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I'm in a perpetual phase of transition which doesn't seem to be phasing out.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Reindeer Vs. Airplane

Well life has been nuts.  I don't have much time to blog right now, but things should lighten up after the 6th.  Got a lot going on.

I wanted to at least type up this awesome thing my mom sent me in the mail.  It's a photocopy of a letter my sister Jessica and I wrote to Santa when we were little. 

Dear Santa, (really bad handwriting obviously)

Me and Jessica saw your sleigh.  My parents wouldn't think it was you they would think it was an airplane by the loud noices, But me and Jess know it was your raindeer going super speed. their amazzing you are too.

You friend,
Zanie Rhoden (Jessica too)

P.S. Sign below to prove to our parents that we saw you and you weren't an airplane

X    K. Kringle (Santa)

This made me smile bunches.  One time I ran into my old babysitter from when I was little.  I saw her at a bar, in fact she was my bar tender.  She cracked up when she discovered I was a little artsy fartsy, liberal, sinister skeptic type.  She told me that when I was pretty small, my sister (who is 3yrs older than me ) was talking about Santa Claus and I said to her "shut up Jessica! Santa Claus isn't real!"  Judging from this letter, I think my babysitter got me confused with someone else.  I have used that encounter I had with her sooo many times to illustrate that I've been a skeptic since birth....ha....guess not.  Darn. 

Maybe sometimes I believed in Santa and sometimes I didn't.  Or maybe I liked the idea of believing in Santa so I just played along...nah I shouldn't give myself that much toddler Einstein credit...that just sounds cocky.

Sometimes I believe in God.  Sometimes I don't. ha. This post is dedicated to some of my very dearest friends who discovered (I think over a discussion regarding religion at the bar, the best topic after several beers in a social environment) that I told some of them I was an atheist and others that I believe in God.  I simply pleaded guilty and told them that I tell different people different things. Goodness gracious, I gotta get this head screwed on straight one day. 

I just like the idea of a gray-bearded man in the sky, damn it!  Even if it's all make-believe, sometimes it's fun to utilize that imagination I had before my dad got internet for our home when I was 11 or so.  Maybe it's not make-believe at all...either way, I try not to let it consume me....eats my soul up real quick-like and that really seems like a paradoxical affect.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Sufficient Buzz

Buzzed and listening to some Neko Case with Caleb. Lordie Lord.

Caleb: I got a lot of sun today
Zanie: (half listening at best) Oh yeah? hows does it feel?
Caleb: Somewhere between heat stroke and awesome...the sweet spot.

I saw two men fly fishing in a parking lot today. It was strange. 

Caleb was listening to Nina Simone when I walked into his place.  He commented that he just found out today that she was from Asheville (a fact that I was aware of).  I didn't know who we were listening to...nor was I paying attention because I showed up a bit tipsy so I said "who, Lauryn Hill?" (she's not even fron Asheville) how embarrassing.

Lauryn Hill...that reminds me of the Fugees and this hilarious video: (my fave part starts around 3:35ish)

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Off-Beat Blades and Flying Six-Legged Martyrs

I went to a conference at Virginia Military Institute this past weekend to present some papers.  Papers that I wrote a year or so ago when I was an undergraduate student at the local University. I was the only alum in the group.  Made me feel a little sad, but relieved at the same time to have a break from all the grind of schoolwork.

