Sunday, July 27, 2014

Fifty-Third Beginning: The Cat and the Book

             Now, let’s get this straight, here – I’m a rational person.  Well, I’m a person who believes in rationality, anyway. I fully believe that there must be a rational explanation for everything.  I don’t, for example, believe in astrology.  (Of course, being a Capricorn, I wouldn’t.)  There have been two events in my life, however, that have defied rational explanation.  I’ve grown rather fond of the pair of them and would like to share them here.
It’s not that no one has ever come up with a rational explanation for what happened.  It’s just that none of these explanations ever match my memories of the events.  They are mostly of the “you must have been mistaken” or the “you know, dreams can seem very real” variety.  And that’s perfectly rational, considering the stories I was telling.  Let’s face it.  I wouldn’t believe stories like these. 
And it’s not that these were major events.  I think I enjoy the triviality of my little mysteries most.  It reaffirms my estimation of the way the universe works.  Sort of a Murphy’s Law of the Occult:  “Just because it defies all known laws of space and time doesn’t mean it’s important.”  It all began with the cat.
The cat’s name was Jessie.  He was an orange marmalade ex-tom with a twin brother named Patrick, and he was not enjoying our move to California from Ohio.  We were driving a 24 foot rental truck and towing our car.  I ahd put the cats in the car for the trip, with food and water and a litter box.  Windows had been rolled down slightly less than an inch.  The cats had basically freaked at first and then settled down to hating it.  By the end of the first day the headliner of the car was covered with cat hair.
We stayed the night at my in-laws and when we left the next morning, the cats seemed to have settled more.  I checked them carefully before we left.  Then we hit (-80 and drove at a steady 60 mph until lunch.  When we stopped for lunch, a checked that cats again and there was only one.  Jessie had somehow flown the coop.
Do not bother commenting with rational explanations.  I’ve tried them all and they don’t fit.  The friend helping me drive is sure that Jessie was hiding under a seat and zipped out when I opened the door.  This even though we had noticed him missing and were watching the door carefully when we opened it.  I believe in rationality, too, but not quite to the point of saying “I didn’t see that.” (1)
The next event was a little odder and a little more trivial.  I mean, we missed Jessie and worried about him.  He was a good cat.  This was about a book.  You see, I have a vice.  I read too much.  It interferes with homework and housework and life and everything.  I have to be careful not to allow too much reading matter into the house or I might submerge and never break surface again.
So, one day I was browsing at the Walden’s at the Woodland Mall, reading the backs of science fiction and fantasy paperbacks, when I found a marvel.  Have you ever gotten hooked on the first book in a trilogy and then suffered through years of torture while the author wrote the next two books?  I have.  So you can imagine my surprise when, having hooked myself on the most recent Jo Clayton trilogy, I found the second and the third books available the week after I’d finished the first. 
Unfortunately, I had homework due and I knew that if I bough both, I’d read both and the homework would get seriously punted.  I read the backs carefully, agonizing over whether or not to risk buying both.  On the back of the third book was a synopsis of what had gone before.  It included a plot twist in the second book that I hadn’t anticipated.  I agonized a little more and then, in a spasm of virtue, put the third book down and bought only the second.
I read the second book knowing from the start that the plot twist was coming up.  I watched for it the whole book and it finally showed in the final chapter.  Then I did my homework and set out to buy the third book.  I couldn’t find it in Davis.  It took me awhile to get back to Woodland, and when I did I couldn’t find it there, either.  So I asked at the desk.  It seemed that the book was not in print.  It was not due to be released for six months.  Swearing that I had held the thing in my own two hands and had read the back of it was no help at all.
Six months later it came out and I bought it.  The cover was not the same.  The synopsis on the back was, though.  I enjoyed reading it.

What is the point to these occurrences?  None that I can see.  What is the point in remembering them fondly and sharing them with friends and strangers?  You got me there, too.  But keep watch for further events and I think you all should, too.  Just don’t tell me about them when they happen.  I’m a rational person and I probably won’t believe you.  

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