I feel pretty horrible, both emotionally and physically. The physical part is some sort of stomach virus that has felled me for the last couple of days, a faint nausea and a general sense that my extremities are falling off. I am eating, but I can’t tell where it’s going.
Emotionally, it’s just been sort of a bad week. I did three things over the last seven days that have come back to haunt me. Each of those things has a common denominator: I did them all in a gruff haste, as if sheer insouciance would somehow shield me from bad decision-making.
First off, I barged into a well-known magazine, presented them with all my clips, and pitched an idea: let me be your new [fill in the blank] editor. Sounds plucky and full of chutzpah, right? In reality, everything was wrong about it (wrong time to show up, another dude was there, it was cramped and uncomfortable) and I may have done way more disservice to my relationship with this place than if I’d just played it cool.
Secondly, I casually erased a comment on this blog, and in doing so, upset a friend of mine. I didn’t really stop to think about it from all the angles, just sort of did it, and he was really upset.
Third, I bought mouse poison. I absolutely never do this sort of thing, but our contractor said it was the only way to get rid of mice for good, and I knew the droppings in the kitchen drawers makes Tessa insane. So I stormed into Home Depot, bought the poison, lurched down into the basement and chucked it into every corner, with a sort of hollow I-could-give-a-fuck fury.
Two days ago I talked about finding a dead kitty in our barn, and last night, I suddenly realized why: I poisoned the mice, and the cat ate the mice. There was a partially-eaten mouse by the cat, and the kitty had obviously suffered a massive digestive failure (I won’t tell you how I know, but believe me).
I feel terrible. Cats are my favorite animal, and I have strived to keep them alive for decades at a time. I rescued Cap’n (pictured below) from a dumpster even though he had a heart murmur. I created an old-folks-home for Zooey when Michelle had run out of options. Sean and I raised Elgar throughout our adolescence, in two different states.
Now I’m left with a gnawing sadness. All three of these decisions were made hastily, without nuance. An old filmmaker once told Tessa “the definition of tyranny is the denial of complexity,” and that is how I have been living the last week.
I think my stomach flu is somatic empathy, a shared piece of what I did to that kitty. If that’s the case, then I deserve it, and I’d like to say ‘I’m sorry’ to the little bugger.