“Everything in moderation…including moderation.”
“Sometimes too much of a good thing is wonderful.”
These are philosophies worth espousing.
I always get a little blank-eyed and stupid when someone asks, “how many adoptions does Tabby’s Place average a week?”
After my initial response (“Guhhh…”), I usually stammer out something about how it really varies, from the people-think-cats-are-gold weeks of 10 adoptions to the people-think-cats-are-radioactive weeks of 0. Somehow it all balances out at around 110-130 adoptions a year.
If ever there was a people-think-cats-are-gold stretch, this was it.
First came Drita. With an overbite to rival Spongebob Squarepants and a head shaped like a tater, Drita had long been the Great Mystery Kitten of Tabby’s Place. 500,000 diagnostics later, we could say with a whoop of gratitude: there was nothing wrong with our little anomaly. (“She’s just a mutant,” as Jonathan said brightly.) No sooner was she cleared of Very Bad Things than she was scooped up. Little did we know that particular incidence of too-much-wonderful was just the forerunner. Consider Drita the Prophet of Awesome.
Then, when we saw Pansy‘s people rounding the corner into Tabby’s Place, we knew we were in store for Very Good Things. These were the wonder-folks who had adopted the shyest of the Flower Girls. These were the stellar specimens of humanity who had taken a chance on a scaredy-cat – and pledged to give her all the patience she’d need, be it weeks or months or eons. (She’s taking them up on that promise, too: as of our last conversation, Pansy is coming around veeeeery sloooooooooowly.)
And, unbeknownst to us, these were the AwesomeAdopters who were about to make it a twofer.
They considered the unplucked Flowers, Daisy and Violet. They contemplated crinkly-whiskered Eek. But when love had done its work, they were up for a Special Needs sweetheart with no teeth and 10,000 charms: Betsy.
If we thought Betsy’s tongue protruded with pleasure at Tabby’s Place, just wait until she joins these amazing people – and Pansy – in their house of joy.*
Too much of a good thing? Immoderate indulgence in outrageous adoptions?
We weren’t done yet.
But before we unveil the final lucky lady, a cautionary tale of sorts.
Back in that golden age of Hammer pants and Boy Meets World, I worked at the Gap. (Now you know what impressed Jonathan when he first saw my resume.) When one is a Gap girl, there is no season so exhilarating as fall, and no moment so momentous as the arrival of the sweaters. You wait all summer for these sweaters. Perspiration pearls on your forehead as you open the first shipment. The new styles are here.
And they are fabulous.
It was late one crisp September night c. 1998 when the shipment arrived. Manager-man, fellow Gap girl and I grinned greedily at one another, like beggars at a feast. The sweaters were here.
As the only staff member authorized to open such vaults as Fort Knox/the lost Ark/the fall sweater boxes, Manager-man whipped out his box cutter and made a clean, long slice down the first box. We collectively held our breath as he flipped back the flaps. They were…
They were Berber fleece.
Berber fleece, I hasten to add, is quite nice. It resists shrinking. It keeps you warm. It has a nubby earthy texture. In this particular case, it was the inoffensive color of oatmeal (available from XS – XXL!). But it is not a brand-new, color-of-the-season Gap sweater.
“Well, we were supposed to get in some new Berber fleece, too,” Manager-man said briskly. “The sweaters must be in another box.”
Fair enough. There were at least eleven boxes, each approximately the size of Rhode Island. We’d just started with a boring one.
Breath was held again. Box-cutter was poised again. Flaps were flipped again.
And Berber fleece was revealed again.
At this point, as I remember it, a certain Lord of the Flies kind of mania took over. The box cutter went flying, as did all sense of decorum. We flew at the last nine boxes with all the angst and agita of adolescence, tearing at them like saber-toothed Spice Girls.
Berber fleece. Berber fleece. Berber fleece. Berber fleece.
Something had gone terribly wrong.
For years we referred, with a shudder, to the Night of the Berber Fleece. I still wake screaming in the night sometimes.
But here’s the thing: too much Berber fleece turned out to be exactly what our northern Gap needed. We sold it all – eleven boxes of nubby oatmeal-colored apparel – and then we sold some more. The Berber fleece was like honeyed manna in the suburban upstate New York wilderness, and our shivering people wanted it. (And the sweaters did eventually arrive. And I used my paycheck to buy all of them, which is why I was the only freshman in my college who couldn’t afford a computer. But that’s another cautionary tale for another time.)
Too much of a good thing? Wonderful.
And that’s never been more the case than in this week’s final adoption. I’ll give you three guesses, and the first two don’t count: she’s old. She’s grey. She has a history of incontinence. A certain individual who shall remain anonymous for his own protection (but whose name may or may not rhyme with Ronathan) has described her as “having no personality.”
At age 12+, with that most-maligned mark on her record (typically “has peed outside the box” = “kiss of death” to potential adoptions), Tink was not the first or fiftieth cat we’d expect to be adopted next.
But you never expect the Night of the Berber Fleece. You never expect four phenomenal back-to-back adoptions. You never expect that you can’t always get what you want…but you WILL always get more than you ask or dream.
We – and Drita and D’Art and Betsy and Tink – are rich in love and luck. And too much of that is wonderful.
*OK folks, please don’t storm the Bastille: I can hear the people scream with protest. WHAT ABOUT BARLEY??!!! Sentimental humans though we are, the Betsy/Barley romance was…well…limited in intensity. When Barley and Betsy left their “B&B” in Quarantine for life in Suite B last week, they almost immediately went their separate ways, gleefully glomming onto other cats. It’s not that they didn’t still love each other; but these were no Canada geese who mate for life. Betsy and Barley loved one another…exactly as much as they loved every other cat/human/great mole rat in sight. (Which is to say, more than a lot.) My sentimental heart continued to refer to them as married, but it would have been a travesty to insist that they be adopted together when they’d both moved on. Oh, the perils of a sentimental heart. But oh, the joys of being a Betsy or a Barley who finds love with any and all creatures.