Thursday, February 28, 2008

Oliver The Cat

I have had a hard time with the cyberspace community in recent weeks. First all those schisms that appeared between the camps of the two Democratic primary candidates, then the realization that writing about the nuts and bolts of politics probably never has mattered much at all, that individuals vote on quite a different basis from that, then my attempts to reconcile myself to the new evidence of contempt towards women on quite a few lefty blogs (I expect it on the right-wing blogs), then the next rounds of all this which go on inside my head, trying to categorize, classify, sort, trying to find the answer that would make it all quite fun and exciting and pleasant again.

Note that I'm not complaining or asking to feel better about any of this. It is what it is, and my struggles have much more to do with my own naivete which never seems to disappear, an odd mix of being very skeptical and pessimistic about evidence and facts and yet on some level believing that tomorrow morning the sun will shine on a much improved world. I'm also over-reliant on the intellect in trying to understand what makes people tick (or spasm). For example, the new heated debates about Clinton and Obama have very little to do with something that logical arguments could clarify. The debates have to do with what buttons are being pushed, what desires are being expressed and all sorts of fuzzy creatures in the subconsciousness or the twilight world of our own emotional histories.

Sadly, they also have much to do with the question of which army you will stand with, and once you choose the battle lines are drawn. I've seen previously impartial voices turn to the use of "if you're not with us you're against us", I've seen moderate criticism interpreted as treason and a block-headed refusal to do the right thing, I've seen debate become impossible because of the emotional weight each word has somehow developed.

So what has any of this complaining to do with Oliver the cat, the title of this post? Not sure. Oliver was the Main Coon Cat of a neighbor, many years ago. His coat was the color of the chestnut, his tail the size of the state of Maine. When I'd come home in the afternoon I'd glance at the two large flower pots on the neighbor's porch, filled with begonias. One of them would also sprout a fantastic chestnut-colored tail, curving down the side of the pot as if planted there to bring further beauty to the whole. That was Oliver.

When his owners walked down the road to chat with other neighbors Oliver would follow, dashing up the telephone poles, turning his little head to see if he got the attention he deserved. Once he came to meet me when I came home from the grocery store, rubbing himself against my legs as I unloaded the car. Then, quick as a lightning, he ran away with the cheese that was on top of the grocery bag. He seemed to love life and view it as a movie starring Oliver The Cat.