Tag Archives: childhood

The Dysfunctional Diners

18 May

Sometimes at work, I like to wait on dysfunctional families. And when I say “I like to wait on dysfunctional families” what I mean is “I really hate waiting on dysfunctional families in most circumstances, but when it is literally SO SLOW that I’m lucky to make 35 dollars, I like waiting on dysfunctional families because it gives me a source of entertainment.” Yesterday was one such day.

Outside of the bar area of the steakhouse, there is this little antique phone hanging on the wall above two chairs and a small cocktail table. Most people walk by the phone and don’t even acknowledge its existence. Sometimes people will say “Oh what a cute little phone!” and that’s the end of it. And then sometimes, but ONLY sometimes, will a family of four walk into the bar, only to have the younger of the two sons break away and say, “LOOK AT THAT PHONE MOM! ITS ANCIENT!” and the mom will screech and get out her iPad to take a photo of the kid climbing onto the chairs and putting his shoes on the table just to reach the phone, yank it off of the wall, and take a picture.

Already I knew… this was it. This family was going to be my source of entertainment for the night.

Now in order to fully let you understand what I was dealing with, I need to describe these people.

Over-Worked Father: Dressed in an Ohio State T-shirt with a receding hairline and a forehead that looked like it was made of turtle skin. (Tight, yet very wrinkly and malleable.) He looked like he had been forced to listen to the My Little Pony theme song (the 80’s version, not today’s version) on repeat for six years prior to entering this upscale steakhouse. He looked angry. He looked aggressive. He looked defeated.
Enabling Mother: Wearing a t-shirt covered by what I could only imagine was a jacket made from llama shavings. She had puffy blonde hair, but her inch-and-a-half roots were black and growing out. She was not excited to be in the steakhouse. She reminded me of the mom on American Beauty…. smiling, trying desperately to keep everyone together when everyone would much rather be three states apart in each direction. Seeing her smile actually made me sad.
Satan: Satan is the older of the two brothers. Wearing swim trunks and a gray t shirt, Satan literally did not smile ONCE in the two hours he was seated at this steakhouse. Literally, Not. Once.
Sid: I have named the younger of the brothers Sid because he literally was Sid from Toy Story.

Sid-toy-story

Literally. This face. That voice.

So after Sid climbs onto the cocktail table to violently claim the antique phone, and after Enabling Mother takes the picture, the four of them sit down at a table. Already I can hear the muffled anger coming from their direction. Satan throwing his arms into the air and violently sighing, pushing so much air out of his lungs that Enabling Mother’s fluffy hair actually billows a bit from sitting across from him.

My coworker Lucas looks at the table, then looks at me.

Lucas: Have fun.
Me: Jesus take the wheel.

I grab four beverage napkins, and approach the table. I start to give myself a pep talk… I am smiling! I am happy! Maybe I can help this family stop fighting and make their meal really awesome, so they’ll leave happier than when they came in! I am an amazing employee and I can do this! There is a reason our company calls their employees “Stars!” AND I AM THAT REASON!!!

I inhale to greet them, and-
Enabling Mother: Will you two just SIT DOWN?
Satan: (Speak-yelling at Over-Worked Father in such a disrespectful tone I was surprised that no one physically assaulted him) YOU TOLD ME I COULDN’T BRING MY HEADPHONES TO DINNER AND NOW HE HAS HIS! (motions to Sid)
Sid: (Headphones in, playing a game on his smartphone that is larger and more high tech than my own phone. He is 8. He is not only completely unaware of this conversation, but also of me standing there beside him, beaming.)
Over-Worked Father: What were you going to use them for, anyway? Hm?
Satan: I ALREADY TOLD YOU. I was gonna watch YOUTUBE VIDEOS.
Over-Worked Father: And you? (looks at Sid) Hey!
Sid:
Over-Worked Father: HEY!
Sid:
Over-Worked Father: (gestures) SID!
Sid: (Looks up only because Over-Worked Father waved his arms)
Over-Worked Father: SID WHAT ARE YOU USING THE HEADPHONES FOR!?
Sid: (Takes out one, ONE, of the ear buds. He sighs.) I’m playing a game. DOY!
(Heightened silence while Over-Worked Father seems to be deciding which sound he hates more. Game VS YouTube. Finally he looks at Sid with eyebrows raised.)
Over-Worked Father: Sid? (As if to say… C’mon, Give your brother the headphones.)
Sid: (Already has the earbud back in and is playing his game. He is unaware of everything.)

