The cat’s meow

It’s all uphill from here?

Mack awakened, started up, stretched, staggered to the pool, washed his face with cupped hands, hacked, spat, washed out his mouth, broke wind, tightened his belt, scratched his legs, combed his wet hair with his fingers, drank from the jug, belched and sat down by the fire.

— John Steinbeck, “Cannery Row”

“Men all do about the same things when they wake up,” Steinbeck continued.

Maybe so. But my morning ritual departs from the norm in subtle ways.

There is no pool, jug, or fire by the bed; the nightstand holds a lamp and glass of water, and a sink is just a few steps away.

Once I’ve tumbled out of bed I snatch up bits of clothing at random and dress in the dark just to see what happens. This morning when I turned on the bathroom light I saw the pea-green T-shirt I’d selected complemented my fetching pallor. Thanks to an overlong winter that has spilled over into spring I looked like a scoop of pistachio ice cream with eyes.

It didn’t help that Miss Mia Sopaipilla had begun singing “Happy Birthday” to me around 2:30. I thought I was prepared, having gone to bed early, but nothing prepares you for a cat singing “Happy Birthday” at 2:30 in the morning. Especially when you know it’s not “Happy Birthday” she’s singing.

Who knows what makes a cat sing anything at 2:30 in the morning? Not me, because I refuse to get up and find out. I rolled myself up like a burrito in the blankets, put a pillow over my head, and stayed put until 5.

Shortly after I finally arose to serve Her Majesty I heard an ambulance, but I wasn’t in it.

At least I don’t think I was. But I’ve only had two cups of coffee so all bets are off.

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31 Responses to “The cat’s meow”

  1. Pat O’Brien Says:

    Once again, happy birthday! I was 69 when our little band rode the Santa Fe half century. That should give you some hope, since you take much better care of yourself then I do. I think Khal and Andy do as well. Me? I try to be good between doctor appointments, but rarely find the time.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Haw. I try to be good, except when I’m bad, which is all the time.

      Have I mentioned that the weather kept me off the bike all last week? I did four trail runs, but it’s just not the same.

  2. rfactorial Says:

    I’ll spare you the details of my morning rituals. However, the calendar dictates that I’d usually be singing “I Don’t Like Mondays” with the cats singing background. (The cats are the ones in tune.) In light of current events, that behavior seems especially distasteful today.
    Uh, Happy Birthday!

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      “Current events.” Yeech. I’d say “unbelievable,” but that has not been true for a very long time now.

      Out here we had a numbnuts packing an “AR-15-style” rifle — loaded with a couple dozen .223 rounds — walk into a theater that sells alcohol. Dude’s girlfriend and her kid were in there too. She said he had stepped out for a bit of “yay” (cocaine) and “drank” (booze). So he was loaded in more ways than one.

      The staff disarmed him and nobody got killed. That’s a rare happy ending.

  3. SAO’ Says:

    I’d have a 3rd cup of coffee just to make sure.

  4. SAO Says:

    Congrats on yet another successful 365.256363 day, 583825190 mile, 66610 mph lap around the big ball of fire.

    * Numbers have not been updated in a dozen years. Might be off by a few decimals.

  5. khal spencer Says:

    On to lap 70. Hope you had a good day, even if it was a tad on your own.

  6. Opus the Poet Says:

    Congrats on completing another lap around the local star. You may now consume small amounts of unhealthy foods and contemplate riding your age in km.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Holy mackerel, I completely forgot the ride-your-age ritual. Senility is setting in.

      Looks like we have proper weather on the schedule today, so maybe I can manage … 69 minutes? I don’t know that I can face another run. That sort of thing is OK as an alternative to cycling, but I’d hate to think it was becoming my primary form of exercise.

      Although it is useful. Remember your Richard Pryor:

      You got to stay in shape and shit, cause you never can tell when in real life you will have to … run! That’s right, run. Goddamnit, run. Why get killed when you can … run! That’s right, a lot of people get a ass-whipping, and you could run. You’ll be in the hospital, your ego will heal a lot faster than a broken jaw. Cause you’ll still be in the hospital talking about, shit, I should have run. Run! That’s right, if somebody pull a knife on you, and you can’t pull out nothing but a hand with some skin on it, your intelligence ought to tell you to … run!

  7. JD Says:

    According to one of our Bibleburg local news channels, it’s “National Respect Your Cat Day”. S-o-o-o …. show some love and RESPECT!! 🙂

  8. Herb from Michigan Says:

    Meanwhile back in the heading of the whole affair, there is a superb picture of a path that beckons to all but the most sedentary of us. Take out the walls on the side and one could believe its the pathway to Better Days Ahead. Aw hell leave the walls in and it still is a great shot POG

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Thanks, Herb … that’s part of Trail 365, the uphill stretch through the cactus forest that we run through on the homebound leg of our favorite 5K. Suburbia to the left, Sandias to the right, and El Rancho Pendejo about a half-mile away.

    • Shawn Says:

      Your comment makes me think of something I was thinking about today (yesterday to everyone who is east of PST); I was thinking about a place that for me, was on my list of ideal trails. Perhaps POG’s image subconsciously caused me to think about it. Alas, the trail that I was thinking of no longer exits. A massive Del Webb development wiped out all but a few fragments of it back in 2006. It was a swooping side hill trail section that ran for about five miles in the hills above Reno. I used the section to reach other trails to the west and to the north. The trail section must have already been on private land when I rode it but there was never any fencing or postage signage restricting it’s use. I didn’t realize how much I missed it until it was gone. Now it’s an upscale area of fancy homes.

