• Michael Ruscoe

I Should've Gotten the Cat

Updated: Apr 24, 2020

As we enter—what is this, Week Six? Week Seven?—of our collective sheltering in place, several different ideas are trying to fight their way to the forefront of my brain.

  • For the past year or so, I’ve been in an ongoing dispute with my young daughter over whether or not I should get a cat. I have several compelling reasons not to. Cat food and litter are expensive (as are trips to the vet). I have a sofa that hasn’t been shredded yet. Cleaning up a litter box is work that I don’t want to do. And I live in the woods—if the cat somehow gets outside, it doesn’t really stand a good chance against predators. My daughter had one compelling reason in favor of getting a cat: she wants one. In retrospect, I should have gotten the cat when I had the chance.

  • Time truly is an artificial construct. Without my routine (classes to teach, regular errands to run, ballgames to watch, movies that I’ve been looking forward to seeing), time is meaningless. Absolutely, utterly meaningless. I don’t even get that flash of panic when I stay up far too late surfing on my laptop, because really, what the hell difference does it make what time I wake up? Eight a.m.? Noon? Three in the afternoon? Suddenly, it’s all the same.

  • · And speaking of baseball, old reruns of Home Run Derby on YouTube are really kind of dull, yet somehow oddly satisfying. Last weekend (or was it Thursday? I mean, really—what difference does it make?), I watched Duke Snider go up against Henry Aaron and Gil Hodges take on Willie Mays.

  • And speaking of movies I’ve been looking forward to seeing, I knew this coronavirus thing was going to be serious the minute that No Time to Die was pushed from April to November. James Bond has faced down master assassins, international smugglers (both gold and diamonds), crazed eco-terrorists, nuclear extortionists, and more than one double-O bent on revenge, but he’s never blinked the way he did when COVID-19 was still just a blip on the horizon. There’s never a near-invincible super-spy around when you need one.

  • And speaking of classes to teach, I’ve heard more than one person speculate that thanks to the recent trend of “teaching from home,” the time-honored, beloved tradition of the snow day may soon go the way of the chalkboard and the classroom pencil sharpener. Can’t get to class due to bad weather? No problem—the teacher will instruct you from home! What are you gonna do when you haven’t done your homework now? Tell them your dog ate your iPad?

  • I truly think that protesting against steps we’re taking to combat the worst pandemic in 100 years may go down as the crowning achievement in human stupidity, narrowly edging out New Coke and The Brady Bunch Variety Hour. (Wait a minute. The president just suggested that injecting disinfectants might be worth a look as a way to cure the coronavirus. Aaaannndd--a new contender has entered the fray! Suddenly, protesting against shelter-in-place orders sounds lik a measured exercise in democracy.)

And now, after thinking about all of this, I have a headache. If anyone has a kitten they want to give away, you know where to find me.

Photo by Marko Blažević on Unsplash

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