointment with the vet who makes house calls.

I tucked my tail between my legs, texted Brandon to let him know of my embarrassing defeat, and set to work getting some soup going in the crockpot–the crockpot we rarely use, that lives up on a high shelf inside a carrying case, a carrying case which I had let fall to the floor, a carrying case which is quite similar to a cat carrier, and maybe could even be used as a cat carrier, except for the lack of air holes.

I get the soup going and clean up the prep mess and turn around to see this:

smidge
This is what a sore winner looks like.

this ironic emblem of my Sisyphusian week–this symbol of lost battles, of two steps forward and three steps back, of pouring your blood, sweat, and tears into something and realizing it all would’ve worked out better if you’d just stayed in bed. I sometimes amaze and dazzle myself with my uncanny ability to take losing to a whole nother level.

But for now, I’m retreating to a weekend of soup and smoothies, collaging and secret writing projects, and I’ll see you on the flip side. With a few new scars on my arms.

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