****NO ANIMALS WERE HARMED IN THE FOLLOWING EPISODE OF
ADVENTURES IN PARADISE****
So tonight I was supposed to greet our friends at the airport. I had big plans to feed them a fabulous dinner, and spend a long relaxing evening over cocktails while the children frolicked, as we are wont to do when we vacation together.
This morning, over a leisurely breakfast, I picked up the phone and called to see what kind of cereal they liked so that I could have some at the rental house.
And Oh My God did I get more than I bargained for.
Long story short, I never did get the name of their favorite cereal. What I got instead was a chaotic, long distance, heart-rending announcement. They weren't coming.
They had indeed boarded the plane with their traveling companions. And at some point they got a phone call, or picked up a voicemail, and got some very upsetting news from the housesitter. Their indoor cats appeared to have gotten OUT. They were no longer INDOOR CATS. And they were missing. And they needed to be found. And so my friends disembarked, and instead of flying west towards paradise, they headed east. Towards.......the midwest.
Not exactly what I had in mind. Not exactly what any of us had in mind.
It is hard for me to relate. Here's why. This is a transcript of the directions I left for our housesitter when we went on vacation:
Welcome and Aloha. Thank you SO MUCH for staying here and keeping an eye on things. We really appreciate it !
The mail comes every day at about 3pm, please don't leave it in the box overnight because I guess people keep stealing mail and accepting credit card offers. Though god knows they would never get one using our credit, unless it was a secured card which kind of defeats the purpose of stealing someone's identity, I think.
The extra toilet paper and soap are in the closet on the porch. So are the garbage bags and the dish soap. Trash pick up is Monday and Thursday at dawn. It sucks. If you forget to put out the trash, don't worry, you will have plenty of time when they wake you up as they drive down the street in reverse with the beeping warning system going off. Fuckers. Probably think it's funny. We didn't leave them a case of beer this year like we usually do because we are not fans of this new approach to garbage collection.
Thanks also for watching the dogs. This is so sweet of you. I hope they don't give you any trouble. They are kind of assholes. If they get out and run away, just call the Humane Society and DON'T WORRY. If they become too much of a hassle (they really are assholes), take them to the kennel up the road - our credit card is on file. Please do not stress out over the dogs, seriously. Just feed them every day and make sure they have fresh water, and you will have done good. And if something DOES happen, for the love of god, don't call us. We won't be able to do much from overseas. And if they get sick or injured, no heroic measures. We don't have pet health insurance and we just took two weeks of unpaid leave.
So when I finally understood through the sobbing that they were not coming here for a week of vacation because the cats got out, needless to say it was a revelation for me.
Because seriously, someone could tell me my KID was missing, and I would have to really think hard about whether I needed to rush home and help in the search efforts. I mean, how pissed would I be if I cancelled a trip and returned home and it turned out they had just gone to a friend's house for the night? Really pissed.
(Obviously, I'm joking. Kind of. But seriously, I think of myself as a loving and compassionate person. I do. No I really do. Are you LAUGHING AT ME? HOW DARE YOU?)
I am a loving and compassionate person. But no missing cat (or dog, or hamster, or goldfish - though I don't think those go missing much) would cause me to cancel a vacation. No illness or injury of a pet would cause me a moment of lost sleep. I am not putting myself into debt running diagnostic tests or undergoing rigorous protocol or paying for expensive medications for my pets. I just wouldn't. I adopted them from the Humane Society, so they could live a life outside of a cage, free of pain and discomfort, however long that might be. I want to give them a lot of love and healthy food for as long as they too are healthy and full of love. And then? Well......it's off to the big Humane Society in the sky, I guess.
And I guess by a lot of people's measure, that makes me callous and heartless and cold and mean.
Knowing that about myself, having that so clearly illustrated today, kind of hurt a little. Are my friends - who literally dropped everything, left their luggage on a plane, left their friends in their seats, cancelled a vacation with no refunds and went through the emotional ringer in the middle of the airport because of 2 missing cats - are they kinder people? Better people? More compassionate and loving?
Clearly. Without question, yes they are. Those cats? They love them like their children. Some people just really love animals. So I guess I am more of an animal "liker", than an animal "lover".
And I have to come to terms with that.
So yes, while it would be wonderful if my friends were here, and even though I am totally bummed that they didn't come, I know they wouldn't have been able to enjoy it while their cats were missing. And I might not understand loving an animal so much, but I can definitely respect the love and emotion and concern they are feeling right now. Because they must really love those damn cats, to give up this:
**these are not my photos they are from promotional materials and I will replace them when I have photos of my own. Tomorrow. When I will be lying by that pool, trying to become more compassionate.**
AND P.S.: THE CATS ARE FINE AND SAFE WITH THEIR MOMMY. As soon as she got home from her frantic return trip she found them and everyone is reunited and it feels so good. But I think it would feel better if they were in Hawaii right now.