Friday, June 8, 2012
Tiger, tiger, burning bright
I buy a lot of cat books. My kids love cats, they love books, they love cat books. They also loved their cat, who died in January, unexpectedly, at the spring-chicken age of 11. They desperately want another cat, but I'm not done with grieving for the old one and I don't think they are either. My five-year-old lays valentines beside our cat's urn, which is still in the box because I'm not ready to take it out yet, and cries whenever she hears the Lucinda Williams song "Jackson" because she used to serenade Ace with that song. (No, his name wasn't Jackson, it was Ace, and we have no connection to Jackson, Mississippi, she said he just liked that song. She could tell.) Kids groove to the rituals of mourning, or at least mine always have.
Back to cat books. This one is not the best example of the genre. I bring it to the table for two reasons: (1) the title, Cats: Little Tigers in Your House, is excellent; and (2) the photo below is amazing. The couch! The carpet! The Candice Bergen lookalike mom! What is she doing? And the coffee table, the coffee table, the coffee table! Oh yeah, and the cats, but get enough cat books and you get jaded—those fluffballs are totally incidental here.
This coffee table is exactly like one I almost bought at an estate sale a few years ago and I'm still angry about how it slipped between my fingers. I stumbled upon this sale right around the corner from my house; it hadn't been advertised and I was in no way prepared for it (i.e., I had no cash, and little time). I saw this table, asked the crazy lady how much she wanted, and when she told me $20, I stifled my gasp and asked her if I could write a check—that I was her neighbor, and a complete paragon of virtue. She hemmed and hawed but finally said no, cash only. I asked her sweetly if she would hold the table for me while I made the five-minute drive to the nearest ATM. She grudgingly agreed. I took off. I returned inside of 11 minutes. The table was gone. She saw my stormy face and immediately, defensively, started sputtering excuses, how she didn't know me, how could she be sure I would ever come back, etc. This, after I had suffered her whole life story! Grrr.