Friday, July 11, 2003

ankle deep in cats

How the Hell this happened, I'm still not sure

Somehow, totally without meaning too, I became one of those crazy old cat ladies this week. Ron and Dinan were out of town all week on a camping trip, and my other friends scooted back to Nashville after the holiday, leaving me alone with the 6 – yes, SIX – cats. I’m somewhat concerned about how hygienic this might be. I think I might secretly hate them all.

I didn’t mean to live with six cats, it just happened. For many years now it’s been just me and Mr. Puck, and periodically I’d go through this thing where I was convinced I needed another cat. Mr. Puck is very sedentary, and I thought another cat would encourage him to be more active, and keep him occupied while I was away. But it was all I could do to take care of one cat, really. I moved too often to make room for another animal. So Mr. Puck stayed alone in my affections.

Ron and Dinan have four cats. They had five, but one (Ignatius) stayed behind in Nashville when they moved. Lassie, Tex, Tiger and Aloucious are all from the same litter, and all about a year old. They have four cats because Dinan made the mistake of going to pick out a kitten while still grieving for another long lost cat (Chiclet).

So we moved into Little 5 with 5 cats. Dinan said she was going to give some away, but she didn’t and I hadn’t the heart to tell her no.

Then Puck’s sister Titania moved in last weekend, and now we have 6 cats. Titania used to live with Tony and Andrew, but they recently moved into a house where cats are strictly forbidden. I thought Andrew was going to cry when he handed her over. “Here’s her special food bowl, and her brush, and her litter, and she only eats Iams…”

“Yeah, that’s gonna stop.” I said. Then I hugged Andrew to make him feel better. He really was busted up about having to give his cat away, but was pleased to see how well we take care of the other animals. Most of them stay outside a good bit anyway.

Of course, what I haven’t told anybody yet is that way back before I knew we were going to have 6 cats, I told my aunt I’d take in poor Bunny, her ancient black tail-less cat that is currently bothered by her toddlers. I thought Bunny would be harmless; after all she’s a hiding under the bed cat with patchy fur and a very shy demeanor. But when I do go pick her up, we’re going to have 7 cats. And they told me in library school that you are strictly limited to 2 cats per person per household. Anymore than that and you’re getting weird.

So evidently we’re at max kitty capacity now, and things are just going to get weird.


Famously, Atlanta has over a dozen major streets named “Peachtree”. Two of them, Peachtree Street and West Peachtree Street, run parallel to each other downtown. Then there are at least 5 different streets named Ponce de Leon. There’s Boulevard blvd., North Street (which doesn’t really run North) and a confusing matrix of streets that dead end, circle back, or suddenly become one-ways. In a few cases, they can even do all three of these things.

I am happy this week because I discovered my own path through this mess.

The secret to downtown Atlanta is 10th street. It actually connects, without turning into a one-way for even an instant, most of the streets I need to get around on.

To understand how magical this find was for me, you need to understand how complicated it actually is to get from one place to another in Atlanta. True, we have a mass transit system of buses and the MARTA subway system, but MARTA is a weak effort at getting people around on an everyday basis. MARTA is basically designed to get concert and event crowds to and from the stadium, and to allow tourists to find the major museums and shopping districts. And that’s great – I know we’re the only major city south of DC to have trains.

The buses have a bad reputation, probably because of Atlanta’s huge – I mean absolutely huge – homeless population.

I do ride MARTA to work most of the time, and I’m pretty hyped about the fact that they let you take your bike on the train here. But there are still days when I need my car, when I have to drive around to get to my bank or the grocery store. And up until this week, driving has been a big frustration.

So I think 10th street is pretty magical.

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