We took a bus, one of those big fancy busses with a bathroom, from Asheville to Lexington, Virginia.  The bus driver was this older gentleman, probably in his seventies.  He had his hair perfectly combed so that it was parted off to one side and then neatly combed back at an angle with a bit of a hump at the start of his hairline from his forehead.  His hair was combed the way an older man's hair living out in Arizona and wearing a leather stringed tie with turquoise beads would be combed, if that makes sense. He had a full head of snow white hair and a big 'ol yellow smile with widely gapped teeth and a signficant underbite.  From his appearance and the way that he carried himself, it seemed like maybe he was obsessed with personal tidiness.  His clothes looked freshly ironed, his tie (a part of his uniform with the bus company's name imprinted on it) was tied neatly and tight.  I bet he uses expensive aftershave.  For some reason I got to thinking about how the job of a bus driver isn't very clean.  Like something about it just seems dirty, like maybe he'd go home smelling like exhaust fumes or dusty rubber or something.  Maybe pristine personal hygiene distracted him from this, or maybe I'm just creating a character in my head.  I imagined this older gentleman having a perfected morning routine, timed out and everything. It probably involves showering, teethbrushing, mouth-wash shwishing, shaving...he was perfectly shaven, which can probably be atttributed to an old school shave kit from the 1940s he inherited from his father (who was also a blue collar man with a lot of pride and a big heart, a member of the republican party with a wee bit of racism but no white hood wearing extremities and a secret appreciation for poetry and pacifism, though war is entrenched romantically in his make-up, etc), putting on a good deal of musky aftershave, and dressing in a clean, ironed uniform (always ironed by him because he's on the road a good deal, and also because he's a widower....actually I don't know that, but he had a certain inconspicuous sadness to him), always wearing a white undershirt from a fruit of the loom package of 5 that he replaces every 6 months or so to avoid unwanted yellowing pit stains and eating breakfast and reading the newspaper and maybe some Bible verses from his much worn leather bond pocket size Bible he takes with him on the road, the one his son and daughter bought for him and got his named engraved in gold on when they were grown, the two children out of the 4 that keep in touch with him and care about him and gave him beautiful grandchildren that he keeps pictures of in his wallet to show the rare, personable passengers that magically take notice of his existence outside of his occupation as their bus driver (I didn;t make conversation with this man, this whole thing is just made up blabberings, looking back I wish I had). I bet he likes orange juice and bacon and eggs.  He seemed like someone that appreciates a hardy breakfast. 

There were dead bug guts all over the huge windshield of the bus.  It was disgusting.  I bet if the bus driver focused on those little mushed up ill-fated carcuses too long he'd get depressed about his life, maybe even angry.  When it rained he put the windshield wipers on and the bug guts got swished away.  But the wipers were out of sink, they weren't synchronized whatsoever, one moved fast and absurdly, the other more slow and consistent in it's repitition.  Now that could drive a man towards insanity.  The bugs and the wipers got me really wondering what this man's thoughts were like as he drove along for hours with a bus full of strangers sitting behind him who's lives he was held responsible for temporarily.

(We had to watch a safety video on the bus at the beginning of our journey.  One part demonstrated how to hold onto some bars with your hands for balance while using the bathroom. A lot of us chuckled. It took me forever to take a leak when I used the bathroom, the balancing act made it so that my body couldn't relax enough to get the flow going, I had to sorta psuedo-meditate to relieve myself. Thanks for nothing video...welll I didn't fall that's good I guess.)

The bus driver didn't stay at the same hotel as us...which was a fairly crappy Days Inn.   He dropped us off after the first day of the conference at the hotel and picked us up the next morning bright and early.  I know this b/c I heard the bus roll up at 7:30 for us to board at 7:45, it made that loud sound of relief, the airy sound like the bus yawned right before falling asleep.  I wonder where he stayed.  Maybe with the bad economy and high gas prices the quality of the overnight facility the company pays for has declined in recent years.  I was really curious to know where he slept that night.

He was always so genial when we boarded and when we departed.  He loaded and unloaded and reloaded all of our bags for us too.  I felt sort of strange or spoiled or something every time I got off the bus at VMI and said "thanks!"  Here's this elderly bus driver, way past the age that my dad plans to retire, dropping off a bunch of over achiever nerdy college kids with super bright futures in academia, law and medicine.  Not that there's anything at all wrong with driving a bus (by me emphasizing that, I feel like I'm just coming off as someone who's closeting her own indoctrinated feelings of superiority and entitlement on the social pyramid, however, believe me that bus driver makes way more money than I do. I guess that's not the point, in the back of my mind I instinctively feel like I'm going to be successful in some snobby academic field or newspaper or something, and so me feeling sorry for the old bus driver is like premature patronization...that sucks.)...I just imagined him driving along, sometimes eavesdropping on passengers' conversations and other times daydreaming of sipping a daquiri from a coconut shell with a bright green straw on a white sanded beach with palm trees and clear blue water somewhere in the caribbean.  I just hope he gets the opportunity to relax permanently until that day reaches know...that one we're all scared sh*tless of...even if this relaxation involves an archaic television set and a yellow and brown floral print couch from the 60s with a plastic cover on it that he refuses to take off because his deceased wife hands placed it there. He hated that plastic protective covering until the day she died...then he loved it nostalgically, not quite remorsefully, because he never complained to her about it. 

God I don't even know that guy at all...I just do far too much daydreaming for my own good. 