Keep in mind I am STILL standing at the table, smiling, just watching all of this. Beaming. Smiling like this is the sweetest conversation I have ever heard in my entire life, as if this earbud saga is the most heartwarming tale of selfless love to ever touch my little cocktail waitress heart.

Enabling Mother: (Looks up at me with a huge smile.) Well… We aren’t spoiled, ARE WE? Ha ha ha HAHA! …Ha… um.

Silence. I am still standing there smiling, waiting to see if there will be ay other protests or interruptions before I speak. There are none.

Me: SO! How IS everyone today? Just wonderful? Fantastic! My name is Carolyn and I’ll be serving you today!
Family: Blank stares from everyone except for Sid, who is playing his game and not looking at anyone. Satan is giving me a look of pure evil and hatred.
Satan: FINE! Well I’M JUST GOING TO WATCH YOUTUBE AND YOU ARE JUST GOING TO HAVE TO LISTEN TO IT!!!!!!!
Enabling mother puts her hands over her eyes. Over-Worked Father stares at a crumb on the floor.
Me: GREAT! May I start you all off with something to drink? Maybe some beer? (I shoot this at Over-Worked Father. He looks at me like I am his only key to salvation.)
Over-Worked Father: I’ll take a Sam Adams.
Enabling Mother: I need wine. A nice, dry red wine.
Me: But of course. And for you sir? (Talking to Satan)
Satan still has his arms crossed and is giving me the look of poison.
Me: MAYBE A KIDDIE COCKTAIL!!!
Satan: (Jaw drops to reveal uneven bottom teeth.)
Enabling Mother: Just a round of waters for them.
Me: Of course! I’ll be right back!

I can’t handle this. I can’t do it. I have never wanted to punch a child so much in my entire life. If I go back over to that table and Satan is still giving me that look, I will be FORCED to asked if there is ANYTHING I can do to make his dining experience more to his liking… I will ask him why he is so angry, and I WILL do it with a smile, and I WILL do everything in my power to make him stop looking like such a miserable little garbage can.

I deliver the waters, making sure to smile at Satan the entire time.
Me: So, does anyone have any questions about the menu?
Silence. Dead, still, silence. For a moment I wonder if I’m invisible. I wonder if I actually asked the question out loud, or if I just thought I did… Maybe I’M the awkward one here, just showing up to their table not saying anything at all…
Over-Worked Father: (To Satan) NO, actually I am POSITIVE that a potato is a vegetable.
Satan: NO IT ISN’T. A POTATO IS NOT A VEGETABLE.
Over-Worked Father: Yes. It is.
Satan: NO. It ISN’T.
Enabling Mother: It’s a starch.
Satan: SEE DAD? SEE DAD I TOLD YOU A POTATO IS NOT A VEGETABLE.
(Over-Worked Father looks at his wife as if she is literally the dumbest person in the world. In just one look, I can tell that he is so disgusted at how his life has played out- that he has actually CHOSEN this woman to be his life partner, that he CHOSE to procreate with her above literally EVERYONE ELSE in the whole world, that his next words erupt from his mouth with such resentment and hatred I’m afraid the next topic of conversation will be custody rights. Custody Rights where both parents fight about who HAS to keep them.)
Over-Worked Father: Just because it is a starch doesn’t mean it isn’t a vegetable.
Me: (Beaming!)
Enabling Mother: Whatever. Either way, you need to eat healthier.
Over-Worked Father: I am on vacation, I will eat however I please.
Enabling Mother: (Finishing a gulp of wine) Oh, you’re on vacation? You’re at a work function. Please.

I actually witness Over-Worked Father picking and choosing his battles. He looks at the menu. And I am still standing there, waiting for someone to answer my question.

