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MIKE FINIGAN: The squeaky wheel

So, who do you think is in charge here? CONTRIBUTED
So, who do you think is in charge here? CONTRIBUTED

I’ve always been uncomfortable with the idea that something was “meant to be.”

It’s too fatalistic. A good excuse to not exercise your will.

But ...

Five years ago, we went to the SPCA to “pick out” a cat.

I went to one cage and spied this beautiful cat named Monica. Long grey hair with black stripes. Green eyes. Just a creature of beauty. This cat would look good sitting in our window. Or just sitting anywhere being a cat. I opened up the cage.

No response.

Monica rolled her green eyes at me.

I pulled her out of her cage. Asked her if she wanted to come home with us. She wouldn’t even look at me. She didn’t say a word; well they never do, but they get the message across loud and clear, and the message I was getting from Monica was familiar, one too many a male has been told across the species in oh so many ways, since the beginning of time ... I’m out of your league, honey.

Yeah, you might think you’re going into the SPCA for a cat, any cat. You’re going to pick a cat and put it in a carrier and pay the people for the neutering and the inoculations and that’s that. But cat acquisition doesn’t work like that at all.

There’s more to the universe than that, my friends.

I put her back, embarrassed.

I was turned down at the dance once again. Sent home to look in the mirror to try and get a realistic sense of where I stand on the scale of attractiveness. It’s hard for a person looking in the mirror to be objective. There should be no such thing in fact as mirrors. They just make a person try too hard to be somebody else who they wish they were. They should be reserved for shaving only.

I think I’m a pretty good looking guy on the whole. Not bad. Average. Not handsome, OK. But what I lack in looks I make up for in character. Not that I have great character. More like I am one. At least I used to be. And gorgeous felines it seems don’t like characters with an S.

The temperature dropped in that particular room at that point. All the other cats caught the stink from me, that unlucky-in-love stink; it wasn’t really my fault. It was just fate. And nobody wants to pity somebody. Nobody wants to go home with somebody out of pity. So, they too turned away, spun around in ever tightening circles down and down into so many little balls with their back to me and their tail wrapped around them. The whole room.

But there was another room.

Michelle was in there poking at one with her finger, trying to get a spark out of it, but it was just standing at the back of the cage washing. I made to cross the room, but then I felt a tug. This little short-haired black and white tuxedo cat got a paw through the bars of its cage and hooked a claw into my shirt sleeve. When I stopped and pulled him free he got the two paws out. Hey! Hey! Where do you think you’re going?”

I unsnagged him and went over to talk to Michelle.

No problem. The cat was having none of this rejection. When we went to get a volunteer, again this little cat started with the paws out of the cage, grabbing. And yet again, when we came back in with the volunteer.

And to make a long story short, there he is in my chair now. Getting the royal treatment every day. Whatever chair he wants he gets. Like it was meant to be.

I don’t know about fate. It’s too intangible.

But I do know one thing ...

The squeaky wheel gets the grease.

Mike Finigan, originally from Glace Bay, is a freelance writer now living in Sydney River.

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