“LITTLE MAN ON THE COUCH”…On A Weekend At The Beach

Little’s first and final family vacation.

TP: Hi, Little Man. You look a bit disheveled today.

LM: Really? Imagine that…what with me just back from vacation.

TP: Vacation?

LM: Yeah. Mom and dad decided to treat me to a long weekend at the beach with them. You know, I only ever leave home to visit the vet’s office, so you can imagine my anxiety at the thought of a road trip. Nonetheless, mom and dad felt bad, leaving me all alone every other weekend during the summer, with only the occasional pop-ins from that drill sergeant wannabe and the Snow White lady to prepare my meals, tidy up the gentlemen’s lounge, and offer a bit of companionship. So this particular weekend, off we were all going to go together. Big fun!

TP: Sounds very thoughtful of your parents.

LM: Thoughtful? You think? What part of I’m a cat and cats don’t like their environments changed do you suppose they thought about? Or how about that three-hour car ride to get there?

TP: A bit long for your tastes?

LM: More like a bit long for my bladder. What are these people…camels? No stops. None.

TP: Well, they probably just wanted to get you to the beach as quickly as possible so you could relax and stretch your legs in the apartment.

LM: Stretch my legs? How about dive for cover? I didn’t know where I was being deposited or what was waiting for me inside.

TP: Deposited?

LM: Oh yeah! From the moment we left our house ‘til the moment we arrived in the apartment, my manly mitts never touched the ground. I was literally hoisted in and out like a suitcase. Imagine, doc…I go from my house, where I know every square inch and my world is in perfect order, to a car I’ve never before ridden in for longer than fifteen minutes, to a place where absolutely nothing is familiar. For all I know, I could be entering some laboratory that experiments on stressed-out cats. I half expected some white-coated Dr. Jekyll to pop out with a sadistic smile and a giant hypodermic needle. It took me about two seconds to squeeze my considerableness under the bed.

TP: Hmm. I can see how that scenario would be upsetting for you.

LM: Right. Meanwhile, Mr. & Mrs. Gee, We Didn’t Think About That can’t understand why I’m not doing flips about how cool it is to be off on a beach weekend with them, running around the apartment, exploring new sensory wonders, and basically having the time of my life. Seriously, doc, it really made me question just how bright those two really are. Anyway, eventually, they were able to entice me out from under the bed with the promise of a treat of tuna flakes.

TP: So the trauma didn’t really affect your appetite?

LM: Actually, it did. I hardly ate anything for the first 24 hours. Mom was starting to freak out about that, but dad probably figured they’d finally found the answer to the weighty issue of my weight. You know, the guy’s fat-phobic. Anyway, the food situation brightened a little when mom brought me some McDonald’s.

TP: McDonald’s?

LM: That’s what mom called it. It was some dry food they picked up at the 7-Eleven—Whiskas, Friskies, something like that. I never had that cheap-and-cheerful, taste-trumps-nutrition, store-bought stuff before.  It was pretty good, but definitely not on my approved-for-fatsos list.

TP: So things eventually fell into place?

LM: After a few other adjustments…for example, the placement of the gentlemen’s lounge, aka, my litter box. Initially, mom decided it should go in the utility closet, in front of the washer and dryer, and alongside this huge air conditioning thing. My first visit to the lounge, I was just settling into position when the AC kicked in. Damn near jumped out of my skin. It was like going to the bathroom inside a jet engine. Unless they were gonna supply me with a set of isolation headphones, like ground crews wear at the airport, this was not going to work. I had dad move the gentlemen’s out into the hallway. Had him move my food bowl out there, too. I like everything handy, you know?

TP: All that stuff must have made moving through the hallway a bit dicey.

LM: Well, it certainly did in the middle of the night, when dad was trying to maneuver from his bedroom to the couch.

TP: Why was he moving to the couch in the middle of the night?

LM: To keep yours truly company, of course. I knew he and mom were feeling bad once they realized how traumatic this whole “vacation thing” was for me, so yeah I admit it, I did start playing it for all it was worth. A little midnight whining near the bedroom door and dad would do the good guy thing—getting up so mom wouldn’t be disturbed (of course, that was also self-defensive on dad’s part since mom’s a bit of a grumpy bear when she can’t sleep). But he also did it to keep me company. After a couple belly rubs, a few crunchy bites of that cheap-and-cheerful “fast food for cats” stuff, and maybe a stop at the gentlemen’s, I’d curl up behind the couch and dad would sack out on it. Meanwhile, mom had the whole bed to herself…so it was a win-win for everybody.

TP: Not sure your dad would agree sleeping on the couch was a win, but okay.

LM: Don’t kid yourself, doc, he loves doing the whole buddy-bonding thing. Butch and Sundance, you know!

TP: Hmm. So I guess you never actually set foot (sorry, paw) on the beach?

LM: Are you kidding? I never set paw on anything but the car’s upholstery and the apartment’s carpet.

TP: Happy to load up for the ride home, I bet.

LM: Oh yes! And this time they even made a stop—at Dunkin’ Donuts for a little breakfast on-the-go.

TP: Nice. What did you get?

LM: I got to watch those two eat their bagels. HELLO! I’m back here. Seriously, they need to improve their hospitality protocols for family field trips.

TP: So what’s shakin’ now that you’re home, Little?

LM: Chipmunk tails, doc. Huntin’s been pretty darn good.

TP: That won’t sit well with your friend, Snow White, will it?

LM: Nah, she’s like that Dalai Lama guy. Harm no living thing, etc. She gets pretty upset when dad gets all chest-poundy about my hunting exploits and starts keeping score on Facebook. Fortunately, she also lives by the mantra that love is the absence of judgment. You can never have too many friends like that. Oh, speaking of friends…

TP: Yes?

LM: I wanna give a shout-out to my boy, Einstein—a canine acquaintance recuperating from a pretty nasty scrape with another dog this week. You know, I’m not generally that fond of dogs and I’ve never actually met “Steiny” in person, but he’s a great ambassador for all animals through his Facebook page. Smart as a whip, too. So get better, buddy. We need you back on line and keeping tabs on all the poopheads out there.

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