Over-Worked Father: Satan? What do you want to eat?
Satan: I already TOLD YOU, I want WINGS.
Over-Worked Father: (Death stare. I suddenly realize where Satan has learned his facial expressions.) They don’t have those here. Get the kids fillet. It’ll be the best thing you ever eat.
Satan: I don’t WANT IT.
Enabling Mother: Okay, you know what? They don’t have wings! Okay, fine, nothing. He will have nothing. I am going to have the french onion soup and the wedge salad.
Me: Very good!
Enabling Mother: Sid?
Sid: (Playing his game)
Me: (Beaming at Sid)
Enabling Mother: (Punches him on the arm.) HEY! Mac n’ cheese?
Sid: (Barely responds. I think I may have heard him say “Mm.”)
Enabling Mother: Mac N’ Cheese for him.
Over-Worked Father: I am going to have the Salmon. GOD I’m at a steakhouse and I’m getting SALMON.
Me: Actually our salmon is phenomenal. You won’t be disappointed.
Enabling Mother: (Ignoring me) Make sure you ask for the lentils on the side. I won’t eat those.
Over-Worked Father: Whatever, they’re big. I’ll move them away, it’s not a big deal.
Me: (Thinking “Our lentils are actually tiny, but I’m not going to say that for fear of getting stabbed.”)
Enabling Mother: (suddenly sweeter than ever) Satan? Honey, are you’re sure you don’t want anything?
Satan: (Stares at her. Pouting. Mutters-) …Ids Illay.
Enabling Mother: What was that!?
Satan: (Yelling) KIDS FILLET.
Me: (Looking directly at Satan himself) And how would you like that prepared, young sir?!?!
Satan: (Pure evil. Poison is leaking from his eyes.)
Enabling Mother: Medium well.
Me: Fantastic! I’ll get that right in for you, and I’ll also bring some fresh bread and butter for the table.
SID: YUUUUUUMMMMMMM!!!!!
Me: (Wanting desperately to say “Wait- you can hear me! You can SEE me!?” I walk away.)

When I bring the bread to the table, Sid hulks out. He RIPS the earbuds out of his head and lunges for the bread, as if he hasn’t eaten in six weeks. With every inhale it sounds like he’s slurping something- which is quite a miraculous feat because he is ingesting BREAD, and with every exhale there is an audible vocalization of “Mmmm.” It’s a rather disturbing cycle, but no one addresses it. Meanwhile, Satan is sitting in his chair like a frog. The bottoms of his shoes are actually on the seat of the chair, and any time he wants to drink his water, he literally springs up, puts his hands on the table, and bends over to put his mouth on the straw… instead of just picking up the glass and bringing it to his mouth like any other normal person on the planet. No one addresses this either.

When their food finally does come, I watch intently to see what happens. I watch to see if Satan does, indeed, like his KIDS FILLET. He does. Obviously, you’re gonna like the kids fillet, you ungrateful, unwanted, rat-faced collection of disappointments and broken dreams. You’re at one of the best steakhouses in Orlando and you’re eating a 5 oz fillet! And even if it IS prepared medium well, thanks to your insane to the membrane mother, it’s going to be the best thing you eat all week.

So, that’s basically the end of the story. Once the food came everyone kind of shut up and ate, and the only thing that was semi-amusing about them at this point was when Sid grabbed the black dish that held their side item, and screamed, in the EXACT voice of Sid from Toy Story, “IS THIS MADE OUT OF IRON????” Over-Worked Father tipped 20 percent and they all decided to GTFO. I think he was appreciative that I didn’t announce that we had dessert options… instead, I discreetly handed him the dessert menu out of view of his spawn and said, quietly, “In case you’re interested…”

It’s sad, but I’ve come to realize the importance of alcohol mixed with some good food when it comes to dysfunctional families. Usually by the end of the meal I can have people laughing and actually interacting with each other without arguing anymore. And yet, with this family, I was just happy that no one got slapped… by me. I hope the rest of their business trip/vacation(???) fared better than that atrocious meal, but I won’t hold my breath. I bet Sid is still sitting somewhere right now playing his game and slurp-breathing, and Satan is watching YouTube with that disgusted look on his face, Enabling Mother is looking through a magazine at the body and life she’ll never have, and Over-Worked Father is answering emails and wondering where his life went wrong. It’s really sad to think about these families like this once they’re gone, so I try not to. I just bring them their check, and hope for the best. I have to pay my bills, you know.

