I was speeding north to Hawthorne today from Brooklyn when my GPS abruptly punked out. Totally flatlined. Since I’m still not iPhoney (they’ll have to pry my Blackberry out of dead fingers), I was plum out of luck; I’d only driven to my destination once before, and had given my car atlas to a friend’s kid as an artifact of the primitive 20th century. So how did I find my destination? I used the Force, of course. Seriously, it was as if I were hurtling toward the Death Star in my tiny Rebel X-wing with a recently deceased Obi Wan Kenobi whispering in my ear, and, in a trance, I had finally pushed away my targeting device. Only the spacecraft in this case was Sadie, my increasingly compromised 2001 Hyundai, and the Imperial Death Star littered with murderous storm troopers was the Saw Mill Parkway littered with murderous Sunday drivers. Whatever, man, it worked. I arrived just in time to tackle the complicated French lesbian movie du jour with the delightful Westchester Cinema Club and afterward celebrated in the Mos Eisley Cantina aka Enchantments. Mawing french fries proffered by the brilliant ladywitch Michelle, I kept one eye peeled on the door lest Han Solo cross the threshold. Appear he did not but I think Yoda would have approved of my imperfect journey. It’s like I used to warble as a little girl climbing into her Star Wars sleeping bag: “Say la veeee.” At that, I’m off to braid my hair into two perfectly coiled puffs, Princess Lisa style.
I consider nothing more luxuriant than waking naturally, unprompted by an alarm, fixing a cup of strong coffee with cream, and then settling back into bed amidst a drift of peonies, pillows, sheets, unread books. A mild wind fluttering through the curtain, a kitten poised at the open window’s sill. And silence. Voluptuous, soft silence. Yes, yes, another effusive post that could be chalked up to much ado about nothing. But I never forego the power in appreciating small pleasures. It allows you to find happiness pretty much everywhere.
One of the great satisfactions of rescuing a stray kitten, as I did five years ago this week, is that her affection is so hard-won that she opens my heart a little wider each time she creeps into my lap, or the crook of my arm as I am reading, or beneath my palm so that I may scratch her ears just-so, just-so. I know how much it takes for Grace to push past her fears to offer me her belly–lord knows what happened on the semi-mean streets of Brooklyn in the six weeks of her life before she showed up on the stoop of my heart–and I know how much I’ve had to quiet myself to become the gentle being to whom she dares offers herself. With each animal-human relationship comes great lessons and greater pleasures if we allow ourselves to receive them. I’ll say it one more time: I’m so happy to be a cat lady.