      • Shawn Says:

        Revision: …trail that I was thinking of no longer “exists”, not exits. Damn middle of the night auto-insert anyway.

      • khal spencer Says:

        Reminds me of the Old Pali Highway on Oahu. When the state built the new four lane superhighway connecting Honolulu to Windward, i.e., Kailua and Kaneohe, it was expanded to four lanes and a set of tunnels to soften the gradient. Meanwhile, most of the old little two lane country road was left there. We used part of it for the Dick Evans Road Race until nature started seriously degrading it, i.e., there were huge holes in what used to be elevated sections. I recall riding race motorcycle one year and being the only motor that stayed with the peloton through that section since I could dodge the “potholes”.

        Other than when a race was going through, it was cool and quiet. After we sold our house in 2001 we stayed with sister-in-law in Kaneohe the last few weeks before flying to the Land of Entrapment, so I used the old road to ride back and forth to work at the University in Manoa Valley. Most of the commute was a cacophany of car and truck noises. But when I got on the old roadbed and away from the main roads, suddenly an intense quiet broke over the world, punctured only by the sound of rustling leaves and a forest of songbirds.

        Made leaving the place that much harder. I wonder what has become of that old road.

        • Shawn Says:

          Shhhh Khal. Remember, there is no pathway there. It was an old Hawaii’an legend concocted to keep the missionaries worried about an invasion of Lucifer’s army, or something like that. But anyway, out of sight, out of mind.

          Sprawl development sure is a fascinating thing. All those new tax dollars to pay for the upkeep of all that previous sprawl and development made in the past. We need those services and improved road ways with adequate bike lanes of course so that we can get to work. Why consider not using the open weed infested land of pesky critters that only a small portion of society uses anyway. If people want leisure time away from their responsible duty-bound service to society, they can go on a cruise or invest in virtual reality paraphernalia that they can use in their own oversized homes.

          I had noticed on maps POG, that the Mountain Highland at High Desert development seems to reach out to the east a little way. I suspect that area may be the growth you mention. I can’t imagine the problem though. A quick sample of one residence indicates an added tax levy to the city, state, county and politician’s pension fund (greed has to be spread out properly) , of about $11K a year. Hot damn! I want to be a city leader in Al-b-cue. But wait. No. Maybe not. I’m not into drive-by shooting campaigning.

      • Patrick O'Grady Says:

        “Progress,” hah? That trail I photographed slams to a halt at Comanche to accommodate a string of houses that creeps up the hillside. From Comanche you have to deal with 1.2 miles of pavement — Camino de la Sierra, Glenwood Hills, and Trailhead Road to the Embudito trailhead — to get back on dirt that leads to the Elena Gallegos Open Space.

        One of these days I have to dig up the story on how that neighborhood was allowed to metastasize onto the foothills.

        Same thing in Bibleburg, only more so. When we moved there in 1967, there was basically nothing east of Powers Boulevard, unless you count dirt roads and trails and critters and nobody messing with you. Great place to ride bikes, commit misdemeanors, learn how to drive stick, plink with the .22, etc.

        Now it’s all buried under ticky-tacky, and it all looks just the same.

        • khal spencer Says:

          Good on you for posting Malvina Reynolds doing it. I’m one of those ignoramuses who just learned that it was not written by Pete Seeger but by Reynolds. Duh.

      • khal spencer Says:

        Progress indeed. A couple days ago I was talking to Ray Brust, an old teammate of mine who still races in Hawaii. He said it is increasingly difficult to even get a race permit because of the cheek to jowl development and how it has made the roads so jammed with traffic that the idea of restricting access to a damn bike race seems like a bad idea.

        Progress. Send in the next big asteroid, please.

        • Shawn Says:

          I can only imagine permitting a road race in a metropolitan area. The hoops and “walls” to carefully navigate. There is of course a reason that gravel racing came about, and before that, the growth of office park crit races.

        • Pat O’Brien Says:

          Just gotta do it. Seems old is new again, again.

          • khal spencer Says:

            Perhaps of interest to the malihini, a former city councilor/Congresscritter/Governor of Hawai’i, Neil Abercrombie, drove a car exactly like that–one of those old Yellow Cabs. You always knew it was Neil because no one else in the middle of the Pacific had one.

            One of the reasons we bailed out of Paradise was in the lyrics of that song. Oahu was being developed to the point where I thought the island would sink. Our little corner of the world out in Kalama Valley (the farthest east residential valley in Hawaii Kai) was dark and quiet when we moved there in 1992 after I got my faculty line and my better half was tenured. By the time we left, Hawaii Kai was lit up, paved wall to wall with condos and parking lots, and the roads were a quagmire.

    • khal spencer Says:

      Something there is that doesn’t love a wall, right?

  9. oliviasmith66 Says:

    I really enjoyed reading this post! It’s fascinating to think about the little things we all do when we wake up, and how they can vary so much from person to person. The way you described your own morning routine was both humorous and relatable. Thanks for sharing your insights and making me smile!

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