Tag Archives: sad

And that, kiddos, is why we never, ever count our chickens.

Today there was a sadness. It’s a heart-hurty kind of day.

So this afternoon I was eating my lunch and playing around on Facebook (as I do) and saw this.

This is a cat that was available at one of our local shelters.

Who, exactly, does he look like?


OK, so I had about ten minutes to make a very important decision (because I had to get back to work.) I was not planning to get another cat. The last great cat experiment did not turn out well. And poor Dumbcat. He WANTS a friend, but he’s so timid. (I also love having two cats, but his feelings are more important than mine.)

But this was Dumbcat’s TWIN. And listen, Lynx Point Siamese cats? They’re not something you see every day. Also? He was a polydactyl. He had extra toes. JUST LIKE DUMBCAT. And his name was VERY similar to Dumbcat’s really real name; enough so that it was spooky, actually. I wouldn’t even have to change his name. He’d fit in just fine (assuming he liked me, and I liked him, and he and Dumbcat got along, and such.)

I’m not the most impulsive human. But look at that face.

Yeah. I was gone. I was smitten.

I called the shelter. Yes, he was still there; yes, they were open; no, they couldn’t hold him, but they had very little traffic today, why didn’t I come in around 3:45, he’d still be there. I could bring him home today, actually. Neutered. All ready to go. Yup yup yup.

I jetted back into work. Scared my boss with “OMG THE BOSS! There is a CAT-RELATED-EMERGENCY can I leave early?” After she was talked down from thinking my cat had perhaps called me while I was on my lunch break (what, it might happen, he has thumbs) and said he was dying or something, and I explained the situation, she was very understanding (I have a wonderful boss, who is also my friend, and she is a bigger cat-lover than I am.)

All systems go. I had butterflies upon butterflies. Butterflies all up in my butterflies.

You see this isn’t going to end well, right? I started this on a down-note. I spoiled you before you began. I didn’t want to get your hopes up.

I went down the scariest little roads on my way there. (WTF, GPS, seriously? There HAD to be a less circuitous and less-likely-to-get-me-killed-by-yeti way to get to that shelter.) I ran in. The lady at the desk was all, “Go on back! He’s around the corner in the cat-room!”

I ran in.

His cage was empty.

I stood in front of it for a minute. This didn’t compute. She’d JUST SAID he was there.

There were two viewing rooms in the cat room. I peeked in them.

There he was. Up against the glass. He saw me and walked to the glass. And bashed into it with his face. In a very Dumbcat-like-way.

The two women in there ignored me. I knocked on the glass. They were both wearing scrubs; I assumed they were employees.

Amy: making an ass out of YOU and ME for almost 40 years now.

“I’m here for him,” I said.

They smiled and one said, “Did you fill out an application?”

“Not yet!” I said. “He’s mine – don’t give him to anyone else, ok?”

She nodded. “She has dibs!” she laughed.

I went out. I filled out the application. And halfway through, the lady at the desk said:

“Oh, someone else is taking that cat you want, by the way. You don’t need to finish filling out that application, if you don’t want to.”

I stopped. I got very cold. I looked at her.

“No, I…I told the employees back there I was here for him. I…”

“One of those people is an adopter. She got here a few minutes before you did. She decided she wants him.”

“They’re not both employees?”


“But…one of them told me to fill this out? One of them said I had dibs?”

(But did she? Or was she saying the OTHER chick had dibs, and I misunderstood? What the hell was going on at this shelter of chicanery?)

The woman at the desk shook her head. “I mean, you can go back and see what’s going on, but it’s a done deal, I think.”

I went back to the cat room. The two women were now playing with OTHER cats. My boy was in his cage. He looked at me with his wise blue eyes, which were ever-so-slightly crossed. I thought about taking his cage card and going up front and lying and saying, “She said I could have him.”

Because he was mine, right? I came all this way. Wasn’t he mine? He was meine Wassermelone, right?

I’m not the devil. I couldn’t.

