Monday, October 31, 2011

Consider Halloween, Love Luco

Probably I at one point did something horrible enough to warrant this lobster costume. I do not know what though. I have been trying to remember this entire day. What did I do?

I made fun of Fremlin for not being able to jump up onto the bed, but she cannot jump up onto the bed; it is not as though I made up a cruel or false rumor about her - I simply noted her behavior and faithfully reported it to everyone else in the prison.

I told Mingus that he was a jerk, but this was because after being shut up in the guest room with him (the prison guard now refers to it as the "Cat Room" with much derision) I realized that he is pretty much a jerk.

The dog I treated like I have always treated the dog, which I will admit is not perhaps as nice or patient or as thoughtful as one creature could treat another, but really? He is a dog. I do not believe there is a living being that would not enjoy taunting him at least every now and then.

A lobster suit, if you have never had the pleasure, is not very comfortable - the fabric is a "soft" felt, but feels more like an "itchy" felt: it is an itchy, uncomfortable, hot, and heavy felt. Basically a lobster suit is sub par. Perhaps sub, sub par. Sub, sub, sub?

I must admit there is something I love about this holiday, however. There can be found joy in taking on another's identity, if, that is, the other's identity is not a lobster.

Yes, I will go ahead and address this now; I have read David Foster Wallace's "Consider the Lobster." Honestly I believe all that lives experiences pain (rotting branches the source of countless nightmares) - all that lives is at a fundamental level (perhaps I should say cellular?) of the same stuff. We are equals, you and me and the dog and the pathetic lobster. Allow me to bring in my favorite moment from his essay (you can read the entire essay here: 

In any event, at the [Maine Lobster] Festival, standing by the bubbling tanks outside the World’s Largest Lobster Cooker, watching the fresh-caught lobsters pile over one another, wave their hobbled claws impotently, huddle in the rear corners, or scrabble frantically back from the glass as you approach, it is difficult not to sense that they’re unhappy, or frightened, even if it’s some rudimentary version of these feelings …and, again, why does rudimentariness even enter into it? Why is a primitive, inarticulate form of suffering less urgent or uncomfortable for the person who’s helping to inflict it by paying for the food it results in? I’m not trying to give you a PETA-like screed here—at least I don’t think so. I’m trying, rather, to work out and articulate some of the troubling questions that arise amid all the laughter and saltation and community pride of the Maine Lobster Festival. The truth is that if you, the Festival attendee, permit yourself to think that lobsters can suffer and would rather not, the MLF can begin to take on aspects of something like a Roman circus or medieval torture-fest.
Does that comparison seem a bit much? If so, exactly why? Or what about this one: Is it not possible that future generations will regard our own present agribusiness and eating practices in much the same way we now view Nero’s entertainments or Aztec sacrifices? My own immediate reaction is that such a comparison is hysterical, extreme—and yet the reason it seems extreme to me appears to be that I believe animals are less morally important than human beings;20 and when it comes to defending such a belief, even to myself, I have to acknowledge that (a) I have an obvious selfish interest in this belief, since I like to eat certain kinds of animals and want to be able to keep doing it, and (b) I have not succeeded in working out any sort of personal ethical system in which the belief is truly defensible instead of just selfishly convenient.
20 Meaning a lot less important, apparently, since the moral comparison here is not the value of one human’s life vs. the value of one animal’s life, but rather the value of one animal’s life vs. the value of one human’s taste for a particular kind of protein. Even the most diehard carniphile will acknowledge that it’s possible to live and eat well without consuming animals.

That he treats the subject of lobsters with such depth of thought is not enough to make me want to dress up as one. Although he makes some good points. 

I wish I was a nobler cat who could understand the value of a lobster suit, of its itchiness and its connection to my underwater brethren. 

But why did the prison guard pick this costume? This sea-roach as they are oft referred to? Since I cannot think of a truly horrible offense I have committed (unless it was unknowing), I must come to the conclusion that she is a sadist. Simple.

