August 2012 is a very special month on our planet.
We’ve got the Olympics.
We’ve got an actual blue moon. (Really.)
And, right in Ringoes, NJ,* we’ve got the phenomenon that is Midnight.
Sashay into Suite B, and prepare to be accosted by the feline equivalent of Auntie Mame. With a personality 473 times larger than her body, Midnight will hurtle across the room to you, kid-to-the-ice-cream-man excited, ready to sweep you into her magical, dizzying world of exuberance. If cats accessorized, Midnight would have sixteen feather boas. If cats drove, Midnight would speed along in a hot pink Cadillac convertible with a horn that plays “O Happy Day.” If cats served humans (HA HA HA HA HA!), Midnight would make-a you 22 plates of lasagna and baked ziti and eggplant rollatini just the way you like it.
Life and liveliness is busting out all over when it comes to Midnight.
Funny thing that a cat named for the darkest hour should shine so brightly. We don’t know all the details of Midnight’s past, except that she’s part of the epic Georgia smorgasbord that came to us this summer (from Connie to the Georgia flowers, it’s been a feast of felinity). She may be your Auntie Mame, but Midnight was literal mom to Clyde. He was adopted in a flash, but don’t pity this empty nester. When there’s this much joy to squeeze out of every. single. moment, there’s a shortage of time to feel sorry for oneself.
It’s been said, by psychologist types who are much smarter than me,** that a human bean’s happiness level is only 10% circumstantial. That is to say, once you have your needs met at a certain basic level (having enough to eat, a roof over your head, the ability to listen to Mumford & Sons etc.), a change in circumstances will not significantly affect your happiness level. Sure, you may get a temporary bump in bliss from that new house or spouse or mouse - but external stuff of any kind does not have the power to make a seismic shift in your happiness level. Not a blue moon, not a gold medal, not even an orinch kitten. (OK, maybe an orinch kitten.)
Here’s the wild and wonderful thing: 40-50% of your happiness is apparently within your control. How do you choose to react to that blue moon or gold medal or orinch kitten? With what attitude do you attack the new house or spouse or mouse? (Hmm, wrong choice of words. Don’t attack your spouse. Or mouse.)
Before we get too far afield, let’s get back to Ms. ‘Night herself. Here’s the thing: Midnight chooses happiness.
She chooses happiness the way choosy moms choose Jif.
She chooses happiness the way the Most Interesting Man In The World chooses Dos Equis.
She chooses happiness the way she chooses love…and Midnight always chooses love.
With that much happiness in her paw, Midnight is perfectly happy at Tabby’s Place. It’s not her concern why she’s still not been adopted, despite being off-the-charts adorable and out-of-this-world affectionate. She’s unruffled by the rabble rousers like LaFawnduh who insist on spreading their disdain with the masses (LaFawnduh does not choose love for other cats). Midnight’s not even concerned by snot. Since the day she came to us, Ms. ‘Night has maintained a consistent little bleb of clear snot on one nostril. Neither a nasal flush nor extensive examination nor a course of antibiotics have de-snotted our sweetheart, so our vet’s determined Midnight simply has chronic sinusitis. It’s unlikely to cause Midnight any distress other than the possible occasional upper respiratory infection and/or disqualification from the finals for Miss America (not that those judges have any idea what they’re doing).
None of it nags at Midnight in the depths of night. She’s happy and she loves you. It’s her wiring, it’s her circumstances, and it’s her constant, exuberant choice. As Auntie Mame would say, “Life’s a banquet, and most suckers are starving to death.” But every one of us suckers is invited to the feast, so let’s pull up our chairs.
In the middle of winter, some discover that invincible summer. And in the depths of the night, the brightest joy shines. Journey on joyward, Midnight.
Postscript: Do you think people still name cats Midnight in places like Iceland and northern Alaska, where there are long swaths of time bathed in 24-hour daylight? I have been looking for a good excuse to go to Iceland. Let’s go ask. Who’s coming with me?
*In what was arguably the Best Spam Ever, Jonathan recently received an email announcing that Tabby’s Place was a finalist in the “Best of Ringoes Awards,” for the highly competitive category of “zoos and aquariums.” They said no one could dethrone the great Ringoes Zoo, but by golly, Tabby’s Place is gonna try. Note to those not included among the 14 people who have ever heard of Ringoes, NJ: Ringoes does not have a zoo. Ringoes does not have an aquarium. Ringoes barely has a place to buy gum. We’re still fixin to get another stop light. And our main deli looks suspiciously like a saloon. The great non-metropolis shimmers.
**I am indebted for these insights to Dr. Henry Cloud’s The Law of Happiness, Gretchen Rubin’s ever-awesome Happiness Project, and 31 years and counting of my Mom’s wisdom. 🙂