I went to the visiting area again. The same two women looked at me. I knocked and opened the door a little. The one who apparently WASN’T an employee (was just, randomly, wearing scrubs? What a calvacade of errors this place was, or maybe I was) looked up, annoyed.

“I’m sorry. Are you planning on taking the Siamese? I…I’m here for him, they told me he’d be here, I’m so hoping…it would mean so much…”

“Yes. Most likely. I am DECIDING. THANK YOU,” she said. And made that dismissive tut-noise. And looked at me pityingly.

And I walked up front and stood by the front desk because if I walked out without her deciding and she chose otherwise, what an asshole I’d be.

And a few minutes later, the front desk lady was all “HE’S ADOPTED” and that was that. No “I’m sorry” or “we really should have told you to come sooner” or “we’re sorry, we would have held him for you” or SOMETHING.

I sad-Charlie-Browned to the car. Where I wept. And cussed. And then wept some more.

I know. I KNOW. All things are meant to be, and blah blah blah, and it probably wasn’t the right TIME, or the right PLACE, and listen. I believe in all of that just as much as anyone you know. I really, really do. I live by that as much as I can.

But oh. Oh, I so wanted him. So very, very much. Because someday, Dumbcat will no longer be here. And this cat was two. And had a good long life to live. And I imagined him being Dumbcat’s younger friend, and making Dumbcat happy in his older years, and then having a cat when (shh, I don’t like to think about this) Dumbcat is no longer here to make me laugh every day.

So I cried in my car. Because some dismissive girl who got to the shelter just before me got him. And will she appreciate him like I would? I don’t know. Maybe. All I know is, she called him “she” three times while I was gathering up my things. And he’s a HE. So that’s a worry.

Then I went shopping to make the hurt stop, but only found ONE SHIRT so that didn’t help. And then my cable broke. And I got some shitty news. So it was a snowballing day of badness, and I’m going to take a cool shower and go to bed early because effffff.

Dumbcat waiting for me at home and wanting to be especially cuddly was nice, though. I told him about his long-lost brother. He just purred and headbutted my spleen.

I don’t want another cat. I want another DUMBCAT. Or, at least, one that looks enough like him that when that inevitable day comes that he is no longer headbutting my spleen, the hurt won’t devastate me as much as it might.

(Shush, I know there’s only one Dumbcat, let me have my fantasy, ok? OK. Great.)

So, if any of you are out and about in the world and see a homeless Dumbcat, and he’s looking for a home…you let me know. I’m totally willing to travel. Just promise me he’ll be there when I show up, ok? I don’t like crying in the car. It makes my glasses all fog up.

This one would be good. He looks sufficiently freaked-out enough to join my household.

This one would be good. He looks sufficiently freaked-out enough to join my household.

So let me say before we part: so much of me is made of what I learned from you.

I moved here in September 2002. I started looking for something to do in the area not long afterward; I knew if I just stayed home all the time and did nothing, I’d not only drive myself insane, I’d drive my poor roommate there with me.

I called one local theater and they called me back, but something there seemed off, so I decided that one was out. Then I went to see Cloud 9 at another local theater, and I fell crazy in love. With the theater – an old firehouse that just felt like a theater, the minute you walked in – with the actors, who did the best version of the show I’d ever seen – and with the direction, which was brilliant. This was the theater I wanted to work at. This was where I was meant to be.

The other theater was five minutes from my house in an area I was comfortable with and had a parking lot; this theater was twenty minutes away (in normal, non-rush-hour traffic) in a somewhat-sketchy area I knew nothing about, had on-street parking (and never enough of it) and meant I had to (GULP!) drive on the HIGHWAY.

I’ve never taken the easy way, have I? Nope.

I signed up in the lobby in the volunteer book and thought if I heard from them at all, it wouldn’t be soon. A couple weeks later, I got a call from someone at the theater. “You said you have experience running a light and sound board on your sheet,” she said. “Yes…?” I said. “YOU DO? Want to run the light and sound boards for our next show in a couple of weeks? We could REALLY use you,” she said.

