The Cat Who Gave No F**ks

My post-op mileage was up to about two and a half, which is ridiculous because I’m usually good for about four or six, and then the heat hit. Apparently having big chunks of meat scooped out of you screws up your temperature regulation more than I would have thought, because the heat index seems to be the critical difference between being able to knock out the mileage and me calling the Engineer for a rescue because I’m starting to get a big head and a sense that I’m radiating heat, like a two-bar electric fire.

It’s just frigging HOT out.

I know I’ll make it home without a bailout if I can get the home of the Cat Who Gives No Fucks. He or she (a grey tabby, so gender indeterminate) hangs out in the yard most afternoons, more rarely in the mornings. A couple of hysterical dogs, probably littermates, who look as if there’s some Jack Russell in there, live at the same address and can be heard raising the rafters anytime anyone passes the yard, even if they’re inside the glassed-in porch. They have a dog bed which has been strategically elevated to the level of the window sill and  patrol the yard in all directions, losing their shit in the key of C sharp anytime anyone passes the corner of the chain-link fence. If they’re outdoors, they fling themselves against the wire as if they think they’re Dobermans in a movie and Chuck Norris is about to vault over into the secure installation. It would be cute if it weren’t so noisy.

The cat gives zero fucks.

Seriously, this cat, who typically flops on the walk leading up to the house but has sometimes been seen in a decrepit lawn chair under the one shade tree, has absolutely no reaction to all this canine commotion. The dogs are yelping, the dogs are slamming the fence, the dogs are launching themselves like sugared-up toddlers in a Moon Bounce.

The cat does not move.

My eyes are bad enough now that I sometimes can’t see the cat at first, motionless grey cat in dim shade, and sometimes the Engineer has to point it out. Most times I’m by myself, and I lean on the corner post of the chain fence, enraging the dogs, and take off my mask for a moment like someone who’s just got to stop and breathe, but I’m really only looking for the cat. There is something about that cat’s preternatural calm that I envy and wish to be granted. Maybe it can share.

I probably will never find out its name. In my mind the cat is Zerofux, after a great Merovingian war leader.

Last week I actually spotted the cat outside the yard — it looks like it has a few years on it — slinking under the porch next door, the only shade worth mentioning on the block at the hour. Cats are famously indifferent to extreme heat (I’ve had to pull two back from the brink of heatstroke), but even Zerofux had had it.

It’s not just me. It’s hotter than Hell’s boiler room out there. And I still have a few fucks to give, but they’re going fast.

Next Time, Can I Have Some Puccini?

I will leave it to people in Media Studies, political science, and the universal occupation of social criticism to say something meaningful about this trend. I am still stuck at “WTF.”

The stout, charismatic governor of the great state of New Joisey:

First a teddy bear for the President, now this. It’s beginning to creep me out.

Then you go to Turkey, where the latest in the wave of Middle Eastern popular uprisings — I’m sorry, I can’t keep up without a scorecard — appears to be auditioning for the musical stage.

At least they haven’t done “We Are The World.” Yet.

Liebesfreud

We’ve all heard it — a wonderful, top-drawer piece of schmalz by the iconic violinist Fritz Kreisler — but I hadn’t really listened to it until I got stuck in traffic yesterday, something that will do wonders for your focus on the classical station.

At about 3:50 in this double-decker video of Joshua Bell. I had never quite taken in before how the swoony, wildly rubato 3/4 rhythm exactly suggests someone bopping along the street (and possibly turning pirouettes) with that over-the-moon, just-been-laid grin that everyone with a heart remembers having smeared across their face once, at least when young.

Incidentally, Joshua Bell once played for three quarters of an hour outside the DC Metro entrance with his violin case open, while a thousand commuters passed by, just to see what would happen. Seven people stopped to listen; twenty-seven threw money in the case. No wonder this nation is run so cluelessly.

Father’s Day

I sort of forgot it was, on account my father sort of forgot he was one along around 1976.

Life is dumb, so now his second wife, the remarkable Serpent Woman, regularly sends me packets of things she has cleared out of his desk, including a jumble of photographs going back three generations.

The cat thing seems to have been hereditary. Along with the music, which almost goes without saying.

God and Montreal alone know what these men would think of me, throwing bloody great dumbbells around, swearing like a sailor’s parrot. I was my father’s only son. For whatever it’s worth.

Eine Kleine Nachtmusik

A comment of Az’s a few posts back reminded me of the way that I wake up, more mornings than not, with a melody running in my head. Sometimes it can be traced to my half-conscious absorption of performances broadcast by the local public radio station. Sometimes not.

This sounds like Mozart or early Beethoven, but Musipedia has no match to offer; the longer I hum it, the more density of orchestration I hear, suggesting a piano concerto or small ensemble rich in delicate counterpoint. I’ve started whistling the damn thing. I can’t believe it came out of my own unconscious head.

Anyone got any ideas?

Porlock

Samuel Taylor Coleridge was lyricking away at Kubla Khan, so he told posterity wistfully, when an annoying person from Porlock — some have speculated it was his opium dealer — knocked on the door and derailed his train of thought.

Robert Louis Stevenson may well have been fueled by cocaine during the rewrites of Dr. Jekyll and Mr, Hyde, which he first conceived in a dream from which his wife woke him. (He snapped at her.)

Me, I go to bed after a supper that included a temperate amount of Chardonnay, take some nutriceutical sleep inducers, and wake up from a dream about a Salvation Army Sunday service in which the hymn tune was so distinct that I scrabbled up some stave paper and wrote it down.

It couldn’t be stodgier or duller if someone were offering a thousand-dollar reward for blandness.

Someone give the guy from Porlock my phone number before this happens again?