As I said, this is big stuff here. I think it could be the beginning of a glorious long-standing feud, along the lines of the Hatfields vs the McCoys, with townspeople choosing sides until everything ends in a shootout or hanging in the town square. Well, or something almost exactly like that. Come to think of it, my Most Excellent Neighbor Laura has a bit of a head start on me with this, as she has a good and deserved feud with the Crazy Busybody Lady who lives down the street, and apparently feels it’s appropriate to tell people their property isn’t edged properly.
I kid you not.
But I digress. Up until now I’ve been living in this halcyon haze of Silverton splendidness, though I’ve had moments of thinking this is all a big front of some kind (that’s the Chicagoan in me). That behind this insanely nice façade is a cauldron of simmering malcontent going deep down to the town’s roots. I’ve been blissfully unaware of this seedy underbelly……until yesterday. Oh yes.
So yesterday Kone and I are on our new morning routine, which instead of drive-to-dog-park/coffee-shop-coffee-and-scone, now consists of neighborhood walkie. Kone doesn’t seem to miss the scone, which is great because it was getting to be a bit difficult to find the damn things (stash of individually-wrapped madeleines in the freezer, I’m talking to you).
Our walk is a lovely jaunt around the neighborhood – or it would be lovely except for one thing: the damn cats. Yes, there are literally billions of free-range cats wandering about, and we generally see at least one on our walkie, at which point Kone goes ballistic and pulls my arm out of its socket trying to go after it, and looks like something out of a cartoon as his legs churn frantically but he’s not moving much because I’m holding him back.
Of course this isn’t his fault – even though he’s basically people, he still has a dog’s instincts, and that instinct is to chase furry things. So needless to say, I direct my rage at the people who own these cats but let them wander around freely, killing billions of songbirds and antagonizing The Kone. INSIDE, people, keep them INSIDE.
It was against that backdrop that we went on our walkie, and stopped to chat with Steve, a nice older guy who lives a street over and has a beautiful pear tree and flowers in front of his house. When I see him I stop to talk, usually waxing eloquent about the greatness of The Kone, and he’ll say something about the deer eating his roses, and then we cheerfully part ways. So yesterday we’re talking, and suddenly Kone yanks my arm out of its socket and I watch in horror as Kona, his leash, and my arm go flying into someone’s front yard after one of those blasted cats. I go after him, and he’s barking up a tree, though it’s not clear where the stupid cat went. Then an older lady comes out of the house, pinched face and all, and at this point I’m still prepared to be nice, even though she’s a Stupid Loose Cat Person.
Me: Oops, I’ll just grab his leash.
SLoCaP: (pinched face, is looking around)
Steve: Imelda, this is a new neighbor – she lives over on Pine!
SLoCaP: (continued pinched face)
Then she speaks, sourly:
I’m about to tell her where she can stuff her cat, when she really says the fateful words:
“Your dog chased my cat! Where’d my cat go?”
Look lady, there are a few incontrovertible rules in life, and chief among them is that we don’t diss The Kone. No one disses The Kone.
Oh wait, I lied. There are no other rules.
Needless to say, this was enough to send me into full-on Mama Bear mode, as the crazy parenting blogs like to call it.
“Well MY dog is on a leash – your cat is just running around willy-nilly. Dogs do chase cats you know,” I tell her, with a baleful glare.
Poor Steve is still trying to do an introduction – “yep, lives over on Pine” – and SLoCaP is still walking around muttering and I’m still glaring at her. I think she’s waiting for an apology, which will occur when the inner bowels of Hell freeze over and start churning out sno-cones for everyone. She finally wanders off – and hasn’t said a single other word during this time other than cat-related muttering – so it’s just me and Steve. I firmly tell him that I am NOT ever going to apologize to someone who lets their cat run loose, and I think my Mama Bear fierceness scares him, though he rallies by bringing up what we all should know, about the billions of birds and other critters killed by cats every year.
So yeah, I didn’t see Steve this morning – I think he’s in hiding. SLoCaP doesn’t show herself either, lucky for her.
To sum, my first sworn enemy in Silverton, only a block away. Score! This is a festering outrage that I’ll nurse over the many years that I’ll live here, escalating it to hatred and “accidentally” dropped bags of dog poop as needed. We’re not there yet, but stay tuned…