Saturday, November 21, 2020

Rodent On The Lam


You never know what's in store: you could get hit by a bus at any time. That's what people say. I don't know why being hit by a bus is such a thing, or why people are always getting thrown under one. It's evocative. And yet very few of us know anyone who's been hit by a bus. I do: that's how my uncle died. But he wasn't normal.

The thing is, whereas it is sort of true that you could get hit by a bus at any time, given adequate exposure, it is equally true that your life could get suddenly brighter at any time too.

Just the other day a huge happiness landed in our kitchen. Right out of nowhere. Dave was sweeping the floor and rather than sliding a chair aside he actually tilted it up. And what was under that chair but Tater's missing hamster!
 
Tater has been missing her hamster for at least three years. Dave saw it in a store window and brought it home for her. She likes to bat around little stuffed things and in some cases she likes to disembowel them with her rear feet. It's not unusual for us to come upon a tragic scene of shredded Poly-Fil stuffing and torn plush. I usually sew them back up again because we're not made of money.

(Yeah, it's a little like a young girl being surgically stitched to be re-sold as virgins. I simply have a problem looking at stuffed animals as passive constructions of lint. No. People think I, as a grown-up human, am way too invested in seeing after Pootie's needs and desires, too. But they're wrong. They don't know our history. It's thick.)

Anyway, Tater's hamster is special. We thought she didn't much like it at first. She ignored it. Until the day Dave took off and Tater didn't realize I was in the house and she set up a low, mournful yowling completely unrelated to her regular voice, and I saw her transporting the hamster into a different room and setting it down. After that we noticed that the hamster was never in the same place it had been when we left the house. She'll take it upstairs. Downstairs. If we catch her in the act she'll drop it and give it a few pretend-bats, but there isn't a mark on it. She protects it. It's her baby.

[By the way, yes, it has a tail, and is not really a hamster as much as it's a gerbil, but "hamster" is a funnier word and more fun to say, and that's that. Rules are different in a logophile's house.]

So we don't necessarily find the hamster when we come home, but happen upon it later. And that's why it took us a few weeks to realize we hadn't seen it in a while. 

I have been devastated on Tater's behalf. She loved that hamster. I've been shaking my head in sorrow over it for three years. And now it's back! We tossed it toward her and she put it between her paws and under her chin until we made too much of a fuss, and then she pretended to bat it around for a couple seconds. Later it showed up in another room, set neatly upright.

And Tater, who is somewhere around fourteen and has been slowing down, is a new cat. Lunging at squirrels on the other side of the window. Chittering at finches. Conducting spontaneous crazy-cat exercises at warp speed just because. Exuberating. Ain't nothing in the house safe from her excess of joy now, except for the hamster. He's spotless. And looking pretty bright in the buttons, too.

28 comments:

  1. I must be having a slow morning, I stared at that picture of Tater's hamster for 2-3 minutes (trying to determine if it was possibly real) before I FINALLY READ YOUR BLOG. Well, I was also listening to one of the talking heads on MSNBC too. Anyway, I'm happy for Tater and BTW, you don't know me but I swear I'm not making this up, I rode the bus to downtown (Pittsburgh) and back 5 days a week for 33 years, and once our bus DID hit someone, a man rushing to cross the street and jumped in front of us when the light (for us) turned green, I think he must've been temporarily confused or something. The sound was godawful and we were all thrown forward--HARD--like we'd hit an elephant. The poor man did not survive... and on that note, hope you (and Tater) have a great day :)

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    1. That's what I decide to call "Darwinism in Action." We need more chlorine in the gene pool... especially lately. (Most Republicans think the election was rigged???!! Get a grip on it, people!)

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    2. Ick! Once, way back when I was trying to be a runner, I was about five miles in when I came up to an intersection and was watching the "WALK" signal wind down or something and my brain was so addled I kept running because I thought the light changed for ME. Ran right in front of a car that, fortunately, didn't have much momentum yet. One more reason running is bad for you.