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Ah. Warm Weather. Sorry guys, my nogan don't have much uh goin' on.

Nothin' like an old fashioned case of spring fever...unless it has some historical roots to a disease people got in the Spring.  This ain't no disease, I just don't want to do jack crap when it's nice out. Maybe I'll think of some semi-interesting little minor anecdotes from my days soon. Right now I'm just gonna take it real easy like.  Be back soon, I promise.  Maybe by mid week I'll have some inspiration and some motivation.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Dear Yusuf Islam (formerly known as Cat Stevens), I seemed to have forgotten how much I love you. I just now remembered, and boy am I glad. Sincerely, Zanie

Played this song for the first time in a while. God I love it.  On top of that I found the clip from Harold & Maude that plays it in the background:

Won't you step on sidewalk cracks with me, please, lovely?

Asheville decided to skip spring and go straight to summer it seems.  It's freaking hot. Oh how I love summer-ish evenings though.  The sun stays out til nearly 9, the breeze relieves us from the heat and so does a nice, cold brewskie. Nothing like the feeling of carbonation from a delicious beer tickling your tongue on a warm night.  Ha, I'm drinking a PBR in the picture below...far from delicious, but cheap! Soon I'll be able to afford local $4 pints again, because I scored a job as a barista at an awesome local bakery/cafe.  It's going incredibly well thus far. 

Last night I went out on the town with Caleb and my long lost friend Rachel.  We reunited recently, I actually was the long lost one.  My last semester in collge was painstaking and ever since I just haven't been super social.  I'm trying to get back to my gregarious roots and have fun with wonderful folks.  I guess we all do a little hibernating during the winter months.  Caleb and I walked to one of our favorite little restaurant joints, it's called Todd's Tasties. We both order the same thing almost every time, "The Spin," it's a plain bagel toasted with an over easy egg (actually over medium, I'm the messiest eater in the world and last time I ate the spin I had egg yolk dripping down my face and all over a scarf I was wearing, so now I say over-medium, seems to work out better, I think I need a bib), goat cheese (or chevre if you're feeling fancy) spinach and salt & pepper. It is sooo delicious.  Rachel met us there. She's trying to be a vegan.  I've done that before but soy anything gives me god awful gas and I can't be in public without causing offense to the noses of those within a quarter mile range of me.  I'm pretty much a vegetarian but I eat fish occasionally and various fowl on holidays (well and honey baked ham sometimes, but i lovvvve pigs, so let's pretend I didn't admit that, plus it makes me so sick, but it's totally worth it once a year). Rachel doesnt eat eggs or dairy or meat or anything that has any of those ingredients in it.  She got a salad with no dressing, looked real boring. 

We decided we all wanted some dessert...actually I wanted dessert and I'm super assertive when I have a sweet tooth going on.  So we walked to the French Broad Chocolate Lounge.  It's this adorable place downtown where I go to pretend I'm Parisian.  We got some slices of cake and took them to my favorite bar "The Prospect." It's this little dive on the outskirts of downtown.  It's a stand-alone concrete, rectangular building that's been painted dark green and actually looks pretty cool in a run-down industrial, slightly seedy kind of way.  They have a great jukebox and an awesome patio which includes a bocce court. 

I only get competitive about two things in life: Scrabble and bocce.  I make fun of Caleb sooo hard when he has a bad throw in bocce, and I'm such a sooorrre loser. omg. oh and when I win it's worse, I start doing a victory dance and yell boo ya! a bunch. good god. I wonder if that's how wall street stock brokers behave at work.

Rachel had never been to The Prospect, not a ton of people know about it (ha that sounds so elitist).  It's a bit of a sketchy walk from the chocolate lounge to the Prospect. We moved away from the main part of town where all the tall buildings are and ended up taking short cuts through the run down gravel parking lots of dilapidated buildings, where it's easy to find shattered glass from forty ounce bottles of cheap malt beer (sorry if I just got sublime's "40 ounces to freedom" stuck in your head)and cigarette butts and whatnot. 

