I descended to the trail with a bag of surprises, hopeful one of the squirrels of the local squadron by the creek would come down from the trees. 42° struck me as wildly warm. The sunlight was diaphanous as it penetrated the fluffy clouds. As soon as I poured the surprise onto the transformer the squirrel made two heroic and timed leaps from way up into the tree onto the surface. I stepped back so it could feast. It didn’t disappoint me. The squirrel stuffed its face ferociously. In less than 2 minutes, it had consumed and/or packed its mouth with every last morsel.
Why it made me happy? I don’t know. When I last lived in Springdale, I wasn’t nice to the squirrels because they destroyed everything. I think I’ve exceeded my karma for them in the last couple of years. I leave peanuts and food out for them and if they chew things they’re not supposed to, I replace them or fix them. As I walked away, the squirrel nimbly ascended back to the treetops. I finished my break and went back to work.
Entering the convenience store, I noted several people waiting or milling around. A couple of them seemed uncomfortable. Within a second, I realized why. A woman was standing near the counter, berating the workers for some kind of misunderstanding or error regarding the gas pumps. No matter the content of her argument, all I witnessed was someone forgetting the stupidity of such behavior. Her anger possessed her. I could see it contaminating everyone witnessing it. The woman in question stomped out, hollering, “Never mind! I give up.” When I exited, I could see her angrily talking to another person at the pumps in a different vehicle. “Spread that anger infection some more, yes, please,” I said to myself in my head. I hope I remember the experience the next time I feel anger flare uncontrollably inside me. Anger seldom looks attractive on anyone.
On the short leg of my drive home, I followed behind a Jeep. It happened quickly, so I had no reaction time. The plastic cover inserted into the missing back window frame blew out. I watched in slo-mo as it flipped over a couple of times and went under my car. It seemed inevitable that it would have flipped up and hit my windshield directly. I followed the Jeep, honking my absurd horn. It slowed as if to turn left. I honked again, and the Jeep instead continued straight. As it neared the light ahead, it turned red. When the Jeep stopped, I hopped out and ran to the driver’s side. “You lost your back window back there. It didn’t damage my car, but it’s still on the road. You’re going to be a bit cold without it. Have a great day!” I gave him a thumbs-up and ran back to my car.
Because no one knows how to easily turn into my driveway, the Jeep contained ahead, and I turned in. After parking, I watched the road for a minute. The Jeep went back by in the opposite direction. The driver undoubtedly decided that the cold warranted a return trip for the plastic window insert. It made me happy to think I took a chance to let him know. I’d recommend some screws or duct tape if he’s going to put it back on.
As for Gûino, he will be 15 early next year. He’s a spry, healthy cat for his age. If he is so inclined, he can scrunch down and jump seven feet straight up. There’s no doubt about it that he shouldn’t go outside. When I moved here, and he came back to live with me, his paws didn’t go far from the door and certainly not downstairs. He’s grown familiar with the building, the pitbull who loves cats (really) on the end, and some of the residents. I stopped letting him out in the dark after a particularly scary moment a few weeks ago. But one of his joys is to scamper out the door and sniff, discover, and explore. It could easily result in a surprise or tragedy for him. There’s no denying it. But at his age, given the unlikely scenario that he’ll survive as long as I’d like him to, I stopped struggling with the overwhelming worry he would get lost, kidnapped, or fatally hurt out there. I try to monitor him. Sometimes he fools me. I have three Blink cameras to surveil him. If the worst happens to him, I will be devastated. I’ll feel immensely guilty. I temper that possible outcome against his age. To be inside all the time when I know he’s grown to love scampering outside, sometimes forcing me to chase him on the upper landing, up and down stairs, and across the parking lot. It’s a game to him.
Erika sent me a video from her Blink from yesterday. Gûino had already enjoyed his prison yard time but decided to dart out the door without written permission from me. So, to startle him into remembering he can’t do that, I chased him all the way down the building and stairs, all the way back inside my apartment. And yes, I know I was running a little bit fruity in the video accompanying this post.
I want him to have a longer life. But I’d rather him have a fuller life, even if that brings risk.
As someone who narrowly avoided precarious death a few times, it’s hard to convince me that risk is entirely real.
While I was doing dishes, Güino couldn’t resist the remains of the vegetable grilled chicken cheesy bake I made. Though he had already sampled the chicken multiple times, he was probably thinking like me: you might never know if you have another opportunity, so why not take it?
I like cooking, especially the experimental part, but I’m terrible at it.
If you look at the picture closely, you can see his tongue hanging out. That’s the cat equivalent of a man unbuttoning his pants after a good meal.
Erika snapped this picture for me. I was oblivious to the cat pre-cleaning my dishes for me.
A very subtle sign rock that I made for one of my neighbors. They have a very sweet pitbull who loves cats. Not the r&b singer; rather, the canine version. My car Güino thinks every animal is his friend, but this dog makes his fur stand on end. .
I had this weird feeling this morning. All I could hear was deep bass. Duh-da. Duh-da. The hair on the back of my knees stood up like the needles of the startled porcupine. And then I saw it, the most vicious creature in the workplace: Whale Shark. .
Sometimes, instead of drinking my protein drink I make with recycled coffee, I opt to eat a scoop (or two) raw with a teaspoon as I start my morning. I love the texture and flavor.
This morning I woke up early and sat at my computer. My cat Güino loves to jump up and interfere and sit in my lap, his little nose popping up constantly to block my wrists as I type. In front of me were a cup of bitter coffee and a little black bowl of protein powder.
The first couple of bites of powder caused no problems other than caking my teeth temporarily with a pasty mixture. After each bite, I took a sip of coffee and petted the cat as he popped his head up for attention.
