There is a difference between chunk light tuna and solid white albacore, my friends, and it is worth the extra dime. That is the lesson I have learned today. It has been one of those days.
I awoke from a dream of intergalactic warfare on a miniature, though tragic scale. It was barely six o'clock in the morning and the dogs were tussling on the rug at the foot of the bed. No sooner had I dragged my butt down the stairs to eject them into the great Back Yard than my cat decided to follow me back upstairs yowling.
When I crawled back into bed, a whiff of my dream returned to me, as it sometimes does, but I could no longer remember it very well. I just knew many small warriors had given their lives for a good cause, taken down by cannibalistic aliens in a fire of sparks. (I should have known better than to eat right before sleeping.)
At eight thirty I was suddenly and completely awake and the air of the upstairs bedroom was already warm and stale. I felt irritable and disorganized; I knew there were many practical tasks ahead of me that day and I hate practical tasks.
We cannot take our cat with us on our move. We could, but we (and by we, I mean Keith) have decided not too. I am ambivalent about this decision; I rarely have time for poor Toby anymore and feel guilty about neglecting him. On the other hand, I promised him he would have a home for the rest of his life when I adopted him. To give him away again would mark me forever as a Bad Person.
It turns out work may have a place for him, among those with advanced dementia. I went wild with joy at the prospect and now am in the bitter grip of fear that something will happen to prevent this perfect solution.
Consequently, I was on a mission to track down his records. This involved many calls to several different vets and anxiety about how much everything will cost. And where the hell did my cat carrier go to? And should I buy one just to transport him? Or should I borrow one, but from whom? I hate decisions, they are like mosquitoes and the smaller they are, the more annoying.
I made coffee to soothe myself, but this only reminded me that I was running short of coffee. And dog food and bananas and milk. There was a check I needed to deposit. Off I went, driving first a long way in one direction to the bank and then back another long way to get groceries.
None of the songs on the radio were what I wanted to hear. I didn't notice a blinking school zone and never slowed down for it, thus becoming a Bad Citizen. When I got home I was hot to the touch from having stewed in the little metal box of a car.
To top it all off, a letter came in the mail today from the dental insurance which seems to be saying that they aren't going to pay as much as the dental office had said they would. But I can't be sure, because insurance bills employ a type of English that is not taught in the public school system, it is closely akin to The Black Speech and one does not speak it aloud in case it catches Sauron's attention.
-For those of you who did not grow up thinking that Middle Earth had a genuine place in human history, The Black Speach is a language Tolkien make up for his character Sauron and those who lived in Mordor to speak.
In case you were wondering, I was the girl that had created a dictionary of Elvish, both High and Low, and was in the process of laboriously teaching myself the language. I was also the girl who read the Silmarillion at the open window aloud by the light of a summer evening.-
Into my messy, broken egg kind of day came a call from my husband. Thank God for his firm and practical grip on reality. He dismissed the dental insurance mix up, certain that it would work out and if it didn't, we would have enough to pay for it. He had an equally calm attitude toward the cat's situation.
There was even time to tell him about my epic battle against a moth. I don't mind any other of creature in this wild, wild Kingdom. I do sometimes question the necessity for the centipede, but am willing to accept. Ants, worms and beetles I can hold in my hand. But a moth will have me undone in a moment.
One of my worst nightmares as a child involved a moth. My grandparents had an old, rusty truck half way up the track to the backwoods garden. In my dream I was playing there, during a scorched and hazy summer day when I looked down to see a large, fuzzy moth clinging to my tee shirt.
Revulsion suffused my soul. I could not take the shirt off, it would bring the creature too close to my face. I could not squash it, that was unthinkable. I would have to touch it. (I shudder with horror just to write the nightmare out, twenty years later.)
Gingerly, I placed my fingers on the soft, fuzzy body of the creature and tugged. It would not come loose. I pulled harder, it stretched the fabric of my shirt out like a tent when suddenly its fuzzy body burst in my fingers. It woke me straight up and I had to go back into the nightmare and make up how it ended, which is what I would do to calm myself after the very worst of them.
Poor moths. Others have described them poetically, soft white forms in the twilight. They are harmless and of scientific interest. People happily hunt them with nets and used to display them with pins.
I, on the other hand, do the terrified dance (you know, the quick, mincing steps while wringing one's hands and squealing.) Oh, how I longed for Keith! Throughout the entire deployment, never until that very moment did I so need him.
It had alighted upon the bedside lamp shade. I could not ignore it. Who knew where it might go in the night? It might brush against my cheek, crawl into the covers, bumble about in the dark. It had to be killed.
The dogs were no help, Abbie looked at me with her warm, brown eyes. She did not know the "Eat Moth" command. Finally I thought of my husband's spider killer under the kitchen sink.
So, picture this. There is a girl in blue and white stripped flannel PJs bathed in the warm glow of a lamp. She is hopping about and shuddering with horror, she clutches the spray can to her chest and takes a deep breath. Hands shaking, she directs the can toward a calm and unsuspecting moth.
The can sprays, she squeals and dances backward, the moth does a death agony against the base of the lamp, where it is sprayed again and then falls to the carpet between the bedside table and the wall. There it dies in oblivion.
The entire rest of the night I slept uneasily, wondering if it wasn't actually dead and would craw up the bed skirt and into bed with me, or across my pillow with decaying body dragging.
Dear God, save me from the consequences of my own imagination, for they are immense.
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