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7 Reasons Why I’ll Never Trust A Man Who Doesn’t Like Star Wars

25 Mar

1. If you don’t like Star Wars, I just don’t think your opinions matter anymore.

I’m just going to start with the most obvious question when dealing with a man who doesn’t like Star Wars: HOW CAN YOU NOT LIKE STAR WARS? I can understand not liking the earlier Episodes. I can understand making fun of Attack of The Clones for the atrocious writing and ridiculous acting. But what I literally cannot fathom is your complete aversion to the entire concept of Star Wars. If there is anything worse than someone who has never seen the movies and says, “I don’t know… I just don’t like Star Wars…” it’s someone who HAS seen the movies, and says, “I don’t know… I just don’t like Star Wars.” Like… What is there not to like? Do you understand that it is one of the most epic stories ever told?!? People actually have mental powers that make things fly. Around. They use these mental powers to defeat their enemies. Yoda, a tiny green… creature man thing, makes boulders FLY through the air, LIFTS giant pillars of GRANITE or SOME OTHER UNKNOWN HEAVY-LOOKING SUBSTANCE with his MIND, in order to save his comrades. HOW CAN YOU NOT WANT TO WATCH THIS?!?!?

So, forgive me if I just don’t think your opinions on the current economic state of affairs in the United States matter anymore. I really don’t care how many degrees you have, in however many different areas of study. If you don’t like Star Wars, your opinions are null and void. End of discussion. You will never unclasp my bra. Sarry.

2. Light Sabers > Basically Everything.

Let’s be honest. If someone lined up a bunch of ridiculous weapons/items on a table and told you to “Choose wisely,” which would you pick?

1. A pirate sword.
2. A sniper rifle.
3. A wand from Harry Potter.
4. Gandalf’s staff.
5. A dire wolf.
6. A LIGHT SABER.

If your answer is anything other than number six, I don’t think I can look at you in a romantic light. I’m sorry. But I can’t.

I mean it may be hard for some of you to choose between a wand and a light saber. And I get that. I mean I really, truly do. But there is something just… so satisfying about literally slicing someone in HALF with a concentrated beam of light and watching their two severed halves plummet down into a dark, dank abyss like two discarded twirling hot dog ends being tossed unceremoniously into a bon fire, that a good old Avada Kedevra curse can’t do. I mean AM I RIGHT?

You’re just lucky I didn’t put “dragon” on that list… Because then we’d be here all night in a heated debate that even I don’t know which side I’d want to win. And we’d all feel very confused. And ultimately heartbroken, because dragons AND light sabers technically don’t exist. So you’re welcome.

3. But like… What was your childhood?

I have one question for the (arguably) straight man who doesn’t like Star Wars: If you weren’t watching Star Wars as a child… what were you watching? Do I even want to know? What could POSSIBLY be cooler to a 5 year old boy than Star Wars? The Ninja Turtles?! Okay, the turtles were sort of cool. I’ll give em that. But when you just take a minute to really look at it and compare the two sides…

Ninja Turtles:
A few teenage boys get exposed to some kind of toxic whatever that makes them turn into turtles who fight crime by being ninjas…

Star Wars:
Intergalactic WAR being raged, space ships, THE FORCE, light sabers, awesome creatures, intense languages, exposure to different planets, Natalie Portman, guns that shoot lasers, ridiculous fight sequences, Darth Vader, and bounty hunters. And don’t make me play the “Slave Leia” card, either.

I mean I’ve never been a 5 year old boy, but I can imagine that when asked “What’s cooler, some turtles that fight crime, or a bunch of Jedi Knights kicking ass and taking names all in the name of The Force?” I’d probably pick the latter. And I’d expect my Mr. Right to pick the latter, as well.

Also- tangent- but… If you didn’t watch Star Wars as a child, I’m immediately judging your upbringing, which makes me wonder how that has affected you now as an adult, aaaannnddd how you’re going to, in turn, raise your own children. I’m all for embracing our own personal emotional baggage, and letting our significant others “in” so that they can help us overcome our pasts that ultimately led us to become the people we are today… But dude. There’s a difference between “emotional baggage” and “I was abused as a child because my parents wouldn’t let me watch Star Wars.” And ain’t nobody got time for that.

4. If you don’t think Star Wars is cool, I don’t see how you can call yourself “straight.”

Look, I don’t want to spend a lot of time on this one. Okay? If you’re a straight guy and you don’t like Star Wars (pfff… yeah RIGHT…) then good for you. I’m a straight woman and I don’t really like…I don’t know… pedicures? They kind of freak me out, I don’t know. BUT the point is, I know there are exceptions to every rule. I’m just saying that my Mr. Right will know the difference between The Death Star and the Millennium Falcon. That’s ALL I’m saying.

