Right now, “retro” is sooooooooo of-the-moment. 24-year-old guys covet their grandpas’ sweaters. Vinyl is vastly cooler than MP3s. Hipsters do the foxtrot and the Lindy and the jitterbug in their sweater clips and Peter Pan collars.
This is amusing to those of us who loved “vintage” back when it was just “old.” Fortunately, all this retrophilia comes just in time for a certain old-fashioned furry girl.
Jitterbug is a throwback to a slower, sweeter, spiffier time. Back in Jitterbug’s time, a dame was a dame, and anything too fast and slick was just all wet. Were she a human, Jitterbug would have little-bitty bangs and wear Donna Reed-y dresses while reading hard-boiled mysteries and poring over the original Betty Crocker cookbook in her victory garden. Even Mad Men‘s a little too new-fangled for her.
How, exactly, can a cat be old-fashioned? Let’s start here: our bewhiskered broad believes dinner time is family time. That’s why, when she came to Tabby’s Place with her “kitten” Finnegan, she continued to greet him at the door with cookies and a kiss each day even though he was roughly the equivalent of a pimply fourteen-year-old. When I first saw Mama Jitt and Finnegan together, I did a double-take, not initially sure who was parent and who was spawn. Then I realized that Jitterbug was nursing a kitten nearly her own size. That was due to a combination of things: Finnegan’s being pretty-darn-growed-up, and Jitterbug’s being barely bigger than…well, a bug. Don’t they say folks from earlier times were smaller in general, anyway?
But Jitterbug’s baby boy was born to a different generation, and he was ready to take on the world. When the right adopter came along, Finn leapt into his own adventure pronto, and Jitterbug was left with an empty nest…and what a mad, modern world.
Right now, a buzzing joint like Tabby’s Place is a bit much on Jitterbug’s senses. Even when we’re wearing vintage/old duds or listening to bluegrass, we can’t hide the fact that we’re modern creatures here. Life in 2011 is…fast. It all moves a bit speedily for Jitterbug. She’s like Brendan Fraser in Blast from the Past (if not quite Encino Man).
In order to get used to it all, she’s declared a time-out on her own terms. For the time being, Jitterbug is confining her dance to…the tube.
It may appear that these photos were all taken in rapid succession, but they actually span three weeks. Jitterbug technically lives in Suite B, but it’s more accurate to say she lives in limbo: the Lucite-y long cube connecting the suite to the solarium and the past to the present.
Our classy calico is sure to catch up and catch on – I don’t doubt it for a second. As delicious as the past was, there’s so much sweetness for Jitterbug in 2011. She can have the best of both worlds – Roy Rogers and Anderson Cooper, Mahalia Jackson and Mumford & Sons, a patient pace and fully-modern Fancy Feast. And, at Tabby’s Place, she can have our love just as slowly as she needs it. It’ll take Jitt a little while to learn to trust us. In the meantime, we’ll keep blinking at her through the tube, cooing our love and learning her language until she’s ready to join our world. It will happen – the cat who loved her only child so well has a heart full of goodness, and we’ve only seen the beginning.
Now we just need to let her wake up to the wonders of now (with or without the help of Wham!). And, while we’re at it, try not to think about the fact that it won’t be long before the Macarena becomes fashionably retro.