In the independent movies, when the writers, artists and wanderers wake up in the morning, they sometimes feed a cat. Or a dog. I can almost hear the food scooped out and dropped in the dish with dialogue that goes something like, “Here you go.”
From there, you see a story through a quirky lens. Then when the credits roll, you walk out and either say “I loved it” because it was relatable, or “That was interesting” because it wasn’t relatable and it wasn’t really interesting. But you want to be a good sport around whoever said, “Let’s go see it.”
In a sense, that’s how Trixie helps me feel more like myself as writer, artist and wanderer. People who are like I am have cats. I also look at things through a quirky lens.
I guess in the action movies, the hero of a story might also drop food in a pet dish and say “Here you go” while the camera angle picks up a photo on the kitchen counter of his estranged relationship. Then the next scene is one where a scientist-type opens his eyes wide as he sees an indication on his computer screen that a meteor, UFO or terrible storm is heading straight toward Big Town, USA. He says, “Um… guys, take a look at this.”
In that case, when the movie is over and trouble has subsided, the pet and the owner are returned to their ritual. However, maybe this time the owner drops food in the dish and says, “Some day, huh?” Then the estranged relationship answers back, “Sure was.” Roll credits.
I don’t want to fight a UFO in a compressed two-hour timeframe; that’s not how I want to see my story. Even so, this storytelling style also has uses as it deals with the world around us – how we will respond to challenges? How we will effect change? What happens when we’re thrown into a situation for which we are unprepared?
For that matter, what happens when we get a visitor from another planet (and why isn’t “let’s make a pound cake and put on the coffee” ever the instinctive response)?
Trixie sometimes has a visitor that poses a threat, at least as far as she knows. A neighborhood cat stops in the yard from time to time to stare at us through the window. I know of the presence of this cat in Trixie’s line of vision because of the sounds that emanate from my household companion. They are rather guttural in nature, more of a sense of alarm than a hospitable howdy.
One morning I had joined Trixie to look out the window at the visitor when suddenly a bunny rabbit broke through the scene – hopping through the yard in front of the startled visiting cat. It was as if we could have stepped through the window into a live-action animated movie, and oh wouldn’t it be fun to be in a story like that.
“Trixie, look!” I said with excitement. Her response was more argumentative, however, with the tail swishing and so forth. This scene, in her mind, seemed to be playing out as an unwelcome intergalactic visit.
Not long ago, Trixie faced the threat of an actual invasion, however. People had come to do exterior painting, including the front and back door. I secured her in my bedroom, where she found new places to hide, and she never said a word all day. Not wanting to tip off the intruders to her location, she did not utter a single meow a single time. As I checked on her during the day and asked if she was okay, all she would do was blink her version of Morse code, as if telling me, “People are in the house.”
We see things differently, Trixie and I – including our threats. Trixie’s are sometimes imaginary. Truth is, though, sometimes mine are too.
Trixie has these moments where she runs like a crazy cat through this small house. You’d wonder how she could get up such speed in this amount of square footage. Sharp turns make that possible. It’s more of a series of sprints than a cross country race. And there is a good bit of jumping. She could call her events the bedspread dash. The dining table 5k. What’s the over-under on Trixie? Both.
She apparently takes her text from Leviticus 26: Trixie flees even though no one is pursuing her.
Sometimes I worry that she will hurt herself. If I ran like she does – jumping over beds, under tables and so forth – you should just take me straight to the orthopedic clinic. Sometimes she crosses right in front of me, putting me at risk of cat trip – and I fear for myself. But we get by.
At the end of the day, the threats we face – real and imagined – are set aside for slumber. When the house turns dark, I tell her, “Good night, Trixie. I love you.” And in the morning, she will be there when I wake.
Enjoy your magnificent journey.
– Minnie Lamberth
The Magnificent Journey
Vol. 2, Issue 21