Out of the pigeonhole

Out of the pigeonhole

A pigeonhole is a nice place to visit, but it’s dangerous business trying to live there.

Just ask the cat who is a smidge larger than your average pigeon.

If you think we write about Grecca a great deal on this blog, your thinkometer is in good working order. Let the record show that the World Greccafication Tour is shameless, jubilant, and guaranteed to continue.

Let the reader understand: Grecca is greatness incarnate.

Grecca is the full force of life, knit into one striped ball of wriggling elderly yarn.

Grecca is capable of rekindling the hopes and dreams of all the years in an instant.

Grecca is gifted at getting us to forget ourselves, and transcend ourselves, and remember things we never knew we always knew.

Grecca is also just really friggin’ good at getting us to laugh.

But if I once thought I fully grokked Grecca, I was grievously, laughably, pitiably dunderheaded. (This is also a reliable description of my personal thinkometer on most days.)

Grecca came to us as a kind of caricature, Tiny Ebullient Unsinkable Senior-type, straight from central casting. We (feebleminded beasties that we are) thought we had seen her kind before. We delighted in her familiarly frantic geriatric exuberance. She was another incarnation of the Manic Pixie Dreamcat in whom Tabby’s Place seems to specialize (see also Erin, Hootz, Adelaide).

Except there is no such thing as “another incarnation.”

Every cat is a creature colossally her own, a flame unto herself, complex and contradictory.

Where our own species limps into others’ well-meaning casting calls, accepting the roles we’re given even when they make us wriggle, Grecca runs like a champion through her own film festival.

The bony zinger who once embodied anxiety has chosen to mellow.

The angles and rickety ribs that once greeted our hands have softened to a bit of squishiness, a dollop of better health, a serving of slowness that looks an awful lot like peace.

Except when it doesn’t.

Grecca’s frenzy isn’t forgotten, merely mingled with an ever-expanding galaxy of qualities that keep us guessing, keep Grec growing, keep the world glowing with permission to play.

Some days she gallops.

Some days she lolls.

Some days she appears to be auditioning for the role of Anxiety in the sequel to Inside Out. (Pixar, please make this sequel, preferably with cats this time.)

Some days she is the embodiment of rest.

Every day, she is the keeper of the Lobby fax machine, unwilling to abandon her post in the highly-likely event the local deli will send us a menu laden with magnificent misspelled offerings (“Quisch Lorraine”, “Tuna Melt Sangwich,” “New Jorsey Special”).

(She is also a fan of the unsolicited faxes offering the entire Tabby’s Place staff a free week at a timeshare in Jalisco, but only because she thinks Jalisco is a variety of cheese large enough for us to actually visit.)

But on no day does Grecca grimly or gleefully decide she has herself all figured out.

On no day shall we find Grecca high atop a final hill, decreeing, “It is determined: I am Zestful Cat,” or “I am Peaceful Cat,” or “I am Cheese-Centric Cat.”

(OK, she might actually decree the latter.)

Would that we should all draw gulps from Grecca’s tall tumbler of truth. We yearn, decade by decade, to have ourselves finally defined, to say “This, at last, is Who I Am,” to flutter our flags and signal our virtues and publish our finalized lists of favorite things and to BE IT KNOWNST unto the world who we are, once and for all.

There will come a once and for all for all of us, but in the meantime, we are living things. We’d best get comfortable continuing to surprise each other.

If a cat who once seemed straightforward can be a curlicue of contradiction, maybe you and me and our nearest pigeon can, too.

I’m a failed ballerina and a forever dancer.

I’m a writer and a fundraiser and a chaplain and a towering weirdo.

Some days I wear age-inappropriate oversized bows, and some days I dress like Scully on the X-Files.

Some days I need twangling bluegrass, and some days I need Sri Lankan gangsta rap.

Some days I read blog posts I wrote in 2009 or 2014 or last week and I cringe.

On the best days, I forgive my ever-growing, never-finished smudge of a fireball of a self.

Only dead butterflies are finally pinned down, and I fully intend to fly.

And, with the help of the Maker who keeps making me, and a hundred cats (give or take) who keep taking me as I am, I think I just might.

You, too.

But we’ll need the grace of Grecca.

Isn’t it a glorious wild thing to be a living, inscrutable being?

Flap your wings, kittens. Eat the Quisch. And get your chaotic colors out of the casting call.

1 thought on “Out of the pigeonhole

  1. Some really great deep thoughts – some things needing to be remembered. I love this phrase:
    Only dead butterflies are finally pinned down, and I fully intend to fly.
    I’m going to remember that. I think cats might agree with this truth.

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