How Indiana Weather Is The Same As My Cat

This morning Penelope was sitting on the couch when Noah, The Cat, walked by. He was on his way to the corner of the room, or of the end table, wherever his destination was. Penny said something or other that got his attention and he hopped up onto the back of the couch, situating himself and his paws so he could look out the window. I thought it was pretty cute, but the idea of animals with destinations always gets me anyway.

Penny glared at him. She prodded his swinging belly with her finger, wrinkling her nose and cursing him for waking her yet again at five-oh-damn-clock in the morning. She'd had me barricade him in the kitchen with a chair and a chalkboard, hoping to get a full night's sleep, but somehow he got out and came in to wake us up, just like he always does.

"You dirty little booger," she told him. "Always waking me up in the morning, and now you're just looking out the window; you don't even care that I'm sitting here." She's a light sleeper, you see. "You suck!"

Noah stared out at the yard, spotting a bird or a rustling leaf somewhere.

"You need to look at him with love," I said, not comfortable with the way I had phrased it and struggling to expound. "Cats don't have expressive faces like dogs - we assign emotions to them every time we look at them, and it's always based on how you feel about the cat at the time. So you have to imagine them as nice little creatures; that way you feel good when you see them." Or something to that effect.

Penny shot me a look. Her look is like an elephant gun - not much range or accuracy, but with plenty of stopping power.

I went on: "It's true. I've seen people live with cats for a dozen years, all the time making a fuss over how kitty is lonely, or kitty is happy, or kitty wants us to close the blinds. You never see the cat's expression change one bit, but they see it, or they think they do. I think it's best to just let them go."

"Well, *our* cats are little buttholes," she explained, and I decided to drop it.

After several seconds of silence, I grasped at a simile. I said that it was like the weather - no, the weather in Indiana, which can go either way. There are some people who like Indiana, and when it suddenly drops to twenty degrees colder than it was yesterday they tend to shake their heads and say something like "Man, this Indiana weather! You never know what you're gonna get! How do you like this? - Sixty degrees in August!"

Others, who aren't as fond of the state or all that it encloses, take it personally. "Jeez! What is with this crap? It totally figures that it would be nice every day this week and then cold on the day I was going to wear shorts. EV-ry FRICK-in TIME."

"Naturally," I summarized - and here I was really getting into my stride - "the weather doesn't know or care what you think of it. It's going to do what it's going to do. Just like Noah." I paused for a second, not for dramatic effect but to decide where to go with this. "Look in his eyes. There's no ill will toward you, or toward anything else. He just wants to look out the window. And this morning he was just hungry, just like every morning."

It wrapped up with me reiterating - you might say beating into the ground - that Noah is very likeable, and rewarding to live with, as long as you're willing to *decide* to like him. Give him the benefit of the doubt, and his behavior is cute and/or fascinating, as opposed to rude and/or infuriating. Either way you go it gets easier over time as the pattern develops, and so, in conclusion ladies and gentlemen, it is better to make up your mind early on that you like him, because his accumulated personality as you know it is, in truth, little more than the intentions and motivations you give him every time you look at him.

Penny looked at me, then at Noah, then back at me. She had the look she gets when I've made a convincing argument that hasn't convinced her, and she's backtracking to see where exactly I pulled the fast one.

What I didn't say at that precise instant, but should have, is this:
Things are what you make of them. Things are what you make of them. Bay-bee.

And you know what I mean?

Yeah, you know what I mean.

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