02.26.23 [on the F train]

the nasty adventure of my thinking it would be a good idea to immediately adopt a kitten–which joe wasn't on board with at all but was willing to endure without objection for my sake–seems to be over. last thursday i applied for a little flame point kitten i found on petfinder, and on friday the rescue group emailed to say that my vet and former vet didn't have much information on matty, and he hadn't been seen since 2021; had i taken him somewhere else, perhaps? i hadn't; he loses his shit when we pack him up to take him to the doctor, and between the pandemic and steve's acute illness we decided to let things ride for a bit. i wrote a quick note back explaining that in a way that made us sound at least non-monstrous, and i wrote a longer one the next day to emphasize our essential fitness as pet guardians. i sent another one on monday with a link to a catster piece i wrote back in 2015 about how matty was so shy with strangers that we got a baby monitor to point at his food dish so we could let the petsitter know he was still alive when we went out of town. that last email really felt like showing my ass; i'm easily googled and my writing would have turned up in a cursory search, but intentionally exposing myself and all kinds of positions some rescue-group rando might find objectionable (when i friended steve's foster on facebook years ago i soon learned she had a robust array of exotic political stances) felt desperate. it was desperate. i am used to cat groups leaping at the chance to give me fancy kittens; steve's foster called me an hour after i applied for him and marveled at how our vet knew us by name, then confided that we beat out a vet tech as potential adopters. she drove all the way to philly to meet us and make the ol' steve transfer. matty's foster wasn't quite as exclamatory, but she okayed my flying all the way to los angeles for him, a thumbs-up i wasn't expecting in the least even though my introductory note made the notebook sound like reservoir dogs. these jersey folks with the flame point kitten, though–nothing. their autoresponse said they'd only contact me if i was approved, and that i should wait five business days. i did, feeling a bit more like no one would give us a cat ever again with each one, and on thursday i googled the group to see if, i don't know, they seemed like the kind of people who would take exception to my having 50 copies of nineteen eighty-four. i found an absolutely scathing passel of yelp reviews alleging that their fosters were horrifically negligent, that their screenings for parasites and things like FIV were breezy at best, that they were abrasive and disinterested at adoption events and maybe a bit racist(?!)...and, by the by, they asked for more info and rejected or ignored strong-sounding candidates all the time. that is lousy news for the little kitten i'd hoped to bring home, assuming he's there and up for adoption at all, but it's a relief to me; i couldn't in good conscience bring a potentially-very-contagious cat to live with matty (several yelpers railed about feline coronavirus, which terrifies me), and maybe the stink of neglect doesn't cling to me as enthusiastically as i thought it did. we won't really know until we revisit this stuff when we're back from iceland in may–if we're not impulsively adopting a cat now, i want to wait until after that big absence so a new creature won't lack us immediately–but the thought has given me some peace, and i'm grateful for that now.

i asked my editor for an extension of the big cat essay i was to turn in two weeks ago, and she was kind about it, so i'll be turning a draft over early this week. the robot cat manufacturers i expected to ignore me actually got in touch a few days ago (still got it with cyborg cat people, baby!), so i have a singular mise en place of uncanny-valley stuff, philosophy, interview notes from a wonderful turkish documentarian, and bioacoustic studies to dump into the ecstatic poetry that got me in this mess and cook up...something. it might be really great! it is almost definitely going to be really long. i already worry that i'm going to disappoint the aforementioned documentarian in the brevity with which i'll visit some of these cat-musings, but essential catness and the human heart are a lot to unpack in 1500 words, reader. if i make a crack about efelines dreaming of wireless mice you have permission to fire me from a cannon.

coldest sidewalk shift of the winter at the ol' health clinic–i tucked a couple of hand warmers under my icelandic wool fingerless gloves and i still feel like i'm writing with frozen breakfast sausages. i was hoping the cold would keep most of the protesters away, and one of the regular churches did wimp out on us, but the ones that showed were especially noxious: livestreaming and filming us, blocking patients' access to the clinic door with one of their signs featuring tiny baby parts splattered on coins and dollar bills, heckling the security guard. i should feel lucky that they almost never single me out for abuse–i guess the same vibe that makes people ask me for directions and if the thing they're trying on looks good says that i won't really take it to heart if you tell me i'm no better than a school shooter. my typical unpicking of the morning's stitches is to hop out of the subway at the greenmarket on the way home, and i brought a couple of shopping bags with me, though i'm guessing vendors will be staying home today as well. i've already gotten enough frequent-frigid-shopper card punches for this year's winter warrior spoon, but they aren't carrying them at the administrative tent yet. where is my spoon, friends?

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