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  • Writer's picturemaggiehsmith07


This post begins with a story that is probably PG-13. And? “You own everything that happened to you. Tell your stories. If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should have behaved better.” ― Anne Lamott, Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life

Last night, I began to make my way home from Long Island and made it about half way – checking into a hotel in CT soon after disembarking the ferry around 9 PM. I ate a (very) late dinner and wrapped up the last of the book I was reading. I fell into a fitful sleep only to be startled awake by a loud noise. I listened and then realized the loud noise was my neighbors at the Hilton Garden Inn. Specifically, it was lady neighbor.

Jesus. Is she in there alone?! I wondered, hearing a woman caterwauling. She let F bombs of ecstasy fly. And made, uh, announcements. I finally heard a lower murmuring and realized she (thank god) wasn’t alone. Someone in that room should have received an Oscar. Maybe him? When I had my own year of eat, pray, love following the dissolution of my starter marriage, I lived in a very small apartment. It was 570 square feet but it was all mine and I loved it and that year. I rented one of the units on the bottom floor, which was “garden level”. I believe that’s a boujee way to say “basement”. The windows were level with the ground outside. One Saturday morning, a brisk squeaking began over my room. Andrea looked at my bedroom ceiling and I quickly said, “Don’t worry. This won’t last long.” And it didn’t. This is how I know for sure that the guy next door at the Hilton Garden Inn wasn’t the same guy that lived above me. Perhaps for that alone, he should earn an Oscar. This morning, I zipped out early and narrowly resisted the urge to knock on the door and yell, “GOOD MORNING, LOVERS!” and run.

When Elliot was going down the tubes and the end was near, I googled cat hospice. I soon came to the realization that we were well past that point. It was then that I learned that Dr. Death will come to your home and put the poor animal out of its misery there. Then I learned actual veterinarian’s will come to your house for your pets! This may not be new news to anyone, but it certainly was to me. I’m bad at taking our cats to the vet because getting them into the carrier is a fight. Then, they proceed to scream and cry the entire car ride only to arrive at the vet and wait in the waiting room that probably smells like fear. You’re eventually shuttled into a small room where you wait for the vet to come in and poke at your cat, which the cat, understandably does not enjoy. So, because the Dr. Death visit was as pleasant as such a terrible visit can be, I booked a home veterinarian to catch “the kittens” (who are now 10) up on their vaccines. You get the cats into a room, the vet comes in, vaccines are administered, we hold hands and paws and sing kumbaya. Only this is not how it played out. I mean. The first part did. In fact, Lola was lying on the bed and I carried Dex in and placed her on the bed. I shut the door. I let the vet in the front door and then opened the door to the guest room bedroom where I’d expected the cats to be awaiting us, like, “Come on in and jab our hindquarters with a stabby needle!” But they weren’t. There were no cats in sight. Fortunately, Lola decided to make a run for it and the vet nabbed her. The vet and assistant held Lola while telling her, in a cooing voice, just how beautiful she was. Lola likes being told she’s beautiful so she was quiet and tolerant, until they gave her a mani/pedi. Then she cried as if they were nailing her to a cross. As soon as they were done with her, Lola shot back under the bed, where Dex had remained for the duration of Lola’s exam. If Dex were a real, live child, her hooded eyes would suggest she’s perpetually stoned. Only now, two wild eyed cats peered out at me which made it hard to tell them apart. “One’s growling!” The vet exclaimed. “Must be Lola.” I murmured, thinking how Dex has never hissed at us. A cat began hissing and I went for the cat nip. The cats scuttled to the other side of the bed, storage drawers under the bed bifurcating the sides. I then fetched a (plastic) hanger from the guest room closet and tried to sweep the cat towards me. I felt like Joan Crawford in Mommy Dearest, only I didn’t beat a cat with it. Although I wanted to as I thought, “I hope to God these women do not charge by the hour.”

A cat finally emerged from under the bed.

“Lola?” I asked and Lola meowed in reply.

“Okay. You. Out.” I said, swiftly opening the door. Lola shot through it as if she were a hostage I’d freed as a hostage negotiator. Back to Dex.

“I’m really sorry about this.” I apologized, “I’m not sure why it didn’t occur to me that this would happen.” “Don’t be - happens all the time. A lot of people put their cats in the bathroom because there really isn’t any place for the cat to hide there.” The vet offered.

“Lesson learned.” I said, jabbing with the hanger. “Dex. You’re grounded. No sink drinks for you.” The vets laughed. Dex growled. Hilarious. The vets busted out their birds of prey gloves and got on either side of the bed.

“I’m concerned. It’s really narrow. I don’t want to hurt her getting her out.” The vet said.

At that point, if I had to press Dex into the hardwood, so be it. We had medical personnel standing by.

“Most Dex has moved all day!” The vet marveled, because I’d spend at least 5 minutes telling them how lazy she was.

“All year.” I grunted, me too. “Shit.” I probably shouldn’t say shit but in front of these two but if ever an occasion called for it, this was it.

Finally, Dex gave up the fight and slithered out from under the bed. I scooped her up triumphantly. The tech grabbed her with her gloved hands, her t-shirt covered in catnip. Dex growled and hissed the entire time. “I really didn’t anticipate this. Sorry!” I squeaked. “This is what we expect. When it doesn’t happen, it’s a bonus. Do you have a towel we can wrap her in? Has Dex always been kind of greasy and unkempt?”

“Yes. We call her a hobo.”

The vet and tech laugh as if I am joking, only I’m serious.

“Oh. Well that’s good. Had she been well groomed then then greasy and unkempt, she could be ill.”

“She isn’t ill. She’s lazy.”

Dex’s exam is finally complete and she shoots off to join Lola. I write a large check and thank them effusively. I later go upstairs to assess the damage. I once offered Lola a fuego corn snack. She licked it. Fuego means fire so offering this to her was not good. She took off and held a grudge a long time. I hope this is not fuego level grudge. It isn’t. Lola comes to me. All is forgiven. Dex too emerges.

“Sorry, guys. I just want you to be healthy and live forever!” I say.

A Rare Photo of Dex Bathing

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