The next bite? It was like the cinnamon-challenge-gone-wrong. Somehow, I breathed in sharply as I took a spoonful of powder. It started to invade my lungs as I breathed in. This produced an involuntary cough response.
The powder spewed out of my mouth in a small cloud. Güino’s head caught the brunt of it, covering him in a fine brown powder. He looked at me in surprise, his little whiskers covered in chocolate protein powder.
And then the barrage of little sneezes started, his head bobbing strongly with each sneeze.
I laughed, ignoring the mess of powder on my lap, keyboard, and desktop.
I took the picture when Güino jumped back on my lap a couple of minutes later. I was still amused.
You can tell by the cat’s expression that he wasn’t amused.
My cat Güino loves pieces of Burger King’s Impossible burger as much as I do. I don’t have the heart to tell him it’s vegetarian. Yes, he speaks English, but only when I talk with a formal tone of English. (He’s a tuxedo cat, after all.)
Untrue fact: nipples are exclamation points in Braille.
I finally made it to 151 lbs, after weeks of trying to incrementally gain weight. My self-determined setpoint is 155.
True (But hard to believe) fact: you can lose up to 30% of your taste bud’s ability while flying. I won’t explain the three main reasons but it is fascinating. Flying while on mushrooms doesn’t count.
I’ve been subscribing to Everlywell’s at-home medical diagnostic tools. It’s allowed me to do an amazing array of testing that doesn’t cost me a fortune and gives me peace of mind. I did accidentally spray blood around the kitchen during one of my earlier tests. Evidently, you’re supposed to nick a finger rather than one’s jugular. My last test was for metabolism and its relevant testable components.
True fact: mace is made from the lining around nutmeg seeds. It is possible to get high from ingesting a lot of nutmeg. I tried to eat 74 slices of nutmeg-dusted custard pie (which I LOVE) and instead ended up with temporary diabetes and the ability to run to the bathroom faster than Flash.
True fact: the last letter added to our alphabet was “J” in 1524. Before that, the ” i ” was used for both sounds. This leads me to want to add other letters to the language, as English dropped a few along the way, which surprises people. Having said that, most Arkansans routinely drop several as they talk – and never bother to bend over and pick them back up.
My cape and mask gift provided a LOT of anecdotes. I’m not sure how to share them all. It was a total hoot. There were a couple of party-poopers about it, of course. Some people loathe others’ happiness, which is an unfortunate fact. But for some, I turned their disapproval in my favor by doing pirouette cape flourishes and magic tricks. My best trick was making the naysayers fall off my radar. One of my favorite moments was when two Latino construction workers were talking about me at the convenience store. I approached and told them in Spanish, “This cape allows me to understand and speak any language.” The looks on their faces were priceless. “Au Revoir and Auf Wiedersehen,” I told them as I spun, flourishing my cape and laughing.
The cape didn’t allow me to fly unless I’m experiencing a “Greatest American Hero” scenario. (That’s an old TV show for the whippersnappers reading this.) It did, however, give me a lot of joy and happiness – leaving me feeling like I was on Cloud 10, which is one cloud higher than the proverbial Cloud 9.
One more true fact: young children ask up to 300 questions a day.
A lesser-known fact is that a jealous wife or girlfriend asks 1000 questions an hour.
True fact: a woodpecker’s tongue wraps all the way around its brain. It’s a shame they can’t hold an ice cream cone, isn’t it?
Allegedly True fact: most of us spend a year of our lives on the toilet. I’m sure this is a low measure now, given how many go numb in the legs from scrolling social media and TikTok.
Untrue facts: Viking warriors wore helmets with horns. Completely untrue, although film and tv have cemented this false narrative into everyone’s brains.
I had more to say but I got sidetracked reading about all the things that people know to be true but are completely wrong.
“It was only when I bought a motorcycle that I found out that adrenaline is brown.” – Not my quote. 🙂
Guino sang the song of his people ~ the crystal I placed in the window violated some unspoken compact regarding things in the window. He jumped from the window to my lap as I perched on the end of the bed. And when I tried to take a picture, that too ran afoul of his interminable cacophony of objections.
Another interesting person who I don’t know by name laughs because I call him Max Sr. I did ask him his name but due to the nickname I gave him, I can’t recall what it is now. And that’s okay, as you’ll understand after reading this.
I started seeing him at random times on the trails near work, especially at odd, early hours of the morning. The first few times, we exchanged casual greetings. Each time, I noticed his voice was louder and a bit more friendly. It’s obvious that Max Sr. is a kind, gentle soul who probably doesn’t get to talk to as many people as he once did.
The truth is I wanted to pet his cute 3-year-old dog the first time I saw it. It politely barked at me the first time I passed him and Max Sr. around 3 a.m. one morning. I laughed. I didn’t take it personally.
When I finally got the opportunity to pet the dog, Max Sr. told me that the adorable dog’s name is Max; thus, I brilliantly forgot the owner’s name on purpose and started referring to him as Max Sr. He loves the nickname. Max Sr. thinks of Max as his guard dog and guardian instead of him being Max’s owner. It’s only appropriate, then, that the owner adopt the dog’s name.
I sometimes take short walks, aka Sanity Walks, to get out of the building and see the creek, trees, and people exhausting themselves on the trail. I never step out there without hoping I’ll get to say hello to Max Sr. and to rub Max’s little ears and feel him shiver a little as I pet his back and sides.
I’d be a lot happier if Max and other animals were nearby to pet. A lot of people would. Animals show affection without regard to circumstance. It’s a good lesson we could learn to apply to our lives. The social shield does in some ways protect us. In others, it limits us.
When I see Max Sr. I smile. When I see Max, I smile and get to see immediately that he’s happy with just my presence. What a gift that is!
Maybe you’ll get to pet Max one day, too. He’ll show you the same love after he barks a few times to remind you that he loves his human.