Last night when I arrived home from work at around 9:30pm, I was greeted by a stray cat. And when I say "greeted" I mean the cat had been walking slowly toward the parking lot and slowed as I parked my car and got out. After I saw him, I approached him carefully to see whether or not he had tags on (he didn't) and he let me pet him. This is generally a sign of a cat who is not feral so instantly I felt sad. After I pet him he darted around me and went straight to my car, hopped on the hood and then to the roof of the car where he sat, regal looking and utterly unconcerned. I decided then and there to leave some food out for him because, even if he belonged to someone in my apartment complex or nearby, he deserved an award for his brazen attitude to my car.
I am not interested in becoming a cat lady but my heart does break a little when I see strays and I do entertain the notion of rescuing them. After I fed him, he plopped down right in front of my screen door, as though he belonged there, as though he'd always been right there. I had to close the door because I was seconds from bringing him inside and the two cats I actually do own were going a little insane. I have had my fair share of experiences with cats in the neighborhood and this one was playing out like the last. I had to just make peace with feeding him and then let it go at that. In all likelihood, he was just an indoor/outdoor cat scrounging for a free extra meal. At least that is what I told myself when, at 2:30am I was awoken by the loud crack of apocalyptic thunder and a series of bright and constant lightning strobe lighting my bedroom. You'll think I'm employing dramatic embellishments when I tell you that when I first woke up and sat up suddenly, rigid with fear the first thing I saw was my cat Thelma on the floor near the bed, her little face illuminated by the flashing lights as she stared at me accusingly, but it happened. Well, one human's accusation is another cat's indifference. (And I did mention it was 2:30am so I could have dreamed all of this.) Regardless, I hope that little guy found some shelter or, at the very least, his way back home. I also secretly hope I never see him again if it is going to prompt all this guilt in me again.
I also ran into my neighbor who was coming downstairs from her boyfriend's apartment. Her boyfriend happens to live next door to her on the other side. I have often witnessed them leaving together for dinner or one leaving the other's apartment in pajamas to "go home" and I have to admit I feel envy for the convenience of that. I love that they retain their own houses, their own personal spaces but are so conveniently located that they can still be together whenever they want. It hearkens back to Woody Allen and Mia Farrow, living on opposite sides of Central Park and though that didn't work out so well, I would honestly relish this arrangement. The only thing I remember about my last relationship at this point was all the gross hair in the bathroom and the general mess of the apartment. While that is telling about that particular relationship, I'd bet I'd have been happier to descend the stairs and be home in my own spot. Ok, listen, I'd even be willing to travel a block. Perhaps things did not pan out with this one guy earlier this year who lives two streets over: long distance relationships rarely work out.
Now that I'm thinking about my neighbors, I am wondering what happened to this one woman I used to call "The Lady of the Night." She earned this nickname (in my brain) because I would often cross paths with her as I left my apartment for work early in the morning and she was just getting out of her really nice black Camaro, dressed in what had to be last night's dress. She lived two doors down from me and while she was always friendly, she was also always just slightly on the icky side. One time I saw her walking with two trash bags to the dumpster in the parking lot while barefoot. She said to me in passing "Sucks that you are on your way to work on this gorgeous day." I didn't take note of her tone because I was too distracted by her bare feet in that close proximity to the garbage dumpster. Also, one time I passed by her car in the parking lot and peeked inside. To say it was hot mess would be to understate things. Well, just picture this, but inside of a camaro:
And the part of me that is always looking for symbolism in real life, as though life were one really long work of literature, assigns meaning to that car. That car may be a metaphor for herself: beautiful and sleek on the outside and a complete and utter disaster on the inside. Anyway, she no longer lives there. I never saw her move out but if I were writing her story, she would have fallen for some west coast trust fund baby and followed him out to California where he may or may not have unceremoniously dumped her.
There is also this charming little gazebo in the middle of the parking lot of my complex. My landlord can often be found drinking his coffee there on weekdays and I always wave hello with my free hand as I stumble to my car with my hands full of bags and books and coffee and breakfast. The gazebo is outfitted with a small radio which can be heard playing 24/7. It is always tuned to some top 40 nonsense but when, on those evenings I'm coming home from town a bit tipsy or outright blotto, I can hear the echoing sound of Gotye in the parking lot that is full of cars but devoid of people, I can't help but think of apocalyptic visions of civilization left behind. Just like in the movies, there are fingerprints of evidence that people used to exist right there but no people to be found anywhere. Humanity ends and all that remains is Top 40 pop music.
When I come home tonight, I hope nothing of interest whatsoever happens, since I'm anxious to get inside my little space and chillax, chillax like the wind.