5. There’s even a How I Met Your Mother Episode Dedicated to Star Wars. So… HOW CAN YOU NOT LIKE STAR WARS?

Look, Star Wars is Ted Mosby’s favorite movie of all time. It’s incredibly important for him to find a woman who likes Star Wars as well. And I understand that! I understand Ted’s undeniable NEED to find a girl who can appreciate the adorable “threat” of an angry little mob of Ewoks. I, too, search for that in a partner.

And, I’m just going to say this now, and I’m only going to say this once: If you don’t know who Ted Mosby is… please stop what you’re doing right now. Stop reading this blog, stop everything. Get up, go into your kitchen. Grab the nearest frying pan, and just, beat yourself over the head with it. Repetitively. Then do me the honor of never reading this blog again.

6.) If you can’t do a horrible impression of Chewbacca when you’re drunk, I probably won’t trust you with our finances. 

1326155072-chewbacca-7

Look guys. Chewbacca is annoying. I’ll be the first to openly admit it. He’s a giant Sasquatch looking thing that can’t really talk at all. He’s just kind of there. But you know what?  He’s loyal. He fuzzy. He’s kind of cute in his own huge hairy man sort of way. And he makes one of the most recognizable sounds in the history of all of cinema. If you’ve never even attempted to recreate his battle cry seven beers in, I just can’t see myself looking at you seriously. If I can’t count on you to do horrible impressions of Chewy, I just don’t think I can trust you with more important stuff. Like our finances. The father of my children will be able to make Chewy’s battle cry. And if he can’t? He will certainly be able to after seven beers.

I just, really don’t think that’s too much to ask.

7.) Star Wars To A Man Should Be Like Catnip to Cats: Crack.

If I walk in the door from a long day of work and I say, “Hey honey, you know how much I was really looking forward to watching that special on modern feminism that I T-Vo’ed last week? Well… do you mind if we watch some Star Wars instead?” I expect him to get down on one knee and propose to me, if he hasn’t already done so. And if he has, I expect him to propose again. If I have dinner ready for my man when he walks in the door, and hold up “A New Hope,” he better jump all over that like a dog on a meat wagon. And if he doesn’t? #byebye

 

I told you not to make me do it...

I told you not to make me do it…

Obsessasaurus: My journey through dinosaur addiction.

11 Sep

So, a few days ago it was my birthday. I recieved the usual 158 facebook notifications, alerting me that 158 people read the margins of FB and took the time to type 13 letter wishes of happiness: “Happy Birthday!” My favorite messages to recieve are the personalized messages. For example: “Hi Carolyn! Remember that one time you and I had that one class together, and you said that one thing and I ROFL’ed for like a whole minute?!? Oh yeah it’s your B day happy bday 22 is SOOOO old, you’re old now HAHAHA J/K… no but really.”

As I laughed and read through my FB messages, I realized that a good number of the hundred-and-some comments included references to dinosaurs. For example, “Happy birthday, you T REX!”  “I got We’re Back: A Dinosaur Story and thought of you. Happy Birthday!” “RAPTOR TURNS 22!!!” “Happy birthday! Hope it’s a good one! Bruhathkayosaurus!” Okay, so that last one wasn’t real, but… you get the idea. It got me thinking: Do I make my love for dinosaurs so well known? Really? I was receiving these dino-themed messages from acquaintances as well as close friends. Surely, my secret obsession is not so obvious?

Well, I started wondering why I love dinosaurs so much. Where did this obsession start? Why dinosaurs? Why not… unicorns? Soccer? Why not Joseph Gordon-Levitt, or blenders? The first memory I have of enjoying dinosaurs is when I lived in Houston. I remember my father leaving to go rent movies, and asking us what we wanted. My sister Caitlyn said she wanted Fivel Goes West. (She liked the little girl mouse Tanya and could usually be heard singing “Run for your LIIIIFE, you’re IIN a mouse TRRRAAAPPP!” in the bathtub.) I, on the other hand, called out, “THE LAND BEFORE TIME!” I vividly remember sitting on the floor, watching the animated bubbles rise to the top of the screen during the opening credits. And then, watching open-mouthed while Littlefoot’s egg is stolen from his mother’s nest, tossed into a river, and is finally reunited with his family, but only after falling down a waterfall. I remember thinking, “It would have cracked!” or “He would have been too cold in the water and he would have died!” It was hard to pull a fast one past me when it came to dinosaurs. I was a very skeptical five year old.

