Conversations With Myrtle

I stepped on Myrtle today while I was coming in the front door.

Yes, accidentally!

She’d been doing that weave-between-the-legs cat thing and I lost sight of her under a bag of groceries.

Yes, I eat at home. Sometimes.

Sheesh.

Anyway, I did my best to assure her I didn’t mean to step on her while she glared at me from the bedroom door.

“C’mon, Mother…you know I’d never hurt you! Well, step on you.”

She gives me a very non-inscrutable stare.

“You’re just trying to milk this for treats. I’m on to you.”

Self sacrifice.

“Say what, now?”

Self sacrifice. It’s clearly the only way to demonstrate that you meant no harm.

“Not happening.”

Well, here we are then.

“So, the only way for me to prove that stepping on you was an accident is to harm myself?”

It’s a start.

What the hell did you do to your hair, anyway?

“Oh good. This now…well, I went to get a much needed trim. My regular barber was off and I ended up getting a cut from this trans-woman,” I tell her.

Stop. Just stop. Any story that starts with “So, there was this trans-chick” is way beyond my bother.

Says The Mistress walking dismissively under the bed.

But you might care.

I’ve been low-key growing my hair out. My indistinct goal being what I call crazy old man hair. AKA: mad scientist hair. But last time I went to the barber and asked to “clean it up around the ears and thin out the back”, I got a lil bit shorter cut than I wanted.

It was a small setback, so I decided to really let it ride as long as possible between cuts this time.

Ok. I know I’ll regret this, but tell me what happened.

“What happened is last time you curled around my legs like that, you got stepped on”, I tell her. “I thought you were sulking under the bed?”

I can’t help myself, cat=curiosity. You can’t fight nature. Plus, I have a thirst for knowledge…it’s like a sickness.

“Don’t quote Designing Women to me, cat.”

This trans-barber of yours, you were saying?

“Yeah, yeah. Ok. So, ‘clean it up over the ears and thin out the back’, right?”

Myrtle blinks slowly at me. The cat equivalent, I imagine, of “hurry it up”.

“Well, she starts cutting and I ask her if this is her regular station”

Myrtle walks away…again.

“Ok, ok…there’s this picture of a young Keanu Reeves on her mirror and I ask if she was a fan of Baby Keanu.”

Myrtle stops and sits down, still facing away from me.

“The stylist tells me it’s not her usual station, but she does like Keanu”, I tell Myrt. “‘Then she goes on to say that she liked him best after the Civil War’, so I asked her what she’s talking about since I’m not familiar with a Civil War movie of his, right?”

<slow cat blink>

“So she says, ‘Oh, yeah. He’s one of those movie stars that is like 1000 years old…there’s a ton of them. Brad Pitt, Keanu, Richard Gere – which is why he just knocked a baby into his 20-something new bride at 69. Julia Roberts, Anne Hathaway. They’re like vampires. There’s a whole bunch of them.'”

“I’m staring at her in the mirror thinking she must’ve taken an Ambien and fallen asleep watching Death Becomes Her or something”, I tell Myrtle.

So, basically you’re blaming this on your inability to shut that crazy down after a few snips and get a sane person to cut your hair?

“Yeah. Basically.”

Great. So now I’m stuck looking at you looking like an 80s boy band refugee that found a time machine.

Tic-toc…it’s dinner time.

That’s my mean old cat. But for as ruthless as she can be, she doesn’t interrupt or talk over me. So even though the conversations can be brutal, they are at least civil.

Not every conversation is like that, either. Some are less crazy cat lady and simply catty. Like when she claws at the front door and I yell at her to shut up. She’ll casually turn her head and reply,

Meow

Then she goes back to scratching, as if daring me to get off the couch. Interesting observation – to me, anyway – she only does this if I’m on the couch. Never when I’m in the bedroom or kitchen.

Cats are weird.

Particularly mine.

Generally, when I tell Myrtle to stop scratching at the door for the second time, she’ll meow at me and the charge the couch from behind. I imagine that she’s hoping her “sneak attack” will catch me with my elbow over the edge of the armrest for her to shred.

Sorry, cat…remember that one time I had my bare feet on the armrest? I sure do.

Somewhere in between the basic meow conversations that leave me wondering what the hell Myrtle is thinking and the possibly only-in-my-head full length conversations we have, there’s a more realistic third variety. This generally involves a plaintive meow – which can tip into the “urgent meow” category, given the circumstance – and food.

Myrtle knows she gets a treat when I get out of bed to pee at night and that wet dinner is at 6 pm. That urgent meow? Yeah…she deploys that when dinner is late. Actually, she starts in with it around 5:30 just to keep me from forgetting.

But she does seem to pepper these helpful cat conversations with some snide commentary. Usually when I would get home from work and open a bottle of wine.

What’s important to know here, is that I usually give Myrtle a second treat when I get home from work. So, I would walk in the door between 4 and 6 pm and say hi to my feline frenemy before giving her a treat. Then I’d head off to change out of my work clothes and possibly shower, depending on whether the day’s heinousness was water soluble.

Redressed in my casual knock-around tee shirt and jeans, I would occasionally open a bottle of wine.

Also, occasionally I would get some sort of derivative of this nonsense from Myrt

Hey, buddy…while you’re making your wet dinner, why don’t ya just hook me up, too?

“Because it’s not dinner time yet. Also, you just had a snack.”

Meow!

“It’s not going to work. Why don’t you go outside? The balcony and front doors are both open.”

Which is why I don’t want to go out. Duh.

“Leave me alone.”

C’mon…it’ll be real easy this way!

“And have you screaming for breakfast in the middle of the night because you ate too early? No, thank you!”

Meow!

“Shut your cat face. Let me unwind a bit.”

You know what helps me unwind?

…she asks digging her claws into her cat tree menacingly.

My cat is a psychotic terror. I swear that I’m not imagining it.

Conversations With Myrtle

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