Rachel got pretty sketched out on the walk. I kept saying "don't worry Rachel! we're almost there"  and somehow we just kept not getting there, it was a longer walk than I remembered, plus Caleb and I usually power walk everywhere.  She started to get a little scared...saying stuff like "where are you guys taking me?" I made silly jokes, like "oh crap! I forgot my knife!" That probably didn't help.  I think she started having irrational fears that maybe me and Caleb weren't trustworthy people, that maybe we were going to kill her or something.  Obviously she knew that wasn't the case, but we're animals, our survival is the # one priority of our id, (well and reproduction, but that's a sort of survival in itself I think). She seemed to start letting her id take over, she was starting to look out for herself, starting to get pretty concerned.  I found it really interesting.  Our brains can make us think crazy things when we sense danger.  It was as if she was thinking "The Prospect" didn't even exist at all.  Then I tried to think of a place close to it so she'd be able to get a sense of the bar's location.  So I said "It's like a block down from Dirty Dick's".  Ugh, I always call it that by accident.  It's the brewery for a really popular Irish/ Bluegrassy pub downtown called Jack of the Wood. People nicknamed the brewery "Dirty Jack's"  It's a bar too, but it's kind of like "Jack of the Wood II" and it's a lot smaller than the main bar.  Luckily she knew of it and felt more comfortable, and me calling it "Dirty Dick's" by accident was actually the perfect comical relief she needed.  Caleb didn't let that one go for a bit. ha.  

Well we finally got there, played a few rounds of bocce, and had some drinks.  I know the owners fairly well. They're youngish, crazy smart folks, Phil and Ryan (pronounced Rye-Ann).  Ryan is this beautiful, bright woman.  She's tough, probably the toughest girl I know.  She doesnt't put up with anything.  She cussed at this dude one time for not bringing enough money to tip. ha. Phil is much more mellow, they're really perfect business partners.  Ryan used to kind of act like she had an issue with me, she never really seemed to be particularly fond of me.  Tough people don't allow themselvs to warm up to people quickly, they're weary and supsicious until you can show them a good reason why they shouldn't be.  She was suspicious of my character for a long while.  Slowly she began to like me and even calls me "hun" sometimes I think.  She called me "Em" last night (the first syllable of my name, guess that makes it pretty darn obvious what my name is. Much to her chagrin now, my mom gave me what came to be the most popular girls name in the country. When I was growing up and someone would yell out my name, I'd never turn my head to look b/c I was kind of nerdy, and so I just assumed anyone calling out my name was attempting to get someone else's attention who shared the same name as myself, like a cheerleader or a ballerina or a soccer player). Ryan made me feel all warm inside, by using my pet name, it was like the cool girl in class wanted to be my friend or something.  She knows the details of what happened to me at my laundry job because I had to take a call from the Sheriff's department a few weeks ago while I was at the bar, they were calling me back so I could report the incident I was involved in. She felt really bad for me and I knew from her eye contact that she knew just how much it had affected me.  She was ecstaticcc when I told her last night that I got the barista job.  When I went to close my tab we chatted about my new job casually. I think she sees me as a somewhat passive and deeply insecure human being.  Strong people dont like pawns and always know when you're emotionally vulnerable. I think the fact that I handled the situation I was in at the nursing home like an adult, like a strong female, impressed her.  She touched the back of my hand with the pads of her fingers as I picked up a copy of my receipt and made really good eye contact with me and said "Take care, Em." I felt high as I walked down the sidewalk to head home with Caleb and Rachel.  I just kept saying to them over and over "I can still feel her fingers on my hand! Ryan likes me!"  I do feel weak most of the time, dibilitatingly insecure ALL of the time.  The smart, cool punk girl with tattoos who only smiles when she means it...she doesn't hate me. haha I sound like I have a crush on her...I just want to be more like her that's all. Confident in who I am and what I have to offer the world around me.

This post totally shows just how 22 I am...well 23 in May. That's okay. I'm trying to work on this whole authenticity/ happy-with-who-I-am thing, it ain't easy. I shouldn't feel bad for being the age that I am I s'pose. Once I grow up I'll just be that much closer to that thing in life that happens to us all, when the heart slows it's self down to an eternal stopping point, and what lies next is ultimately a mystery. I've felt alive here lately. Really, Really alive.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Road Kill Hierarchy.