My next dinosaur memory is a very special Christmas morning. My sister woke me and dragged me downstairs, screeching about a stick horse. Sure enough, my mother had crafted a beautiful pink stick horse that was fit for a pink sparkly fairy princess. I, however, received a fierce triceratops head on a stick, perfectly green and decked out with a horn you could press for instant RAWR gratification. I guess my mom didn’t feel like making two stick horses, and figured I’d enjoy a triceratops that she could buy instead of make herself. She figured right. Caitlyn told me I was the bad guy and had to chase her around the house. I obliged. I can’t even imagine how annoying that RAWR noise became within the next… 20 years.

Moving onto the next dino memory- Standing in line to go out to recess in Colorado, I remember seeing a poster on my kindergarten classroom’s wall that looked something like this:

One dino, drawn to scale.

Now, keep in mind- at this point, dinosaurs were, in my mind, cute scaley things on the TV and in my toy box. Now, I suddenly realized how extraordinary and complex these beings had to be. A Brontosaurus was larger than my entire house. Their legs were the size of tree trunks. This BAFFLED me. How could these HUGE creatures rule the world, and then just… disappear? I had to learn more. I started to look for dinosaur books in the library ever Friday. I would beg my father to turn on the Discovery channel when dinosaur shows were on.

I can’t remember much else. From then on, my love just sort of manifested itself in other ways. In middle school, I realized I should be obsessed with more girly things, and decided to hide my love for dinosaurs. Yet, it still managed to come out in little bursts. When prompted to pick a prize from the good attendance box, I’d pick out the pencils with dinosaurs on them, instead of butterflies. I kept a sketch book and secretly drew pictures of dragons and little creatures. As I got older, I started to accept that I was a weirdo. I learned how to impersonate a raptor and did it to make my friends laugh. One time I did it across Time’s Square, and it was kind of funny. I would upload it here, but then I’d have to buy something called “VideoPress”  which costs 59.99. I’m a poor college student, and I don’t have 60 extra dollars to show you a video of me acting like a raptor in New York. You can check out my facebook for the video, because that’s free for both of us! SCORE-O-SAURUS!

I just watched The Land Before Time last night. I’ve been stressing out about auditions and school and everything, so I went to WalMart and got a “family entertainment package!” which included, ironically, An American Tail (Oh yeah), Balto (OH yeah!), and The Land Before Time (COMPLETE AND TOTAL VICTORY! OH YEAH!!!! …Best $13.00 I’ve ever spent. Literally.) I forgot how beautiful old animated movies are! They used to have en entire orchestra record the score for the movies, the backgrounds are literally paintings done by hand, and the expressions of the characters are so genuine, it’s hard not to tear up on the sentimental parts. I was amazed at the time the writers dedicated to showing Littlefoot’s depression after his mother dies. As a child, I just understood the concept: Littlefoot is sad. But the writers actually portrayed depression in a delicately accurate way. Littlefoot doesn’t eat, sleep, or move. All he thinks about is his mother. There is a 4 minute montage of him not responding to anything or anyone, simply wandering around the dessert. He even says, “It’s all her fault! She should have known better! ….my tummy hurts.” After dealing with death numerous times in my short 22 years of life, I got to see Littlefoot’s journey in a whole new way. I’m ashamed to say that I cried here-and-there throughout the whole thing because I was so happy to be watching it again. Note to self: When feeling sad, or lonely, or when you miss your mother, watch The Land Before Time.

Why I Deserve To Own a Cat More Than a Four-Year-Old.

18 Aug

Upon finding a litter of abandoned kittens, a person can do one of two things: Take as many as you can handle in your current living situation and save their fluffy innocent little lives, or look the other way and pretend like they never happened.

Not everyone should own a pet. I understand this more than anyone, especially after hearing the owner of the camp site say, “Yep. After this week, they’ll be gone if no one takes em’. Gotta get rid of these damn cats!” Times like these, I find that I have to ask a few questions: 1. What, exactly, do you, kind sir, mean by “gone”? and 2.) Do you, by chance, have a soul?

A pair of big green eyes surrounded by orange and white fluff was all it took. My heart became a ball of mush, and the ball of fluff became “Oxford.”

