Monday, April 24, 2000

Bluffy the Vamp Like Prayer

Over the years Mr. Max and I have reached an understanding about our living arrangement. He has to put up with my many eccentricities including now increasing after midnight bouts of piano playing and singing at the top of my lungs, and having his dinner time routine encompass an enthusiastic trip to the basement to clean out his litter box (which includes plenty of praise when he has done a particularly good job at leaving behind the previous night's meal). My duties include paying for our food and making sure that during the wintertime the house is a balmy 62 degrees. Last year there was a bit of a worry that the standard arrangement may have to be amended as our income was such that it appeared one of us was either going to have to get a job or go without eating. (We had a lengthy discussion one evening about whether or not people food or cat food was more important and what occupations might just suit Mr. Max.)

In return, Max has been assigned one simple task: bug control. I've never been one to enjoy the sight of a bug, anywhere anytime. As a kid I would do whatever I could to make my brother take care of any bug I saw inside our house. I love my niece Brynna to pieces but when she was in a phase when she was interested in bugs, so much so that she even collected some of them, we didn't exactly spend too much time together working on her hobby.

When Max and I first started living together he aptly proved very good at his assignment. I remember an early night in our tiny little efficiency when a moth was floating around inside. Max was quite patient, having spotted the intruder. He watched him unblinkingly for quite a while. He stalked the moth. And when the moth got within reach, Max, sitting on his backside, reached up with his two declawed front paws and caught the fluttering moth in mid-air. It was the darndest thing I had ever seen. He proceeded to eat his catch and was given a little talk about the sanitary disposal of his duty, but nonetheless I knew right then and there I had found a gem of a roommate.

Over the years I've noticed he is particular about his bugs, and especially whether or not he'll digest his responsibility. I saw him eat a fly once. He has absolutely no interest in ants. Often he doesn't quite get the basis for his job. He'll scamper over to a corner of the room out of the blue and sit there. When I go over to see what he is so curious about it inevitably is a bug. Thus I am left to dispose of the god fearing creature which I have a history of not liking and was the reason the task was assigned to Max in the first place. Oh well, at least our homes have been pretty much bug free.

A few nights ago I was watching another Buffy repeat when I heard Max enter the room. I was lying down on the couch and he didn't come within my vision. A short time later I heard a very timid and remote meow. It was of a timbre I hadn't ever heard from my roommate in our nine years together. At first I ignored him, for the Buffy episode was reaching its climax, but since I hadn't heard another peep out of him (unusual in these days when he has become quite vocal about expressing his opinions) and since he hadn't moved since his sad little meow I went over to check what was up.

He was staring at a most ugly bug, a long rectangular thing with many legs. He appeared to be at a loss at what to do. The look on his face reminded me of one discovering after a horrifying and sad evening that it's already after eight o'clock even though it feels like it's after midnight. He couldn't run away but he didn't dare go any closer. I went to the bathroom and got some tissue and did one of my least favorite squashing activities.

It was yet another reminder that both of us are either prematurely aging or rapidly changing as the world grotesquely whirls on by. They say that part of life is watching it (you) go away. Well Peter cotton tail has long since hopped down that paper trail. So instead of dwelling on the uncomfortable instabilities Max and I sat down tonight and did a little project together. In honor of National Poetry Month coming to an end without a peep here is an abridged version of what we came up with:

Like a bug
flat under a rug
like a hug
that's just been mugged
I've been swept away
Oh Lord, I've been swept away
Too sad to speak
Soul's sprung a leak
Brain feels bleak
And heart is feeling weak
I've been swept away
Oh Lord, I've been swept away

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