Thoughts by Richard Bleil
Cats do understand English. I’ve never understood it, but cats will investigate “Heeeeere, kitty kitty kitty”, whether the cat knows you or not.
Standing at a cold and windy bus stop, I notice out of the corner of my eye a black and white cat in the large side yard of the house behind me. Instinctively, I say, “heeeeeeere, kitty kitty kitty.” The cat looks behind itself. I say it again, and the cat looks at me, and moves not to me, but in my direction, strolling into the bushes by the front porch.
I know I could have called it over. If I bent over and rubbed my fingers together, I suspect I could have made a little fluffy butty buddy. But, then I thought of the potential circumstances.
First, I thought, what if the cat tried to follow me onto the bus. Then, a worse thought crossed my mind. See, the bus stop is on one of the busier roads on this side of town (which side I’m not even certain); four lanes, plus turn lanes, and a speed limit of 45. Do I really want to lure Mr. Fluffy Butt towards such a busy road, while it’s still dark out? What if it tries to cross the street?
I didn’t want to think about it, so I stopped.
Unfortunately, if you’re really concerned about others, sometimes you have to sacrifice what your own desires. As far back as high school, I was the boy in school that girls would come to when they were having relationship problems. I was an ear when they needed it, but not the guy that any of them wanted to be with.
Young love is difficult. With brand-new hormones running high everybody is trying to figure out their roles in a relationship. Boys get bad advice from their friends who know no more than they do, and yet always seem to have the answer, and I’m guessing girls are the same. Peer pressure makes boys do stupid things. Fortunately for me, I had no male friends (it’s just a joke, Mitch). This makes them focus on just one thing, and the wrong thing at that. Between the peer pressure and hormones, boys don’t tend to treat girls as people in high school.
I was never a “popular” boy, and never was in sports. Don’t get me wrong, I noticed girls, and the way they looked. My hormones work just find thank you very much, but, at the same time, I had the freedom to notice more than their looks. I learned early on that girls are intelligent, have feelings, and have more to offer than helping to earn a reputation. So, I befriended several, and listened to their problems with a boyfriend, even though I would wish he were me.
It still happens today. Not nearly as much, but the costs are much higher.
In high school, I would advocate for my female friends to give him a chance. My thought was that, if the relationship ends, she would want it to end with no doubt that she gave him every chance, with the peace of mind that she took it as far as she could, and safe in the knowledge that it is truly over. Today, it’s usually not so cut and dry.
The friends who will sometimes come to me to talk are often married. Marriage complicates the discussion; breaking apart means divorce, divvying up property and money, and if children are involved, well, that’s a whole other discussion.
But I’m also wiser as I get older. Not all marriages should be saved. If there is infidelity, careful thought and consideration has to be given to if the trust can be rebuilt. If infidelity is frequent, even after being confronted with the truth, then the question becomes if the other can live with the reality of the infidelity. Heck, some couple keep their marriages fresh by inviting others into their marriage chambers (to use an old outdated phrase, and there is nothing wrong with this if both in the marriage agree that it is their desire. If my friend is the one involved in the infidelity (which also happens), then the discussion becomes more difficult, as it needs to involve discussions of if their partner is aware, and probing questions to try to ascertain the reason for these actions. I’m no marriage counselor, but the goal becomes to get them to think if the relationship can, or should be, saved. Even with children involved, sometimes a broken home is better for the child than fighting and tension.
So, the question becomes, do I lead the kitten towards the hazards of the road, or entice it back from where it came? I certainly longed to feel the warmth and fur rubbing against my leg, and between my fingers, but…is that what’s best for the kitten?