Monday, May 29, 2000

Touched by an Angel

There were two glorious moments of television as the network's 1999 season came to an end. One came in the second to the last episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer when Willow and Buffy were sliding down the elevator shaft and each apologized for the lack of attention to their friendship. It was a touching moment. Then on the season finale of Angel Wesley and Cordelia discover Angel's sad plight. Because he can't look forward to anything, and because he is destined to be forever separate from those around him, Angel truly has no reason to go on. Yet by the end of the show there is a twist to the prophecy mapping out Angel's future. He will eventually become human if he keeps fighting the evil forces for the down and out. I guess perseverance pays off.

"Glory, glory, glory, somebody touched me. Glory, glory, glory, somebody touched me. Glory, glory, glory, somebody touched me, must have been the hands of the Lord."

When I first started at Cheapo back in the late 50's, I was a dude with an impossible personal code. Among my many rules that drew the ire of my colleagues was/is my "no touching" rule. I think I may have offended a few when they would brush up against me and I would instinctively but quite sternly mutter, "don't touch me." I think I may have bruised a few feelings with my absolute strict expectation to the adherence of my rule.

There was (I thought) a very good reason why this rule existed. No need to get into a full explanation here but suffice it to say it had something to do with not allowing anyone to get too close to me. It had nothing to do with germs and everything to do with trust. Over the years there has been one waiver to this rule, and though it was seldom abused, it certainly was a deliberate attempt to make some personal concessions and attempt to change myself even at this late stage of the game. Now that waiver is coming back to bite me in the arse as it was, and I really regret making the exception. Another brilliant mistake.

You might gather that with all these personal rules I haven't exactly been the easiest guy to live with. Indeed in a former living situation where I was about to move into a duplex with two other guys, a list of my rules- of what not to do to set me off, was given to the one roommate who didn't know me very well. Yes, perhaps the allegation that I'm a bit too demanding has a ring of truth to it. Even Max the Cat and I have had our moments as we both have learned there are certain buttons that are bound to set the other off.

There are times when Mr. Max will be lying next to me and I'll brush the back of his leg with my hand. He'll immediately have a spasm and lick the exact spot I touched. Early on this quite offended me. It's as if my touch is the single most disgusting thing that exists and he can't clean up the spot I have defiled quick enough. I imagine he's none too pleased that over the years I have come to quite deliberately try to set off this reflex reaction of his, and see if I can't get my hand to the spot again before his tongue attempts to lick himself clean.

Somehow we have worked out enough understanding of each other to learn to tolerate what drives the other nuts. I have learned to accept that there will be times I will have to clean up regurgitated cat food on my otherwise pristine rug. Max has learned that there are nights that I just have to get out of bed, go to the piano and bang out a song while singing at the top of my lungs. We certainly don't truly understand each other's point of view; we can't see things through the other's eyes. Yet still there is an ability to sympathize with each other whenever one of us is having a difficult time. To grow together has been rewarding as has the times we decide to take on a mutual project together.

This past week I was watching a Roseville cable access program and learned that next February there is going to be an international cat show at one of the city's old junior high school buildings. Now admittedly I have a biased point of view but I think Mr. Max is one beautiful looking cat. Even his veterinarian said so. Max's light gray and black outer coating gives way to a soft white color underneath. Of course I'm sure not many show cats have an Kirby Puckett underbelly like Max does. Still it gives him a distinct charm.

So our goal this summer is to enhance Max's most quirky qualities and teach him to hide some of his traits that will get points marked off (such as his habit of drooling like a St. Bernard when he is in a deep purr). Max may not appreciate being poked and prodded by the judges and he more than likely will have a severe problem of being in the same room as all those other cats, but it's worth a shot. We're gonna enter that show and we're going to win that show.

"It was on a Sunday, somebody touched me. It was on a Sunday, somebody touched me. It was on a Sunday somebody touched me. Must have been the hands of the Lord."

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