CARGO CITY, HERE I COME.
Goin’ to Cargo City, Cargo City here I come.
They got some pretty little kitties there and I’m-a gonna get me one.
There’s my pretty little Zzyzzy curled up in a plastic crate labeled Live Animals, nestled away in a corner of the United Airlines cargo building! A ball of fur wrapped in a riddle of fear inside a mystery of confusion inside the enigma of a cat carrier. O the humanity! O the felinity!
He’s always been a scaredy cat. When I sold and vacated my San Francisco flat, he’d hid behind the dryer but I was able to sniff him out. With two shifts of husky moving men commandeering my Portland apartment in my latest post-haste departure from an overrated and overpriced American city, he picked the dishwasher. But I have no idea how he accessed it, the space was not visible to me, and he was nowhere to be found as I was leaving town for a cross-country move back to my hometown of Philadelphia. Break my freakin’ heart, Zzyzzy! Take me from hyperventilating about an exciting road trip to gut-churning anxiety about leaving my beloved pet behind in the city I couldn’t wait to get out of.
But I could do nothing else.
There was no obvious hiding place left in the empty apartment, he wouldn’t answer my frantic calls, no one else had seen him, I couldn’t find him on the grounds. Zzzzzzzzy-zzzzzzzzy! Zzzzzzzzy-zzzzzzzzy! Finally, it was time to go, and I just plain had to. So I piled Zazu and Zahra into the truck and hopped in with the craigslist total stranger who’d emailed me three days before that he’d love to drive cross-country with me. Famous first words. We were several days on the road before my apartment manager called to say they’d found my cat, who’d peed it up on the rug in my absence, but it changed the tenor of my trip from panic to relief and joy.
Oddly, approaching my driver’s house before we left, I ran across the “wishing tree” on upper Hawthorne, whereon folks hang their wishes on ribbons. The first one I encountered read “I wish for a kitty.” Wow, me too!
The sickness of soul had weighed more than the 300-pound overage we had to get off the truck before the mudflaps cleared the road. So before I even left we’d had to unload and sort through dozens of boxes of books, clothes, shoes, dishes, oddments, making split-second decisions about what to keep, donate, or trash–something I’d meant to do at home.
Cats do not take long to bounce back from misery, whether from five days in a confined space crossing 3000 miles overland, to flying the same distance and changing planes in San Francisco. After the initial period of adjustment, once the kibble and litter and safe spots are established, they go back to wanting their bellies rubbed. My own self, after I’d arrived in late July, I went from eagerness to get my new home together to exhausted relief that I am no longer at the mercy of the rental and job markets.
SO HERE WE ARE.
Lying around with the air conditioner humming, the lemonade sweating, and the cats snoring. I love new year’s eve, but September 1st has always been the real first day of the new year to me, the jump-start of everything after summer torpor. I’ve called it “the most hopeful day of the year” and am obsessively compulsively obligated to quote myself for as many Septembers as I have left to do so. This year it marks the reincarnation of The Ax Files.
THE ORIGINAL AX FILES
appeared on www.sfbulldog.com from 2005 to 2014. At this time, they are passing through a wormhole in the space-time continuum and will emerge on this site sooner or, well, later. The Bulldog, still under the purview of beloved curmudgeon h brown, is often wrong but never silent.
♦ ♣ ♥ ♦
A cat is a puzzle for which there is no solution. – Hazel Nicholson
A puzzle wrapped in a riddle inside a mystery inside an enigma inside a cat carrier.