My mother, who disapproves of my newest addition (and, I’ll add, with good and well thought out I’m-older-than-you-and-have-thought-this-through-WAY-more-than-you-have-and-think-it’s-a-TERRIBLE-idea reason), may not approve of a kitten, but I am without a doubt positive that my mother has a soul. A very kind soul, at that. A cat owner for most of her own life, she responsibly brought to my attention the things I hadn’t thought about: “What if we go on vacation!? WHERE is that cat going to go!? ” Mom-1. Carolyn-0. Touche, Mom. Touche. So how do I know my mother still has a good soul? About fifteen minutes after threatening to stop paying my rent, she asked for a picture of the little guy. Mom- 2. Carolyn-1.

Oxford and his two sisters were living under a flight of stairs leading up to a community cabin. This was a high traffic area, one which could usually be seen crowded with children under the age of seven. Now, I’m usually a good judge of character when it comes to animal ownership, I’ll admit. But I’ll also be the first person to admit when I’m wrong about something. However, there is one thing I KNOW I am not wrong about, and it is this: I deserve to own a cat more than a four year old does.

Picture this scene: Two very small boys, one in a black T-Shirt with gravel literally plastered to his face, and the other- the worst of them all- a demon child disguised as a tiny adorable boy dressed in a yellow T-Shirt with a bright green long-neck dinosaur on the front- both petting the kittens. I enter the scene.

Me: Hey guys! Like the kitties?

Boy 1: (Holding Oxford by the neck) He’s owah fav-wit.

Me: He’s my favorite too!

DEMON CHILD: You can’t have him.

Again, I have to ask a few questions. 1. Did I ask to hold him? 2. Who are you, and why do you have a dinosaur on your shirt? 3. Where are your parents, and do they have souls? Because if they do, I doubt they’d be letting you hold this tiny kitten by the NECK, unaccompanied by someone over the age of five. I tried a different approach.

Me: I see you have a dinosaur on your shirt. I love dinosaurs. Do you?

DEMON CHILD: Kind of.

Me: (Thinking) How can you “kind of love” dinosaurs?

I should have known then…

Me: Do you know what kind of a dinosaur that is?

DEMON CHILD:

Me: It’s a brontosaurus. See his long neck?

Boy 1: (Still holding Oxford in an inappropriate way) This one’s owah fav-wit.

DEMON CHILD: (Grabbing Oxford’s tail and pulling. Hard.) LET ME HOLD IT!

Boy 1: NO!

Oxford: RAIIIIR!

Me: No no, guys, you’re hurting him! Don’t pull him. Here, look. (I take Oxford away from Boy 1. Boy 1 looks thoroughly displeased with me, and his current situation.) See? You have to hold him under his legs, like this, so he doesn’t get hurt. He’s still a baby, and you have to be gentle.

At this point, I felt like I was making genuine progress. Both young boys were now looking at the cat, and at the way I was holding him, and the message seemed to be sinking in: You can’t hold a kitten by the neck; you have to hold him by his body. Good. And although the boys didn’t seem to like me very much, I had managed to make a mutual connection through our shared love of dinosaurs. All was going well. I figured I should continue making conversation with the boys, and said the first thing that came to my mind:

Me: Hey guys, guess what? I get to take this kitty home with me today!

At once, both boys’ faces went blank. Immediately I realized I had made a terrible mistake.

Boy 1: You’re taking him home?

Me: Yeah…

Boy 1: With you?

Me: … yep.

Boy 1:

DEMON CHILD:

Boy 1:

DEMON CHILD: No.

Now, you may think this sounds cute: Two little boys, completely in love with the new kitten, have become slightly territorial, and are worried about the kitten’s well being. WRONG. They were not even thinking of the kitten’s well being- they were thinking of their own selfish desires. I tried a new approach.

Me: Well, you see, the person who owns this land said that at the end of the week, the kitties were being sent away to a bad place. So, I’m taking this one so he’ll have a good home!

DEMON CHILD: But he’s my favorite one.

Me: (trying to salvage this conversation) Well, he’s my favorite too.

At this point, Boy 1 decided to take matters into his own dirty little hands. He reached for Oxford. I gently re-situated the kitty as to avoid his advances.

Boy 1: (pointing a dirty finger the size and shade of a molding tootsie roll) Why don’t you take one of the gray ones?

Me:

…Well played, Boy 1.

What I wanted to say: Because those two cats are the mangiest most unhealthy looking things ever, and if I’m saving a life here today, I want that life to be as problem-free as it can be. Maybe that’s selfish, but it’s the truth.