So I realized today while driving to community college that I have a bias towards particular animals in terms of how sad I feel when I see their corpses on the road.  I ALWAYS have to look at what kind of animal it is when I drive by it.  It's this weird, kind of sick thing that I feel all humans possess, we kind of secretly enjoy morbidity or "bad" things.  Maybe it's more of an interest, a nosiness, than a pleasure we get from it.  I mean the media knows it, we're not all that hard to figure out, us humans, bad news sells. We wear our fascination towards pain, so long as its inflicted on someone else, on our sleeves more so than we'd probably like. Yet it's fairly subversive to give the true reasons for why you crock your head to check out the severity of a car accident or to see what's going on with all the lighted cop cars and the cuffed man and the inspection of the open trunk of his vehicle.  I think it has a little to do with the same reasons we watch awful reality t.v. We want to be able to beef ourselves up, juxtapose our existences with other seemingly worse ones and think "Well at least I'm not that person." Or maybe we really are just all morbidly nosey and intrigued by the horrific elements in life, that could happen to anyone, but didn't happen to us.

Anyway today while en route to community college I got a good look at the carcus of a groundhog.  Geez! I dunno what I'd do if I hit a freaking groundhog, the cute little fur ball of a thing, that might destroy laboriously put together gardens, but is so ridiculously cute nonetheless.  We have a whole holiday for the gosh darn adorable creature for heaven's sake! They're important, their shadows presage how much more cold we'll have to bare (god I sound like such a glass half empty kind of a spirit...okay, much longer we have until the gorgeous spring arrives and the flowers bloom and the sun warms our skin so beautifully) I always look at the faces of the dead creatures...sometimes the face isn't really there anymore, which is sad, but worse is when it is still in tact and Mr. Death, the best damn chess player there is (had to watch "the seventh seal" for a medieval humanities course, and actually really, really, really loved it) froze a terrible last breath expression. The groundhog's face was turned away from me in its positioning on the road, which was probaly a good thing, considering it was in the morning and I heard somewhere that the earliest parts of your day will affect your whole aura or mood or outlook or whatever for the remaining parts of it.  (Actually what I really heard was that the way your room looks when you wake up will affect your whole day.  I'm messy though, and don't want to change that about myself, so I'm going to say the hour or so before coffee kicks in counts, no matter how far away you are from the enviroment where you slowly forced yourself out of a prostrate position.  Plus the guy who fed me that little tidbit also liked to take pictures of me with a disposable camera which had a harsh flash when I was angry at him.  He wanted to capture my emotions to prove to me I'd find them amusing later when I wasn't upset.  If there is a high school aged reader out there, please refrain from dating artsy, dark, singer-songwriter, composition notebook carrying college boys. They aren't that cool, I promise. And they aren't good at writing, really, give his stuff a good perusing. You're probaly smarter and don't veil yourself with an arrogant ignorance towards your inability to know everything there is to know before age 20. Me?Bitter? ha no, I've just learned a lot in a very short amount of time from making dumb decisions.) Anyway when I saw the cute, pudgy, furry rodent laying there, lifeless, I yelled out "What the hell is happening to this world!?!?!?!!" (in my car with the windows up of course) I don't feel as much of a reaction when I see squirrels or oppossoms.  Squirrels have a high populous 'round deez parts, and oppossoms always die with a menacing, ridiculing, pointed tooth and pointed mouth smile.  As if they're laughing at us humans and our metal boxes we ride around in.  As if they really beat us to the finish line, with a lot less petty complications. Or maybe they are janists and know we'll experience consequences for the masupicide.  (Possoms are the only marsupials on the American continents I do believe. Oh it pangs me to think people don't believe that the continents are like a big 'ol broken up jogsaw puzzle.  When I was around 14 or so My church youth group and I watched this very persuasive series of videos by this Floridian minister who was trying to convince people that evolution wasn't real.  For a chunk of my life I didn't believe in evolution, I was a "creationist" or maybe just a kid who wanted to fit in with the cool kids in my church youth group, I don't know.  Either way I was easily suaded. I still suffer from memories of 9th grade biology class when this kid Alex Gratzek made me cry for belittling my creationist beliefs.  How silly I was. The next year I stopped going to church and also kind of lost my mind. oh the joys of high school and that whole development of the frontal lobe crap I think I learned about in a psycology class once. I'm not a total cynic, oh reader, I totally think that being a Christian and still supporting evolution is completely possible, but that church I went to was a weird place where women had no voice and the preacher dedicated his sermon one year around election time to suade the audience to vote for Dubya.  I was confused about it all and my mind was in torment, and I had to leave.) Well I felt sad about the groundhog, and roads and chopped down trees and cars and people and litter and civilization getting out of hand and gray concrete and all that business. 

