I do wonder how long I can sustain this particular project—the road to my personal hell is littered with brief volunteer stints: PAWS, Project Angel Food, My Friend’s Place, WriteGirl, Spoken Interludes Next (well, actually I got paid for that one, and I still dropped out after two seasons). Animals, people with AIDS, homeless teens, teens who are failing English, teens who are locked up. All sapped the very small amount of energy that I gave them.
During the first week or so that I worked with Jamie, I made some kind of confession regarding some small guilty pleasure—probably Starbucks was involved. She shrugged and said, “Hey, life is hard” with an implied “Gotta treat yourself.” While I think most women’s magazines abuse this philosophy (“You’re a feminist because you treated yourself to a pedicure.”), there is a beautiful, freeing truth to that statement. Life is hard, even when you’re living a good one. You do have to treat yourself. I knew I would like working with Jamie.
And so, weeknight volunteer projects may, at some point in the too-near future, take a backseat to weeknight writing dates or weeknight date dates. But for now I’m sticking it out and enjoying the cuteness of Tahoe, an immense, blue-eyed bobcat of a cat who I know would get along great with my dad (whose high school best friend was known to harbor an illegal pet or two).
Tahoe is a chewer, maybe because he is also part husky. Not a biter—he just likes to gnaw lovingly on your hand, and his grip unfortunately is as strong as a T-rex’s. I’ve nicknamed him the Jaws of Life. The chewing is a Zen thing for him, I think. He seems slightly wiser and more mature than some of the other cats, like a kid who got held back a year and suddenly finds himself the smartest student in class and vaguely annoyed with the schoolyard squabbles that were so important last year.
He would make a wonderful companion for someone with a big heart, a big(ish) house and a sturdy pair of leather gloves.