What I actually said: Because those are girls, and I wanted a boy.

Carolyn-1. Boys- 0.

Both boys looked completely beaten. Then! An idea….

Boy 1: Why don’t you take the big one? It’s a boy.

What I wanted to say: You think that load of crap is going to work on me, kid? I may look like just some stupid older girl, but even I know that the bigger one is the MOTHER, and she’s mangier than all three kittens combined. Nice try, four year old. Nice try.

What I actually said: That one’s the mommy, silly! She’s a girl.

Carolyn- 2. Boys- Zip. I was on a roll.

I guess DEMON CHILD had had enough, so he literally pushed my hands away from Oxford, and grabbed him.  By the neck.

Me: No, no, don’t hurt-

DEMON CHILD: You can’t take him with you! He’s my favorite, and he hassta stay here with me.

Oxford: Meeeeew….

Boy 1: Let me hold him now please.

DEMON CHILD: NO HE’S MINE!

In that moment, something inside of me cracked. I didn’t care how adorable this kid looked in his brontosaurus T-shirt. I didn’t care how close his parents were to seeing this exchange. And I certainly didn’t care for his “affection” toward Oxford.

What I wanted (and should have) said: (Leaning down close, saying in a honey-sweet whisper…) Hey kid. You know what? I think you’re holding the cat by his neck again. Do you want to know how that feels? Why don’t I just hold YOU by the neck? Hmm? Would you like to see how comfortable that feels? And you know what else? I’m taking this kitten home with me, whether you like it or not. And do you want to know why I should take this kitty home, and not you? Here are the first few reasons, and granted, these are just the first few that have just… popped into my head… Are you ready, kids? Okay, here we go… Number one: I’m older than you. By a lot. Number two: Although my mommy won’t like that I have a kitten, she’s not here right now. You get me? Number three: I have my own apartment. Number four: I’m old enough to know how to litter train a cat. Number Five: I know how to HOLD A KITTEN PROPERLY. Number six: I already have a name picked out, and it’s a lot better than the crappy name you two ding bats picked out; “Butterscotch?” Really? For a ginger kitten? REALLY ORIGINAL, GUYS! Oh, number seven!? I have a driver’s license. I can also spell “License” without using spell check. AND! I also know what spell check is. Number eight: I have a job. Do you know what it’s like to be a waitress at Applebees? Oh, you don’t? Oh, here’s another reason! Number nine: I CAN ADD TWO NUMBERS TOGETHER. Do you understand what I’m saying to you??? I CAN DO MATH. I also know how to do my multiplication tables, all the way up to 12! Do you know what 12 X 4 is? HUH!? DO YOU!?!?!  12 X 4 is 48, kumquats!!! You’re also looking at a fourth grade spelling bee finalist. Number ten, and this one really is a doozie… (giggling) Last month? I rescued FIVE three-week-old kittens from starvation and abuse. I nursed them all back to health, and was brave and strong enough to give them ALL up to their forever homes. And I felt pretty good! Until they were all gone. (Scooping up Oxford properly.) You know, I think it’s sweet that you guys care so much about this kitty-cat, that you’d rather have him stay here for just a few more hours with you, so you can properly abuse him, and then tomorrow have that nice camp site owner man SHOOT HIM IN THE HEAD… rather than let him come home with me now and be treated like a prince for the rest of his nine lives. But you know what else I think is sweet? The fact that I’m going to take this kitten with me, right now, and there is absolutely nothing you two dirty-faced, snot nosed, DINOSAUR-LOVING- IMPOSTORS!!!!!!!!!!!! can do about it.

What I actually said: Well…. why don’t you put him back with his sisters. He’d like that. Then you two boys can go swimming again!

And wash the filth off of your faces, you maggots. 

After Oxford was back under the stairs, I decided it was my cue to leave. He was safe, and if I stayed any longer, the two boys might learn a few new choice vocabulary words. Finally, both boys ran down to the lake and continued to be genuine lagoon creatures. As they ran and splashed in the lake, completely forgetting about the kittens, I snuck into the kitchen and grabbed some left-over turkey. I circled back around, and as I heard one boy scream, “I’M GONNA GET YOU!” I handed the turkey to Oxford and his sisters. No, I thought fondly. No, you most certainly, are not.

Oxy's Ice Cream

Ice cream. A collar. Having a GOOD name. Things I could provide, and a four-year-old could not.