1) Muse’s directive: “Write about a less-than-remarkable aspect of your life.”
This is for all you cat lovers out there whose feline friend resides in the comfort of your abode. I believe we share this superlative: the most inglorious aspect of your life. There’s nothing remarkable about the obligatory grooming of the litterbox. I dare say though, there is something just a touch more amusing than average about my critter’s disposition on the subject.
You see, Hershey (or Caliegh to some of her admirers) did not begin life as a house cat. In fact, she lived out kittenhood through much of her adulthood outside in that wooded acreage in east TN which I call home. I was 12 when I first brought her home, packaged in a tired brown box with her Mom, Jade, and two sisters, KitKat and Jewel. Jade and Jewel were wild things and disappeared almost immediately, returning only for Meow Mix morsels when the hunt went foul. (I might have known my fortune as foretold by the loyalty of my cats–after precious stones abscond, you are left to comfort yourself with chocolates.)
Approximately 8 years later in my junior year of college, Hershey made the pilgrimage with me to CT. She made sure to make 2 things clear to me along the way: she did not approve of the car, and she absolutely abhorred George Washington Bridge.
Today, she is discomfited by my dealings with her litterbox. By nature and upbringing, she’s very discreet about her ablutions. However, if she was merely disquieted by my involvement in this part of her private life, she is further distressed by the frenzy of cleaning that is precipitated by it.
It begins with my disatisfaction with the carpets and accoutrements that keep stray litter from Hershey’s paws from being deposited through the rest of my apartment. These get shaken like a maddening brat, then tossed outside the bathroom in a pile so that I can sweep up. The clean floor then makes a mockery of the tub, so of course I have to scrub that down. But then the toilet looks at me with disdain as if to say, “Some call me a throne, you know,” and since it’s been clever, I oblige. I go to wash my hands of the whole obsessive scrubbing thing, and I see the faucet squinting up at me from under a layer of scuzz. So, I shiney that up, and the counter as well because it has the capacity to be so very white. I’m about to leave the bathroom for the first time in an hour, when I catch sight of myself in the mirror. It’s sheepishly hanging there, its face helplessly displaying toothpaste constellations amid the reflection of those newly-sparkling denizens in the room. So i squeegee that mess until the mirror is proud again.
All the while, Hershey has been purring nervously, crouched in the doorway next to the listless heap of rugs. Under normal circumstances, she sticks close to me because that’s the sort of cat she is: a magnificent example of her kind who followed my barefoot adventures tirelessly, be there good dogs or bad dogs, in fair weather or driving rain. But I think in this, my frenetic cleaning, she’s not just my companion. I’m convinced she’s a sort of chaperone. She’s watching in order to ensure that I make it out of there before I take a toothbrush to the cracks int he floor.
2) My current word count for my novel is: 16,721/30,000.
3) Muse’s next directive: “Use the following verbs in any way you wish: racket, snug, green, spoon, boggle, snake. Not all verbs, you say?…Verbs are sometimes a matter of opinion.”