badness, goodness, life, manfolk

Get Shorty

he looked a little bit like this, pretty disoriented

On my walk to work today, I saw what looked like a plastic bag in the street.  Then I realized the part in the air was a tail.  It was a light gray kitten, and his head was resting in a small pool of blood.  I thought, “How sad,” and kept walking.  Then I heard it meow.  Not a normal meow, but a loud, kinda of skreeching-howling meow.  I thought, “O god,” and kept walking, trying to figure out what to do.  I would be late to work if I helped it.  I had to go to work, right?  It was probably next to death and would die soon anyway, right?  Its injuries were probably severe, so it would die any second, so I should just go to work, right?

I couldn’t say what stopped me.  I just realized it wasn’t in line with my priorities to let a kitten die in the street when I hadn’t even checked to see if it was save-able.  I turned around and walked back, searching on my phone for emergency veterinarians in the area.  I knelt down to have a look at the kitten, which was still breathing, and struggle to open its eyes to look at me.  The only damage I could see was to the part of its face that was on the ground.  The rest of him looked ok.  Fine, I thought, I’ll try to get him some help.  I stood up next to the kitten as some cars approached to make sure he didn’t get hit.  A mail drop-off at the base of my parking structure was open, so I walked over and asked around for a cardboard box.  The guy who found me one said, “Is it for that cat?  Is it still alive?”  I nodded.  [it only just now occurs to me that he may have hit it]  He came out with me and held my Kindle while I scooped up the kitten as gently as I could and placed him in the box.  I wiped some blood off my hand onto the box and thanked the man as I stood to leave.  He called me back as I walked away and told me that there was an animal hospital not far from us.  I booked it to the car and drove east.

The place I found wasn’t a vet, but was definitely cat friendly (there were young cats playing, sleeping, sitting all over the place.  One slept on a pile of mail in an in-box, another dozed on a computer tower).  She printed out an address for an animal rescue that could help.  I sped west, keeping an eye on the kitten to make sure I could still see it breathing.  Once I found the place, a blonde woman waiting for service inside took one look at the box and knew it meant trouble.  I told her the details, and she thanked me for being a good person.  “Hey,” she said to the woman behind the counter.  “We’ve got a trauma case here.”  They said they weren’t taking trauma cases right now, and that I should go to the shelter a few blocks away.  The blonde woman next to me wasn’t taking no for an answer.  “Is the doctor in?  Yeah, we need to see her.  We can’t leave this kitten like this.”

Turns out her name is Mary K, and she owns a shelter in Las Vegas called All the Same Wild and Tame.  She drives to LA once per week to pick up animals that would otherwise be euthanized.  Her “bestest friend” was also there.  She gave me some pamphlets and info on their organization once I was done crying.  She took charge of the situation, and for that, I was very grateful.  I called work to let them know I’d be late.

looks accurate

We went back with the nurse (doctor?) to get the kitten checked out.  She had a look at him, wiped some of the blood off his face, pulled his eyelids open one at a time, and had a look inside his mouth.  Then she picked him up and felt along his body and legs to see if anything else was damaged.  He tried to run away, but they wrapped him back up in the towel Mary K had brought in from her truck for me.  She left to check on getting me an estimate, and a few minutes later, another nurse (doctor?) came in to let me know that they wanted to do x-rays to see if there was damage to the bones in his face in particular, and to put him on fluids and antibiotics, and keep him over for a couple of days.  Total: $200.  I said yes to everything.

I went outside and paid.  Mary K gave me a hug and thanked me for being a good person again (at which point I almost cried again), and I drove to work.  My coworkers wanted to know how the kitten was, and how I was.  I gave the shelter a call a couple hours ago; they said the kitten’s x-rays were clear, and that he was fine.  They’re still going to keep him for a couple of days, just to make sure he’s ok.

Now I just need to figure out how to convince Boyfriend to let me keep him (if I move in with him, STILL WAITING TO HEAR BACK ABOUT THAT PART OF MY FUTURE, GAH).  I already told him all about it when he called me about an hour ago.  He could not stop laughing and saying, “Adorable.”  I don’t think he thought I was serious about keeping the kitten.  But I think I’d like to.  I think I’d really like to.  And kinda not.  I don’t know.  Pretty torn.  He’s so cute.  They needed a name when I paid the bill.  I wrote down “Shorty.”  The nurse said he probably wasn’t gray, but white and filthy.  A white cat named Shorty.  Pretty cute.

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badness, life, work

No warrior, no war

It’s about a half-mile walk from my office at Office Job to my car at a parking structure a couple of blocks away.  Typically when I walk through any parking lot, I make it a point to keep my eyes up, and stop fussing with my phone, or stick my head in my purse, or otherwise distract myself from… whatever.

paranoid parrot knows what I'm talking about

I’ve come to realize that “whatever” really means imminent attack by some asshole who wants to steal my car/accost me, etc.  I’ve never been attacked by a sober person, so this would be a new experience for me.  Still, I can feel myself tense up a little when I step off the elevator to the third floor of the parking structure.  I’ve finally given in to reading The Hunger Games on my Kindle, but as the doors open, my eyes slip up from the screen, and I step forward, full of caution and confidence, ready for some hidden enemy to pounce.

There have been men working to replace all the lights in the structure every day this week, and yesterday was no exception.  As I walked away from them toward my car, I thought about how I could probably read my book right now instead of keeping an eye out since there are people around.

My mind goes to work.  I calculate how many times I would have to scream for them to realize what they’re hearing, and how long it would take them to arrive to help me.  At least one of them is overweight; he would never arrive in time, and probably wouldn’t be able to do anything useful, so I subtract him from the equation.  Then I calculate how likely these men would be to help a woman being attacked by a man a) with bare fists b) with a knife c) with a gun.  Anything worse than a pocket knife would probably scare them off.  On the other side of the equal sign I’m left with one not-overweight maintenance worker who wouldn’t jump in front of a knife to help me, which means I shouldn’t depend on him at all.  I decide I can probably trust them to ward off any attacker with merely their presence.  “I’m probably safe,” I think as I slip my Kindle in my bag and pull out my keys without breaking stride or dropping my gaze.   My eyes pan across the floor between cars for shadows and feet, then back across the windshields to see if anyone is lying in wait.  I’ve given myself permission to relax,  but I can’t stop preparing for… whatever.

Whenever I teach a women’s self-defense class, I try to calm them down: I say something like, “I just want to point out, and I don’t mean to sound callous or hurt anyone’s feelings, but you are not a special snowflake.  You will probably never get attacked.  I hate to break it to you, but you’re just not that special.  Relax.  You’re here to learn something potentially useful, not to safeguard against the inevitable.”

Where did this hyper-cautious impulse come from?  Did my training make me crave an attack so I can test my skills?  I could’ve sworn I had grown out of that phase.  Or do I worry about an attack because I know all the ways a person can cause injury to another with their bare hands?  Did the two fights I’ve been in make me like this?  They turned out well, what am I worrying about?  I’m no warrior, and there is no war going on.  Why am I like this?  What am I doing?  It feels like such a huge waste of time to be this tense every day… then again, if the alternative is getting blindsided by some asshole in a ski mask, I’d rather miss twenty seconds of whatever novel I’m reading to make it to the car sans violent encounter.

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