Thursday, January 24, 2013

Stuck on Tumble

When I was a kid we had a cat that would just not stop having sex. She was the tramp of the neighborhood. Within days of giving birth, she would escape out the back door and the squalls of her late night rendezvous could be heard throughout the humid Florida spring air of our neighborhood.

Of course, this meant that we had kittens. A lot of kittens. The ones that I remember in particular are a pair of brothers, Wilbur and Orville (have I ever mentioned how into the Wright brothers I was? Or that when I discovered that my kid was born on the anniversary of their first flight I almost peed my pants with excitement? I am pretty certain that I have mentioned that I am a dork, so I guess I am covered either way.) At any rate, Wilbur and Orville never went anywhere without each other. They were identical except that while Wilbur was completely white, Orville was an orange and white striped tabby.

In the chill of those Spring mornings, the momma cat, Pip Squeak would carry the kittens to the ever open door of the dryer and drop them in one by one to keep them warm.

And so it happened that Orville and Wilbur wound up going through a dryer cycle with my mother's uniforms one afternoon. I am not sure how it happened really, I know that I had pulled all of the kittens out prior to throwing the laundry in, but being 9 with a sister, two younger brothers, other kittens, two grown cats, and a beautiful Florida Spring day happening just outside the window - sometimes things get missed.

The kittens lived, amazingly. My mother's uniforms were coated in pee and poo, but she was a mom and a nurse so I am thinking that it was not the first time. When they first came out of the dryer, they were extremely thirsty and comically dizzy. They stumbled across the floor of the kitchen in a daze, eyes not looking like they truly believed what they had just gone through. They were never really the same after that, never the overtly adventurous and curious that they had been in the past.

I have never really been able to identify with what the kittens went through on that fateful day. Never, that is, until now.

I feel like I am on constant tumble, my mind going in 8000 different directions at all times, never sleeping, barely eating as I just keep tumbling. Rent's late? Tumble, tumble, tumble. Car needs repairs? Tumble, tumble. Loose tooth? Tumble, tumble, tumble. Changing shifts? Cutting hours? Increased taxes shrinking my paychecks? Tumble, tumble, tumble. 

I can't get a foothold. I can't find a place to anchor myself, I just keep tumbling, feeling helpless to the constant onslaught of this reality. It hurts and bruises and I just keep tumbling under the overbearing heat of stress and responsibility. When I see my face in the mirror, when I think about the conversations and work that I have done in a given day, I see that same daze, that same confusion and disbelief in my eyes. This is not how my grown-up life was supposed to be. This is not where I am supposed to be in my life.

And yet, here I am, tumbling along, trying to get a grip.

Gratuitous pictures of my kittens. Neither of whom have ever been in the dryer. 

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