Who are these silent strangers waiting for me to know who they are?

Wednesday, January 19, 2011



Across the street the neighbors were watching Johnny Depp on their 5 foot flat screen TV. I wonder if they realize that even through the draperies you can clearly see the TV and anything in front of it. The neighborhood felt restless. It was almost midnight and there were still people out walking their dogs, still traffic on the streets, still lights on in a majority of the windows. And the people across the street were still watching their demi-god. I, myself was infected with the restless need to walk. My brain would not shut off. Since my cortex was being so recalcitrant I decided that maybe a good workout would soothe it. By workout, of course, I meant mental calisthenics. These neighbors chose Johnny Depp, secure in their “private” viewing, to soothe their soul. Depp is not an option for me. Besides, it wasn’t even a good movie. What would make someone want to watch Willy Wonka at midnight? or ever? Well, walking and thinking sometimes does the trick. As I walked I was contemplating their choices. The apartment that they live in looks nice. Nice as milk toast. Big, square building with giant plate glass windows. They drive a grey Ford Taurus and a black Lexus. Their maids come twice a week. Every night they watch TV from the time they get home. I suppose they have very important jobs with a high stress level. Being so very important and with such a high stress level leaves them with a desperate need to vegetate. At night, all they can handle are meaningless moving pictures because their brains turn to swiss cheese. It’s terribly hard to think with so much air and goo in your brain. While I was cogitating about the cheese heads my attention was once again drawn to the blight of # 1619 Gilpin. Mehitabel was once again on the porch. She was eyeing the inhabitants of the Cat House. The cat house literally has a sign posted on it that says “the old man’s cat house”. The “old man” is really a overweight woman who wears a moo-moo. I don’t know what goes on, on the inside of her house, but the outside is a jungle of dog houses and bare trees. Once a day she comes out and tosses a Big Gulp of cat kibble into the lawn and then retreats back indoors. Mehitabel views the whole process with disdain. I think she likes her food still alive and being a supreme ruler, she is above eating kibble from the dirt. That night the rabble of strays were gathering to huddle in the dog houses. Someone over there was talking a little too loudly to suit Mehitabel and she was giving him the severe glare that is reserved for fools and slovenly toad eaters.


I wasn’t sure if the tiny chinese woman was walking the dog or the dog was walking her. They almost could have been twins. They were both wearing tiny little blue sweaters with fur collars. Both of them had that peculiar trot of short legs and wide bodies that makes them look like they are swaying. They walked at pretty good pace until they to Mehitabel. Once again ensconced on the porch of Bates House, Mehitabel was demanding recognition from the foreigners who dared cross her path. She hissed so loud I could hear it 3 houses down. The waddling pair stopped in their tracks. The one on the leash took one look at the menacing presence of the Queen and back away. It almost looked like he made reverance. The taller one scooped up the other and huffed away without a word. I watched Mehitabel wash her paws as if she had sullied them in the encounter. Down the lane I could just make out the cat lady returning from her grueling endurance walk to the 7-11 a half a block down. She had her jug of milk and bag of whatever secured in the crook of her arm. I could almost feel the ground shake with her deliberate steps. She looked like she was trying to punch a hole through the side walk with each stride. She is mighty force. As she approached her fence the milling feline herd became increasingly agitated, running back and forth. From their behavior I surmise she had not yet launched the kibble. It was at about the same time that she reached the gate that Mehitabel shrieked. My heart leapt into my throat. Cat lady dropped her bag and everything seemed to stop for a count of 2 or 3. What the hell?

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