The beat

The beat

Even now, especially now, life is doing what it does best.

It’s going on.

You are far from alone if you feel like you’re in suspended animation. We are, all of us, like dancing dolls dropped from great heights, only to stop mid-air, arms and legs all akimbo. We’re very much alive; we’re going to dance again; but we’re not moving, not for the foreseeable future, and we don’t know exactly how to deal.

  • You may feel boring. That’s OK.
  • You may feel you have nothing to talk about, even with your favorite people/cats/capybaras. Also OK.
  • You may feel like this Whole Thing has narrowed your life to a little bitty locus of focus, maybe two or three things you’re looking forward to right now. Maybe those things are your daily Hot Pocket, or reruns of The West Wing, or staring at the red backyard tulips — you know, the blazing bright ones with the magical yellow bottoms. Is that OK? You bet your dungarees.
  • You may even feel like you’re just making the delicate daily rounds between (1) this, (2) that and (3) the next thing — and then doing it all again. Totes mcgotes OK.

Being blissfully, blessedly, bountifully in-the-moment, cats experience all of the above without any of our agita. Their days have gone all coddywompus lately, too (where are all the servants?), and they’re dealing with it as best they can (eating more, eating less, biting Executive Directors, etc.). They are not, however, beating themselves up.

They are riding the beat, and the beat goes on.

Consider Circe, new to Suite B when the concept of “pandemic” was new to us all. Together with her maravilloso brother Figaro, she’d come all the way from Puerto Rico, only to land among the likes of Finn and Amy and a dozen daft human beings trying their best to run a cat sanctuary under quarantine.

Overwhelming? Indeed.
Seriously scary? Beyond.
What’s a girl to do?

In Circe’s case, a girl is to (a) remember that she’s named for a powerful temptress capable of luring entire shiploads of sailors whither she will and (b) get her goofy on.

In the face of inscrutable circumstances, Circe has set about silliness as though there were a Nobel Prize in the category at stake. (I have just decided that there should, there must, be a Nobel Prize for Silliness. Someone call Oslo.)

She leaps into garbage bags.
She leaps out of garbage bags at foolish sailors who would dare to share her garbage bags.
She zoomzooms up and down the length of the solarium tube, and if you think she’s flaunting those beantacular toes, you’re a smart little garbanzo yourself.

She gets excited, and she gets scared, and she gets cute, and she gets quiet, and she is exquisitely alright with her given state at any moment.

Would that we should be so serene even in our stress.

I don’t know about you, kittens, but the last thing I need in these strange and stretchy days is to go a few rounds with myself in the guilt-ring. I’m pretty frickin’ good at beating myself up even when the world is right-side-up, but right now it’s especially easy.

How dare I feel so flustered? I’m healthy and loved and I work for Tabby’s Place; I have no right to this gnawing anxiety.
How dare I permit myself, even for a micromoment, to feel sorry for myself? People are dying and suffering unspeakable losses and enduring agonies I can’t imagine, and I’m worried about my restless legs and where I can find some Cherry Zero?
How dare I crawl into the garbage bag when life is still so very, very worth singing about?

If you said these things to me, I’d be the first to tell you that you can dare, you must dare, because you are fully alive. The music of your days includes forays into the minor key. Your woes and your worries and your blasts of melancholy can’t be compared to anyone else’s; you feel what you feel because you’re a beautiful living being.

Heck, if you said these things to someone who has Truly Suffered — think the 99-year-old WWII vet walking charity laps through his garden, or the thousand thousand brave souls who have lost more than they thought they could survive — they’d reassure you with all their hearts. In my experience, the people who have endured the most epic agonies are the first to tell us that our tiny trials count, too. Great suffering breeds great empathy; you are not slighting the heroes of human endurance to cry over missing your favorite restaurant.

Which brings me back to Circe. Spinning through uncertainty, blissfully unself-conscious, she bounces to the beat of her daily emotions. I wouldn’t go so far as to say we, too, should live strictly from instinct, but we could learn a lot from a creature who feels the beat and feels OK whatever she feels.

Suspended in air or swinging from the chandeliers, you are OK today, kittens. The odds are excellent that you’ll be OK tomorrow, too. Circle a little closer to Circe and remind yourself that your self — whatever you feel in this living moment — is perfectly acceptable. Lovable. Just as you are now.

And send Cherry Zero.

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