Saturday, August 7, 2010

I Blame It On Banjo Bob

I am not a cat person.

I trace my ambivalence back to my days growing up on a farm. We always had cats, but that was like saying we always had lawnmowers. Cats were utilitarian, no-nonsense beings that fended off rodent invasions in the barn, much like the lawnmower fended off the creeping bermuda grass. I mean, you wouldn't pull the lawnmower up on your lap and scratch behind its ears, would you? The mower would have thought you were crazy, and so would the cat.

So I grew up appreciative but emotionally ambivalent about cats. I didn't officially become a non-cat person until college, when I met Banjo Bob.

Banjo Bob was the beloved pet of one of my friends (hi, Janie!), who had raised him from big-eyed, sharp-ribbed abandoned kittenhood. He had nothing but love and adoration from Janie as he passed through adolescence and into slinky adulthood.

And this proves that even in the animal world nature trumps nuture: Banjo Bob was a psycho. I was trying to become a cat person at that point, and approached BB with eager supplication: "What a pretty kitty! Aren't you a good boy? Come sit on my lap and let me pet you!"

Banjo Bob would ignore me until I gave up pathetically begging for his attention. Then, when my back was turned, he'd jump on my head. Or take a swipe at my ankles from under the couch. Or leer at me from the kitchen counter, which he KNEW drove me crazy.

I found myself wishing that Noah had seen this cat coming toward the ark: "Elephants? Check. Aardvarks? Check. Hyenas? Check. Banjo Bob? Oh, I don't think so."

But given that the cats did make it onto the Ark, I'm stuck trying to fake love for them when I'm around the portion of humanity that loves cats. Which is to say, most of it.

Cats know I'm a non-convert, so they LOOOOOVE me. If I were one lone non-cat person among 10,000 other cat persons in a room, and I was hiding behind the floor-length drapes standing perfectly still and barely breathing, and a cat were randomly introduced into the room, that cat would make a beeline for those drapes and slither under them to find my black skirt, whereupon he would projectile shed every bit of its hair onto my skirt, then lick my face in his effort to convert me to the Feline Nation. And there I would stand, doing my best to love the cat, and failing, and feeling myself being judged by 9,999 cat persons.

I know what these cat persons would say to me as I stand there trying to brush the hair off my skirt: Cats are lovely, and loving, and loyal, and I just don't understand.

And I would reply, "You haven't met Banjo Bob."

I'll stick with my lawnmower.

1 comment:

  1. and what is the mascot of the school you work for ;) hehe