(Side note: she now runs the box office at the fancy theater here, yo. Love you, J.!)

I walked in petrified. I didn’t know these people. Was this even a good idea? I mean, yes, I needed to get out of the house, and I missed theater. But these were STRANGERS. It had been YEARS since I ran the booth for a show. What if I screwed up? These people were GOOD. They might HATE me.

I think I said about three words to anyone for that entire show. I was this scared little mouse in the booth. But I didn’t screw up the lighting or the sound. And the next thing I knew, I was stage managing the next show of the season. And then the next show. And sometimes running either the light or sound board or both. Doing props. Working backstage. And when, a year later, they asked me to be on the board of directors. I don’t know if I was ever happier.

I moved through positions on the board: trustee at large, secretary, vice president of production, artistic director. I worked on show after show after show. I stage managed, produced, worked box office, worked the light and sound boards, did crew work, acted (a little, and not well, I know my limitations, people), ran auditions, worked hospitality, publicity. You name it, I’ve probably done it.

Eight years, I’ve been on the board there. I’ve met some of my closest local friends while working there. I’ve learned so many things there, had so many opportunities to do things I’d never gotten to do before. I’ve seen such amazing work happen on that stage. I’ve laughed until I’ve cried and cried until I’ve laughed. I took such pride in being the artistic director of one of the oldest community theaters in the area. I did good work. I worked very hard to put up shows that I believed in, that people would both enjoy and that would broaden their horizons, sometimes a little, sometimes a lot, as well as make us money.

Being on the board led to my job as a theater reviewer. It led to my current full-time job; I met friend A. there, and he sent me the job posting, and now I work with him. Being on the board led to me knowing most of our local actors; knowing more theater than I ever thought I would; being someone that came up in conversation as part of the local theater scene, a theater scene I could not be more proud of.

Tuesday night was my last official board meeting.

I chose to step down. It was my choice. It’s been an amazing eight years, but it’s been a lot of work. A lot of time. A lot of time I haven’t had for myself. A lot of times where I missed other things, other opportunities. I’m starting to wilt. It’s stopped being fun. And I’ve always said, when something stops being fun, you have to stop doing it, not only for your own sanity, but for the people around you; your mood directly affects them.

I know it’s for the best; it’s opening up a whole new world for me. I have plans for all this time. I have things I’ve been putting off that I’ll finally have time to do. I’ll be able to sleep more. My stress level will be lower. This is for the best.

But just because something’s for the best doesn’t mean that it’s not hard, walking away from something that’s been such a part of your identity for so long. Nine years. Almost the whole time I’ve lived here. The theater’s been my main social interaction for all those years. It’s been me. I’ve been Amy, who works at the theater. It’s hard not to feel a little lost, even if it is the right thing, and I’m doing it for all the right reasons.

I’ll be the artistic director for a little less than a month, still. The new artistic director doesn’t start until next month. This was my last board meeting, however; I accidentally bought a ticket to see Neil Gaiman on the night of our annual meeting next month, so this is it for me. (Sorry, I’m not missing Gaiman. I’d have to hand in my geek card if I did. Plus…well, goodbyes are sad; goodbyes at the annual meeting, in front of all those people? SUPER-sad. Plus also pretty embarrassing.) I could always go back. I could always work at another theater. If I get bored, if I start missing theater, maybe I will, but I’ll be taking a good long break first.

This is the right thing to do.

I handed in the keys that have been hanging on my keychain for eight years tonight. I said my goodbyes, which weren’t as sad as they probably should have been. I know this is the right move for me.

I did, however, sit in the car for a little bit and look at the theater, and say a goodbye to it privately. The woman who, nine years ago, sat in her car, afraid to go in; the woman who, nine years later, sat in her car, afraid to leave.

Nine years there, eight of them on the board. The next time I come back, I’ll be a patron. Or a volunteer. I won’t work there anymore.

Just because something’s the right thing to do doesn’t always mean it’s the easy choice to make.

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