Jul 18, 2009
Why my cat is like Chauncey Gardener
There I was, thinking that my new kidney disease had allcomers beat. It's lifelong. Its rare. It put me in hospital for three days and the diagnosis features the word "sclerosis". You can't get more serious than that. And then I get home to find that my cat has cancer. Even I can see that cancer beats funky kidneys. I have been upstaged. Hannah is now the centre of attention, lording it up while we scurry around her, feeding and tending and petting. She's not nearly as alarmed as I would be if I woke up to find a strange tube up my nose, a big plastic collar around my neck, making me look like a futuristic Elizabethan, and my owners injecting me with strange-smelling fluids. She doesn't look at me with accusation in here eyes. She doesn't implore me to take the tube out or the collar off. She is either incapable of blame or causal reasoning (maybe the one comes with the other). She seems to regard our trips to the vet with much the same equanimity with which Chauncy Gardner regards the elevator in Being There: "This is a nice room". As far as she's concerned, it's just one of those things. Which means that not only does her disease beat my disease but her attitude is a lot better than mine too.
Maybe I should try living a week without any causal reasoning whatsoever. X will not cause Y. Y will simply be Y. X is not responsible. X is too busy being X. All I will be able to say is that X is X and Y is Y. Beyond those two unbudgeable facts lies only painful and self-punishing speculation.