Monday, April 21, 2008

Goodbye, My Lai

I really really hate this. But I can’t deny it any longer.

We’ve been to the vet, we have hundreds of dollars of meds. We have a new litter box and a case of canned food, because dry is often too hard for her to eat anymore. We have a new liner under the box, to catch the ever-more-frequent “misses”.

None of that has dispelled the new, vague, and bewildered look in her eyes or the tooth-grinding evidence of her constant pain. The meds don’t do any good if she can’t keep them down. There aren’t any more options.

It’s been almost seventeen years that she has been my commensal, companion. P ick a label: my cat, My Lai. All the things you hear parents say at their kids’ graduation, “I remember when she was so tiny, I’m so proud, she’s become a friend” apply. Except this kid isn’t going off to college or getting married. Her ability to give me grandchildren was removed long ago.

I settled for her ability to purr me through anything. Her famous irritability and penchant for swiping at me when she got tired of being petted. The way her growl would rise in intensity and pitch if I held her tight and rubbed her stomach, which she detested. The night Amanda and I were up all night talking and My Lai crawled into a pillowcase, burrowing under the pillow in it, in a blatant attempt to demonstrate exactly what we were preventing her from doing.

Ever since Tahoe, it’s been us against the world. Now it will be just me, and I’m not sure how well I’m going to be dealing with that.

On Friday, I’m taking the day off. I’m renting a car and taking My Lai to the beach. She won’t have to worry about the location of the litter box. She can lie carefree in the sunshine for the last time.

And then we’ll get back in the car and go to the vet. I’ll hold her as they gently slide in the needle, and I’ll feel first the purring, then the breathing, then her heart stop.

The end of the tiny kitten I had to feed with an eyedropper. The end of half my life. The best end I can give her.

Right now she’s sitting quietly on my bed, staring into space waiting for the pain to go away. It’s going to go away. I’m going to make it go away. It’s my responsibility.

I just wish I could explain. I wish I could tell her I’m sorry she’s lived in nothing but my succession of craptastic apartments. I wish I could tell her how much she’s meant to me. Actually I can and do tell her that, I’m just not sure she understands.

So, on Friday, she will get sunshine and cuddles and scratches and love.

And then she will get relief.

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Thursday, April 10, 2008

It Also Rolls Downhill

When San Francisco protests, they do it right. In a somewhat sideways answer to Protest Zones (which should be renamed Police Brutality Zones), and Designated Free Speech Areas (hey Pelosi, who put the moron in your oxy?), or even you know, protesting on the actual day the protestable action (or significant anniversary/escalation/what have you) will take place, protestors for freedom in Tibet climbed the guy wires on the Golden Gate Bridge to unfurl banners.

Yesterday. The torch run is tomorrow. Talk about planning ahead. The era of blond-dreadlocked, bitchy radicals scheming about rally chants till midnight while chain-smoking has been replaced, apparently, by dreadlocked, bitchy radicals scheming at 3:00 am about the best quality jumars, carabiners, and gorp. Frankly, in the struggle of worker and proletariat, REI seems to be winning. I’m not sure who’s going to be happy about that, but I do know the tobacco companies hate it.

Seems like Cal is serving its purpose in training the next generation of protestors for Bay Area success, as tree-sitting is still going on over at the Cal campus across the Bay. In case you have nostalgic memories of pole-sitters or your family treehouse, know now and tremble with fear paltry non-Californians, that tree-sitting is a skill (or set thereof), involving possible use of zip lines, hanging tents, and shit buckets. Yes, shit buckets. What do you think people spend hours and hours packing down from camps on Mount Everest? Yep, shit buckets.

We’ve been shown thrilling expanses of snow, dangerous cliffs, people slowly freezing to death, but no shit buckets. Never thought of Mount Everest as a giant Potemkin village? Do it now.

SF is a community infinitely familiar with shit buckets, though we like to call them “parks”, “bus stops” and “doorways”. Predictably, any city with that much poo, is also rife with the flinging of same, though we like to call it “politics”. Thus we have protest factions who don’t even have to protest on the day of the torch run. We are so dressed in blinding Tyvek that any poo flung within a month or so of an event, ends up staining our brothas fines .

Even so, poo is fertilizer, kids, and here we have one of the most vibrant discussions about China, Tibet, the message of the Olympic Games, the power of sport, the thrill of victory, etc, etc, etc. Without that discussion, this would just be American Gladiators with a bigger budget.

Yes, sports are important, human rights are important, global opinion is important, and we deserve to care more than every two to four years. Remember that when your hear bitching about stupid protestors who need to go get jobs. Those people do have jobs. They’re carrying the shit buckets down the mountain and making sure they are displayed for all to see. Maybe we’ll send less shit up the mountain tomorrow.

At least, that’s the hope.