We are remarkable creatures, you and me.
That’s not only because we’re exceptionally good-looking and sweet-smelling and love cats more than air. It’s because we’re human beans.
We — you and me and Al Pacino and Cardi B and all the rest of us — are exquisitely adaptable. This occurred to me when I saw that multiple friends now have cheery shared albums of “Favorite COVID-19 Memes.” We find humor in pandemic; that’s just something we do now.
It occurred to me when a friend asked, with regard to my new work-from-home schedule, “Do you normally do such-and-such at such-and-such a time?” And I said, “Oh yes,” as though this was all “normal,” a fully-hatched, three-day-old new normal that already chugs on its own steam. I thought nothing of it until later; it’s still unfolding yet already automatic, or getting there quickly. I work from home; that’s just something I do now.
It occurs to me when I hear passionate arguments for social distancing and flattening the curve, terms we’d never heard a month ago, which now roll off the tongues of my high school friends and favorite old church ladies with ease. Quickly, so quickly, we’ve come to understand our strange new responsibilities. We accept that we all have a starring role in protecting the vulnerable and saving the world; that’s just something we do now.
And it occurs to me every time I see photos of the Tabby’s Place Pandemic Skeleton Crew — that brave half-handful of staff and volunteers suiting up and showing up at the sanctuary to do what must be done, quarantine or otherwise — going gleefully about their days, strangely still as they are, loving the cats in the new silence as though they’ve had to make their own music for millennia.
Frankly, I’m proud of us all, kittens. For in our feisty resilience and our ability to dance with radical change, we are especially like our favorite species. You know it and I know it: nobody adapts quite like a cat.
We see it best in the ones whose lives are flipped, turned upside-down,
by movin‘ with their auntie and uncle in Bel-Air by tragedy, whether it’s being surrendered by their humans or hit by a car. Suddenly bereft of a family or a leg or the ability to control one’s bowels? No problem! There are fuzzy green wand toys and stinky sardine treats and fascinating weirdo humans to love, and life is going to be better than fine. New is not threatening; unknown is not terrifying.
Tomorrow, we’ll meet two terrifically un-terrified inspirations for us all. But today, hang on tight and let yourself be held (by members of your own household unit, by your cats and dogs and mongeese, by God). It’s OK if you feel spacier than Neptune. Just remember your own reserves and resilience and wild belovedness. It will all rise up in time.
That guy in the top thumbnail? You’ll meet him tomorrah. I promise that, too.