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  2. Ooh, Apache Dug, that could have been really traumatic - not only for the poor fellow who died, but for all of the bus riders.

    My mother drove a city bus and, AFAIK, never hit anyone. She was the best driver in our family, bar none.

    I've known a few people to be hit (and killed) by trains, but none by bus.

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    1. Here in Delaware, the students at the University of Delaware, in Newark (a party college!) often walk along train tracks -- which are prolific in that area -- for some reason. Again, Darwinism at Work.

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    2. Apropo of nothing, don't try to cross a railroad bridge over a wide river thinking the train only comes by twice a day.

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  3. I am so very glad that the prodigal hamster was returned to Tater (and yes, there are people who say that we spend far too much time and energy catering to Jazz's needs and desires).
    Love that the return of the Hamster (who surely deserves a capital letter) has given Tater a whole new lease on life too.
    And no, I don't know anyone who has been hit by a bus (or a train). For which I am grateful.

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    1. Um, I haven't seen the Hamster for a week. Uh-oh.

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    2. Ask Dave to lift the chair again.

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  4. Tater's hamster is adorable. I'm glad they were reunited, and Tater is clearly overjoyed.

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  5. Our gender dysphoric, spayed rescue beagle has adopted a small, brown plush cushion that we leave on the floor for her pleasure. Really. Most of the time she just mouths it gently and noses it about, but occasionally she will hump it ecstatically. What can I say? She's a butch bitch.

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  6. I've been hit by a car, but not a bus. And the car wasn't moving all that fast, so I mostly got brushed to one side. No physical damage, but psychological trauma. Especially when the driver's boyfriend decided I needed to be taught a lesson (ie don't expect his girlfriend to look before backing up) and tried to run me down the next night.

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    1. I've seen that guy. You'd be better off with a bus.

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  7. The being hit by a bus does rather depend on the Bus Company providing a service. [auto-correct wanted that word to be sevice.As it's funnier than my comment, maybe I should have left it.]

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    1. We have buses that go around and around not picking up people, so you're never safe.

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  8. Tater must have missed the Hamster very much for his return to give her such renewed exuberance. I wish my Lola would play, but she shows no interest at all, which makes me wonder if she ever had toys in her previous home. I suspect not. Anyway, I'm very happy for Tater, who is around 72 in cat years. I have a pet age chart that I picked up one time when I took Angel for his shots.

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    1. I wish I knew for certain how old she is, just because. We got her in August 2007 and the papers said she was 1 year 7 months old, but she didn't seem full-grown, so we figured she was just 7 months old.

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  9. Ever since I read Michael O'Donaghue's "How to Write Good" in the National Lampoon (link below), "bus" has been replaced in my imagination with "truck." I rarely suggest such things, but you might want to read the last sentence first.
    http://www.workableweb.com/_pages/tips_how_to_write_good.htm

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    1. Uh...my house was hit by a pickup truck, once. Does that count?

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    2. Thanks for the link, giralua! Some very helpful hints there! Cop Car, it only counts if your house was thrown under a pickup truck.

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  10. Our mother kept her guinea pig Waldo on the kitchen counter, in a cage with cedar chips covering the bottom, and a water bottle with a spout on the side. One day our sister came in with a boyfriend from Cooperstown, NY, who pointed at Waldo and asked, "What's that, a lobster?"

    Granted this wasn't a coastal elite type boyfriend, but jeez.

    Trying, perhaps, to say "hamster"

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    1. If he came up with "turtle" for "gerbil" later, I think you're onto something.

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  11. baby boomers are going to get abused and treated like garbage in the retirement homes. Maybe you boomers shouldn't have been so selfish and arrogant and greedy. Literally everyone hates baby boomers now. Enjoy those retirement homes, and good luck, boomers!

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  12. Ooooh, so sorry for the confusion, but “I Hate My Mom And You Should Too!” is meeting DOWNSTAIRS today.

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