Oct 25, 2007

An affectionate heart

I. Rain, rain ...

I'd say "go away," but I think the ground over here could use it. That and the S. River appears to be flushing itself out - when I walked over the bridge yesterday, I saw a whole slew of flotsam, jetsam, and junk bobbing along out to sea. Good times.

Besides, with SoCal currently going up in flames, I will not knock rain. :/

II. I can't believe I'm getting paid to do this ...

Seriously - writing about operas? Going to operas? Looking at medieval chant and doing the sort of analysis that is old hat, thanks to Bible study? Gotta love it!

Gotta love it all, except ...

III. An affectionate heart

So I had the members of my class over for dinner yesterday. When we had finished up the salmon (mmm - the recipe worked, which is great, because I had neither teaspoon nor tablespoon measure and guesstimated all the spices), rice and asparagus, and were sitting around chatting, the kitten wandered by and hopped up into my lap. As is my tendency, I immediately started petting her. She snuggled up to one of her favorite places (her head on my shoulder, and then tucking itself beneath my chin), and went to sleep, purring.

Now, at that point, would you have put the kitty down on the floor?

Hm. I ask only because one of the guys there, from another country, remarked about how he didn't understand the American way of cooing over pets, and how he'd never seen anyone hold a cat that way. I good-naturedly asked if he could resist this adorable kitten; he agreed that she was cute, and we changed the subject - or I thought we did. Because then the kitten decided to roll over and loll backwards over my arm (she sometimes does that) and he said, again, how weird he thought it looked.

And then everyone at the table looked at me.

I immediately felt self-conscious, and put the kitten down, and threw a jingle ball for her to chase. Later on, when I was clearing the table, I asked my housemate whether she thought I fussed over the kitten too much. She smiled (she's nice) and said that I did tend to spoil her, and she could understand the guy's point of view, because "the PDA was a bit much."



OK. I will not pick up the cat to pet at the dinner table, in front of company, unless they're all vets, or something ...

... and I know sometimes I can be overly cuddly with pets ...

... but it's like this: I miss my cats at home - one especially was my particular friend all through high school. I have a picture of her sprawled across my AP Chem homework. I always fussed over her, because she would just sit on my lap and purr, regardless of how crappy a mood I was in, or how much I would grump at her.

There's this moment in Austen's "Persuasion," when the heroine, Anne, learns that a secondary character in the book, Captain Benwick, is going to marry another secondary character, Louisa. Some tsk over the relationship, since Benwick had been deeply in love with another woman who had died not a year ago. (Side note: throughout the book, I get the impression of Benwick as being a bit tone-deaf, socially; leaving aside his tendency to gush about poetry to complete strangers, he asks the brother of his dead fiancee to get his own (Benwick's) portrait in miniature (completed for the dead fiancee) "set" (i.e. framed) for the *new* fiancee. Not the best choice ...)

Anyway, after Anne learns about this, she muses: "She [Anne] was persuaded that any tolerably pleasing young woman who had listened and seemed to feel for him [Benwick], would have received the same compliment [his romantic attention]. He had an affectionate heart. He must love somebody."

So it goes.

The last hug I've had was from my dear friends, who visited from NYC over a month ago, for my birthday. (Thanks, guys!) ... And I can't really go about getting a hug from random strangers. So, if I want to cuddle a kitten, I will, with no reference to anyone so wholly unconnected with me - and *whenever* I please.


well, maybe not at the dinner table. :)


Laura said...

sending you a virtual hug!

and i totally understand about the hugging thing. no one hugs in france so by the time i had been there for 8 months and my dad came to visit, i couldn't stop hugging him.

enjoy the affection of the kitten. it's given freely and should be freely enjoyed.

Mary said...

I'm w/ Laura, both in sending the virtual hug and in agreeing that the affections of pets are freely given and should be freely enjoyed.

When I was in grad school my life was much the same, with dear Meli providing most of my tactile enjoyment of another being. Being in a new place without people to hug is hard. Enjoy your kitten.

And Meli just came over and put her head on my lap. I bent over and kissed it. So THERE, guy-from-other-country-where-they-don't-love-pets!