Monday, May 4, 2009
Sleeping with Joey
I have a new boyfriend. His name is Joey. He’s a little bit portly, with a belly that swings from side-to-side as he runs, and he sometimes drinks from the toilet, but I’m smitten all the same.
Joey is a cat.
Imagine, if you will, how the omission of that fact might lead to some...confusion. Take, for example, my mother's misunderstanding the first night I met Joey. I’m staying in that fabulous guest cottage on a horse farm, remember? (see previous post) The owner—a wonderful, inspiring friend of mine—happens to be a vet. There was this cat, Joey, living at her clinic. My friend knew that in my gypsy travels, I’d missed having a pet, so she brought Joey home to the cottage to be my roommate.
I’ll get back to my mom’s misunderstanding in a moment, but first let me say that I suspect my friend Kathy planned from the very start for me to fall in love with Joey and keep him. She’s smart that way. And I’m a sucker for big boycats with loads o’ personality. Kathy said she was bringing Joey to stay with me while her clinic undergoes some remodeling. Whatever. That just happened to be lucky timing. She would’ve brought him anyway.
So, a week ago Saturday I went to dinner at my parents’ house. While there I told them that Kathy was bringing me a cat that would probably be at the cottage when I returned that night. I swear I told my mother the cat’s name was Joey.
Maybe I didn’t...
In any case, I got home and the next day e-mailed my Mom: “Joey was here waiting for me when I got home from your house. We hit it off right away. After a little bit of shyness, he even ended up sleeping with me. Yay!”
Later that morning my mom called. “Um…now, who is Joey?” she asked in a voice very hesitant and worried.
A pause. A relieved “Ohhhhh.”
I replayed the e-mail in my mind. “Mom!” Did she really think I would share that information with her if Joey were a man???
The wording especially rankles just a bit—the use of the word “even.” He even ended up sleeping with me. Hmmph. Is the idea so difficult to imagine?
And let’s not even talk about the “yay.”
To my mother’s credit, Joey’s human-sounding name has temporarily thrown a few others as well. Kathy was telling the story of Joey and I to her friend Mike, whose eyes widened in such a way that I could clearly see the misunderstanding as it happened. When Kathy quickly said, “Joey’s the clinic cat, remember?” Mike did the same “Ohhh” my mother had done, admitting, “I wasn’t going to say anything but it did seem a bit sudden. You’ve only been back a couple weeks, right?”
There are so many Joey stories and antics that are fun to tell, deliberately omitting the fact that Joey is a cat, such as the fact that when I leave the cottage, Joey waits for me on my bed, looking out the window for my return.
Or the fact that Joey likes to snuggle under the covers.
Or that Joey sometimes drapes himself around my head like a hat while we’re sleeping.
Or that when I hold Joey, he sucks on my sweater (or if I’m in short sleeves, the crook of my elbow).
I am open to dating at the moment, but I guess I wouldn't be willing to settle for a man who likes to sit on top of the fridge, who puts his hands in my coffee cup, or who sometimes closes my laptop while I’m writing.
On the other hand, I’m also not willing to settle for man who doesn’t adore me with the fervor that Joey does.
That’s the true test, don’t you think? Someone who rushes to greet you at the door and writhes around in pleasure simply because you showed up? Someone who will rise from a nap and cross a room simply because you said, “Hey cutie, come over here.” I think we should all make it our goal to treat our beloveds with such unabashed enthusiasm.
Now if you’ll excuse me, my new boyfriend is nibbling my toe and demands my attention.