How much can change in a group of friends before the bonds start to break down? How much can each member of a group grow before they begin to grow apart?
These are the questions that tax sitcoms, soap operas, and residents of Suite A.
In the annals of Tabby’s Place, Suite A has never been a “normal” suite by any definition.* Suite B may be our more people-friendly cats, Suite C may be our most cat-friendly cats, and Suite Special Needs may be our most diarrhea-friendly cats, but the definition of Suite A is tenuous at best.
It’s not that the cats in our farthest-out suite aren’t simpatico with one another. For instance, Cecille and Eek are both excited about the upcoming Wolverine movie (Cecille because she wants new ideas for how to wield her claws; Eek because she thinks Hugh Jackman is keen). Sam and Dobro both like people (Sam to cuddle; Dobro to eat).
But trying to describe Suite A is a little like attempting to sing a painting. While riding a unicycle. In a hurricane. With an actual wolverine standing on your shoulders and playing the accordion.
“It’s our shy suite,” I would tell visitors on my Standard Tour Spiel(TM). “These are the cats with whom we pair up volunteers, one-on-one, to teach them to learn to trust.” Visitor Person and I would then enter the suite, only for them to be swarmed by exuberantly friendly cats (Eek, Sam, Mario…). Visitor Person would then give me that half-smile you give someone when you’re thinking, Wow, you’re as dumb as a bag of hammers.
“Quelle moron!”, Cecille would add helpfully.
Then there would be the few occasions on which I’d hold my tongue. With no words about the cats’ shyness, I’d just bring Visitor Person straight in. Dobro and his homies would then proceed to glower at them with a collective glare loosely translatable as You are the enemy. THE #1 ENEMY. AND YOU WILL PAY WITH THE ULTIMATE PRICE. Visitor person would then give me that half-smile you give someone when you’re thinking, Wow, did you bring me here to die?
There’s no easy definition of Suite A, and just when you think you’ve got a handle on it, it changes. But isn’t that the truth of all awesome entities?
Take, for example, you. (Be it known: you are an awesome entity.) You’ve changed a lot from the days when you wore shoulder pads or listened to New Kids on the Block or knew every word to the theme song of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. (OK, you still know every word. But that’s a good thing.) You know now the secrets that they don’t tell you when you’re small: that life doesn’t have to be perfect to be wonderful; that it’s a myth that anyone ever really feels like a grown-up; that nobody has it all together.
You’re different. You’re older. You’re better. You love more. You even love cats more, which you wouldn’t have thought possible. And you’re still changing.
So roll with it, A team. At the moment the balance is just about evenly split between “friendly cats” and “cats who will vanquish you” in Suite A. Maybe it’ll tilt to one or the other. Or maybe a whole different kind of cat will come to dominate. Maybe lions. Maybe sea lions.
The one constant is the rhythm of life that keeps Suite A — and all awesome entities — growing and going. The best is so yet to come.
*Neither have suites B, C, FIV, Special Needs, Adoption Room #1, Adoption Room #2, Adoption Room #3, Quarantine, Intake, Ringworm, the Community Room or the Lounge. But who’s counting?
**Every Tabby’s Place staff member has one. The less aware you are of your Standard Tour Spiel, the more certain it is that you have one. If you’ve given >1 tours, you have a Standard Tour Spiel. The same stories force themselves out of your mouth, along with the same little inflections. We could join a Standard Tour Spiel support group with the candlemakers and bonnetted ladies from Colonial Williamsburg. And we probably should.
Photo credits: All Jess the Volunteer of Epic Excellence, except Mario. Mario by Flangela.