You Can’t Swing a Dead Cat in Here. . .

I used to date this guy back in the last year of high school and the first year of college.

I’ll refrain from commenting on the quality of the relationship.

{insert mature restraint of tongue & pen keyboard here}

{insert immature smug self-righteousness here}

His mom lived in an apartment complex that offered external storage spaces for rent to its tenants. His mom had one. We went into the storage space one day and. . . stored some stuff.

No really, that’s what we did. What were you thinking?

We stored stuff and then we left. We shut the door on the way out and went on about our business– whatever kind of business it is that one has at that age. Terribly important things, I’m sure, like buying Noble Roman’s breadsticks, playing the new Guns & Roses album and finding someone to cop beer.

A couple months later we went back into the storage unit. Whether to store or unstore, I can’t quite recall. What I do recall is that there, on the concrete floor, near the back and behind an old armchair was a cat.

Or, more correctly, what was left of a cat.

Which was a perfect, black and empty fur shell.

It appeared that the cat had gotten in without us noticing when we were storing stuff previously; unable to get out, it starved to death (then decomposed, as is the nature of things).

At this point I’m sure you’re thinking this is a hell of a way to start your morning, reading about dead cat shells. I would like to point out that I did give you fair warning with the title.

At the time, the dead cat shell was the creepiest and weirdest thing I had ever seen and while I did feel a twinge of guilt myself, I secretly blamed my boyfriend.

Even today, more than twenty years later, I have a sense of trepidation every time I open a storage door. Any door to a dusty, seldom-trafficked space where people store things that are– or at least once were– meaningful enough to them that they pay extra money to keep them safe. I open those doors and I wonder what I’m going to find. I wonder what got in and died while I was away.

Which is exactly how I felt last night logging in to my blog for the first time in about two months .

If you can gingerly log in, peek at your notifications through your fingers, glance at the new comments only briefly so as to not have a horrifying image (like a dead cat fur shell) burned into your retinas, well. . . I did that. It’s gonna take me a little while to get through the debris. I have a lot on my mind that would be positively destroyed by the discovery of ex-household pets. I must proceed slowly.

As for where I’ve been?

I haven’t been in my garden. Nor my yard.

Nor at the mall, thank God.

I haven’t been on Facebook in part because I’m weary of people at opposite ends of the political spectrum exhibiting how exactly alike they are in their closed-mindedness.

I’ve been at work and at home. Grocery stores and Costco. The airport, too many times. My kitchen, eternally. And the laundry room.

I’ve been in biographies of Nureyev, Hedy Lamarr, Valerie Bertinelli, and Judas; I’ve been in the music of Johnny Cash, Sixx A.M., a bunch of stuff Brian Paulson produced and that Live album that I always go back to, every time.

I’ve been in my ’66 Mustang Miss Lucy.

I’ve been in a meditative mood. I’ve been in a state of high agitation. I’ve been to hell & back, and also Owensboro, KY (which was a whole separate trip, and much more pleasant).

But whatever. I’ve missed this place and you folks and I’m here now.

Lovely to see you again, my friends. Make sure nothing snuck in behind you before you shut the door.