R.I.P. Murray.  Yep I named the groundhog after Bill Murray.  I sort of like that cheezy movie Groundhog Day.  The actress who plays his love interest, Andy McDowell, lives in Asheville. She was in line behind me at Whole Foods the other day.  I felt soooo nervous for some reason.  She's the pretty brown haired forty something lady that is the face of loreal I believe. Should've given her my blog address.  just kidding...kind of.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Play Day.

Every Sunday afternoon I volunteer for an E.S.L (English as a Second Language) class.  I don't teach the class, I take care of the students' children.  It's so much fun.  This week I brought bubbles and a disposable camera to play with.  These little cuties are quite the photographers!

Claudia wanted to squish my face for the picture.

The other Emily loved getting this shot of me. ha.

Alma and me and the cute twins Emily and Sallalie (Can't remember how
to spell her name)

I told Sallalie (sp?) to make a silly face. aaw.

Me &Alma

I think Emily took this one. She's really good at coloring, I bet she'll be an artist.
She also made a beautiful bouquet of weed flowers for her mom.

Alma, Me and Lucy

Ernesto is such an amazing big borther to his lil sis Alma. Latino kids get along much better
with their siblings than Anglo kids I've babysat in the past.  The whole culture just seems much more communal.

Claudia looking pensive.  She's the wildest of the bunch.  She's a middle child, I find that interesting.

The man in the green is one of my history professors from school.  He got me involved in the program.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Mug Shot

You might be a lazy American if...'re too lazy to clean out one of your 3 thrift store bowls and eat cereal out of a beer mug instead. 

Lost Cat.