I believe her actions must to be part of a series of humiliations which will end in what, I do not know. First she locked me in this house, never to let me out. Then she got the other cats. Then the dog. Then the dog was allowed Outside. And now she dresses me as a lobster. Oh, shame! How unending and how I blister at its touch.

And yet I pity the lobster I also despise (and only despise today! And only because I am forced into this clown's costume). Who looks at a lobster and thinks it (her? Him?) beautiful except as something that is beautiful-to-eat. 

Who could love a lobster but to consume her?

And everywhere they are locked in glass prisons, claws pinched tight together, sad little bead eyes. 

I am the lobster.

The lobster me.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

The Trench of Luco's Despair

Hello, dear friend. I apologize for my absence, but you see, and as I informed you a couple weeks ago (how long ago now! How swift time!), the prison guard decided to have major plumbing work done. The other cats and myself were confined to a cramped spare bedroom for something akin to three weeks (I am no careful scientist, no objective observer, plus she did not leave me with any way of keeping track of time, perhaps in just one more cruel bid to disorient and discomfit me). The above picture is the last you will see of this flooring.

It is also the last you will see of that picture on the floor there. Do you spy it? A self portrait by non other than the prison guard. They say she painted it as a child, but I harbor serious doubts on the veracity of that assertion.

Regardless, welcome back, etcetera. Make yourself comfortable while I take you on a journey of despair - plumbing despair.

The first trench. This started just outside the bathroom door. Do you see the little bridge across? Safe. The prison guard and her husband eventually just stayed in a motel from what I have been able to put together. Please note the sand and dust. I had dreams - nightmares - every night. Terror overtook that sand fleas rained a torrent over me. Constantly awaking itchy. Uncomfortable.

Mingus was able to escape one night and he ran along the trench. I could hear the prison guard yelling "Help me! He's going to get outside" or some such nonsense. What did she think - was he going to tunnel his way through the trench?

Perhaps that is what she thought. Perhaps she believes him a mole in her house. Better than the way I am convinced she sees me - a poison, an infection, infestation - someone to be waved away and ignored. Please excuse me a moment. No, I am not weeping.

Here is a final shot of some of the destruction. A pretty significant trench, no? Here you can also see the second bridge - the one the prison guard crossed when she visited us every day to feed us and clean the litter box. Once. A. Day. No more, no less.

I suppose her dedication to the dog is to be excused as he is a simple creature, unable to care for himself - is this what I am supposed to think?

Did she supply us with dust masks? No. Would I have worn them if she had? No, but still, it would have been a nice gesture.

Living for weeks in the closed up room I got to know the other cats better. A shame. I used to be able to tolerate them. There is nothing like enforced, close proximity to one's roommates to make one really appreciate solitude. And I must say any good feelings I had for the dog seem to have pretty much evaporated.

Look at him. The monster. His face so grotesque. His deer legs. Floppy little ears.

Well, he is a sort of adorable, I guess. I am not saying I missed him, but after the company of the cats, it is rather a pleasure to get a break. To speak to someone who would not say, as Mingus did, "I'm like so totally over you, dude. You never shut up."

The dog doesn't say things like that, even if only because he does not know the words and/or he does not understand the phrase.

Life is back to normal. Mostly. Although now there is a river of poured cement running through the house where the trench was. And now I am feeling old, sentimental. Rather free.

How long does contentment last?

How brief a respite this?

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Plumbing, prison, and persimmons (not really)

You may have noticed I did not blog last week. The prison is undergoing major plumbing work, and I am trapped in one bedroom. I do not have access to the computer. I do not have access to the camera. 

And so I write you now, briefly, sadly, to say I do not know when I will be better able to update you on my intense and unending despair. Nevertheless, please know that each and every moment I exist is a moment spent in a great amount of anguish. Please leave comments here imploring the prison guard to change her frozen heart. 

Perhaps later this week I will be able to tell you more. Perhaps not. Life is a mystery, is it not? And a painful one at that. 

I shudder here, trapped with Mingus and Fremlin, and no amount of crying at the door will move the prison guard's hard heart to let me out. Let me out!