Love thy neighbor. It's scripture. It's also written on the bottom of my cheques. It sounds nice, but what does that look like today? There world is quickly becoming over populated; there are currently approximately 7.2 billion people sharing this planet. If you blink, today's green space is torn down tomorrow to accommodate increasing housing demands. Cities are busting at the seams with endless commuters packed like sardines into subway cars and buses. Even with such a huge population, we can always pinpoint six degrees of separation in some way. But do we really know each other? Sadly, the answer to that is "no".
This realization dawned on me the other day. I was preparing to bake a batch of cookies. When I reached for the sugar canister, I realized too late that it was empty. All the other ingredients were already mixed and as luck would have it, the grocery story was now closed.
If I knew my neighbors well enough, I could have simply knocked on their door and ask to borrow a cup. I remember fondly my childhood years where everyone in the neighborhood knew each other. Our next door neighbor was consistently deficient on milk. The closest convenience store was a 20 minute drive away. At least once a week, the doorbell would ring and there she was, asking if we could spare a cup of milk for her coffee until her husband came home. We never kept count nor expected her to pay us back. Every once in a while she would just show up with a carton of milk as payback.
Tecnology has sated our thirst for instant gratification on so many levels, but although we can reach out to folks on the other side of the globe via some form of social media, we are unable or unwilling to conjure up the courage to knock on our neighbor's door and ask to borrow a cup of sugar, or just to say hello.
Now that my nest is empty you'd think I would be basking in all this newfound peace, quiet and privacy, right? I was...until I went out and got....a kitten. Which is anything but peaceful or quiet. In a moment of weakness I pimped out my tranquility for three pounds of fluffy frenetic energy. With claws. My legs and hands look like they've waged war with a wild rose bush and lost.
Enter Angus McKitten. The adorable but incorrigible pest. I can't tell you how many times I've tripped over him or have accidently kicked him across the room. Beckham's got nothing on me, by the way. He is constantly underfoot, thinking he is being oh so helpful. Trying to wash the floor? There he is, hanging on for dear life by one claw at the end of the mop while being swished back and forth across a wet floor. Makes for a clean but fluffy floor. Trying to take a shower? He's crying at the door because he must have me in his sight every second of the day (seriously kitty, what do you do when I'm a work?) Cooking? His head doubles as a door stopper each time I open the fridge. Regardless of what I'm preparing, he insists loudly that he just HAS to have a taste RIGHT NOW because it's his all time favorite treat. Apparently sliced onions are an exotic delicacy to a kitten's refined palate. Who knew. Trying to make the bed? Fuggetabout it. All attempts are futile and an exercise in frustration guaranteed to leave tiny tear marks in the sheets.
Did you know that kittens are really stealth ninja sleep deprivation masters disguised as cuteness personified? Torture practises such as waterboarding, sensory overload and sleep deprivation at places like Guantanamo Bay would become obsolete if they introduced kittens to the mix . Throw a baker's dozen of those little cuties in a room with prisoners, lock the door and wait. I can guarantee you that within a couple days the detainees will be pounding on that door and will gladly tell you whatever information you are trying to extract from them. They'll sell out their country for a moment's peace away from the kittens. Why hasn't the army figured this out yet?
Angus McKitten's reign of terror is not exclusive to me, though. He has also been driving Pacino, the senior statesman of my four legged duo completely bonkers. Pacino used to be such a chill kind of cat. These days he is uncharacteristically grumpy and given to fits of feline high drama. He hisses so much that it sounds like I have a king cobra slithering around the place.
So, without further ado, here's what a typical day with Angus looks like. DISCLAIMER - contents may not be suitable for those who are unable to resist excessive cuteness.
Remember how cool an echo was when you were a child? It
would catch you unawares and your face would instantly light up at this marvelous treasure you'd just stumbled upon. Peals of uncontrollable laughter ensued as you and your friends would repeat the same things over and over again. Seems like you just couldn't get enough of the sound of your own voices reverberating back at you.
The echo made an unwelcomed appearance in my home recently. This time though, he received a rather chilly reception. Echo thought he'd stop by unannounced the evening my son moved out. All things considered, I had a pretty good day. I'd gotten up early that morning to prepare one last special breakfast for my boy and then wished him the best of luck and sent him on his way. My mind was kept busy at work, and the commute home was filled with tunes from my iPod and a good book.
Stepping foot in my humble abode that evening felt no different than any other night, with the exception of the now empty room. However, it did not faze me in the least; I began entertaining thoughts of turning it into an office.
I called out my kitty's name, looking forward to seeing his friendly face at the end of a long day, but was greeted instead by......the echo. Hhhm......who let this guy in anyway? I was not pleased.
It's been far too long since I last spent time with echo. He has changed, and not for the better. When I was a child he would make me smile and giggle and fill me with awe. I missed him when he was nowhere to be found. Now that I am an adult, he seemed to be mocking me and deriving pleasure from announcing that I have been relieved of my post as caregiver to my only child due to restructuring. No severance package or referral letter forthcoming either.
I had no choice but to ask echo to leave, and to take his friends, fear and worry with him. It was getting a little crowded in there and I had to make room for optimism, peace and quiet (they're the twins), and happiness. We've made plans to live in the moment and to enjoy this time on our own and to look to the future with a sense of adventure and excitement.
Change is good.
Hi! I'm Chris, an empty nester living in Montreal and making the most of this stage in my life. I love cooking for friends and family, DIY projects, decorating and writing.