A few weeks ago, while I was still employed at the nursing home, I had a chance encounter with a precious dark and light gray striped kitty with non-identical splashes of white fur on his paws and beautiful eyes the color of a lamb’s ear plant, a lot like this cat in fact  One of the residents, by the name of Kenny, is a 30 something paraplegic. He has a pony tail, always wears a backwards black cap and sports Harley Davidson tees. He chain smokes cigarettes out on the patio with his wife when she comes to visit.  I’m not sure why he is in a nursing home at such a young age, besides the obvious, that he’s wheelchair bound with no legs.  I guess his wife just struggled to take care of him, which is understandable and also none of my business.  They were both really sweet to me.  She, surprisingly more so than him, looks as though she’s had a rough go at this whole life business we’re all born into without our own consent.  She’s not even forty and wears the worn, wrinkled, nearly toothless face of a much older being. She’s also unnaturally teeny, I doubt she weighs more than 95 pounds. Either she had a hard life, has done her fair share of crystal meth (a popular drug in rural mountain communities) or maybe both.  Regardless, I felt very drawn to this woman.  She has a wit to her, a rawness, an “I’ve seen some things” sensibility, that I very much appreciate in a human being. So I guess we became casual acquaintances over the course of my employment at her husband’s place of residence. She visited very regularly and you could tell she cared deeply for her husband.
One night she came into the laundry area with an adorable kitty-cat in her arms.  I may not seem like a softie on this blog (I don’t really know how I come across exactly), but I have a super soft, brie cheese of a heart when it comes to creatures, with a bit of a bias for furry ones. I don;t mind slimy creatures all that much, I try to make a point to pick up earthworms off the sidewalk while the skies are still gray after a good rain and throw them back into the grass so they don’t get fried. My co-worker/ partner in crime, Leroy, at the museum does the same(we partook in that very activity today, so I had to give this glorious human being a shout-out). Quick sidetracked note: Roy and I spent most of our day in the museum visitor center(I only work there 16 hrs/mo, ha) looking at old black and white high school class photos from the early decades of the 20th century on some photography collective on the internet.  We debated over whom were the hottest people in the various classes, trying to eliminate the image of the shape they’re most likely in now (unless they asked to be cremated) out of our minds. It took up a not quite shamefully (but close), chunk of our day.  It was a nice change from our usual routine of hanging out on and for most of the day. Clearly we don’t get many visitors.  I would immerse myself in the world of a good book, but considering I only work there twice a month, I’d rather get some quality time in with good ‘ol Roy. He talks to me about his wife and children and also reminisces on his younger years when he played in rock bands (which he still does but from an endearing matrimonial/ monogamous frame of mind) and felt super cool and had lots of one night stands. I tell him about my silly “love” life which usually consists of one or two people I’ve gone on a few dates with, held a brief infatuation for, and then broke things off with because I have commitment/intimacy issues like nobody’s business, and well, because it’s just hard for me to sacrifice my precious alone time for another person.  I also find it difficult to like people enough to see them in a romantic light. Gah, I’m terrible.  Roy is great with advice and telling it like it is, rather than saying what he thinks I’ll wanna hear. He somehow manages to carry a tone of loving, almost paternal concern and genuine kindness in his criticisms of my miniature melodramas/ occasionally sappy real-life soap opera tales (that’s about as personal as this thing is gonna get, dear reader, though I do plan to write rather bluntly about my abnormal views on monogamy and other socially constructed norms at some point).
Wow! Back to the cat.  Well Kenny’s wife, aka Christine brought in this precious little being and I instantly fell in love.  She asked me if I could take it because she couldn’t keep it.  She said it kept hanging around outside of her house and every time her pet cat, a strictly indoors kitty, saw the other cat he’d dart straight into the window to try to chase him.  So apparently her cat was performing unintentionally suicidal acts due to the presence of this adorable kitty, and Christine simply couldn’t keep him. 
I have a pet cat already.  His name is Percy and he’s the cleverest little douche bag you’ll ever meet. My parents take care of him because he was beating up all the neighbors cats in my neighborhood here in Asheville and when I tried to keep him strictly indoors he started yanking out patches of his fur and developed “kitty depression.” The vet suggested some sort of feline Prozac, but I declined and my mom and dad agreed to take him in. I felt like a rebellious daughter who got knocked up young and had no maternal instincts/ was terribly irresponsible and had to thrust my baby on its grandparents so that I could go about my youthful existence burden-free (is it a wee bit obvious that I’m pro-choice?). However it’s worked out alright.  Percy and my dad have developed such a strong bond that my mom swears he loves the cat more than her.  In fact one time when I stated that I was planning to take Percy back whenever I moved to a new place my dad responded with “well you know Zanie, there are plenty of other cats out there for you to adopt.” My dad is a bit of a stoic, so it’s pretty darn priceless to see this bond in action when I visit home. Spring gets a little intense though.  My mom is a deeply sensitive soul and my cat is a psycho killer (Qu'est-ce que c'est fa fa fa fa fa fa fa fa fa far better Run run run run run run run away).  He kills everything from baby bunnies to locusts and brings them to the back door as presents (if he doesn’t decide to eat them whole, which he sometimes does unlike most other cats I know). I think he’s just trying to court my mother because he senses a certain level of aversion even in her stroking motions on his coat.  He wants to win her affections but she just cries and gets grossed out by loose rodent guts and whatnot. Actually as of recently I think she’s grown fonder of him. 
Well I told Christine that if she thought the cat could be almost entirely an outdoor cat (my roommate has pet rats and were technically not s’posed to have non-caged animals in our place)I could take him.  She said that that was totally fine so the cat hung out with me in the laundry room until the end of my shift and then I took him home.  This cat was the most affectionate, adorable cat I’d ever met. I was sooo ecstatic. Well my friend Cara brought some food over for it and we played with him for a good while. I thought of naming him Mooshkuh, just a made up name, wasn't up for figuring out a clever literary figure name or something. I texted my Russian friend to make sure “mushka” didn’t mean anything vulgar in Russian, and she said it didn’t mean anything at all. Mooshkuh hung out inside for most of the night, then I let him out around 6am and he never came back.  I was heartbroken. I felt extra bad when Christine informed me that she’d received 5 calls responded to her “found cat” ad.  I probably re-lost an already lost beloved country family’s cat. And worse, he wasn’t neutered, so I’ve probably caused the stray cat population to increase with my carelessness
Honestly, I’m still pretty crushed about it.  That was about 3 weeks ago.  I still leave both wet and dry food out for him every day. I’ve been writing/reading at home a lot more ever since I quit my job as a means to save money (aka I make my own coffee). I do work at the kitchen table for hours every day and can see the bowls of food from the window.  I now am feeding three stray cats, but not Mooshkuh.  These feral cats are totally nervous and frightened easily, thus reiterating in my mind the fact that Mooshkuh clearly wasn’t a stray, just a pet that got lost.  I still feed them even though I’m dying to pet them and can’t.  Doesn’t exactly feel like a symbiotic relationship, considering they all just run away from me.  Now I just leave them alone and watch them come and eat individually, first the black and white cat, then the jet black cat, then the brown striped mini bob cat kitty.  Guess I should start naming them.  I do get a peace of mind from watching them chow down.