1. Reggie and Kitty: A Love Story. Reggie has a cat friend who comes to visit regularly. She pops up out from her various hiding spots on the block to say hello. I don’t think she was always a stray because she seems way too friendly. There is a neighbor who feeds her and lets her in on cold or rainy nights.
When Reggie and I leave the building, she bounds over to him prancing and dancing and swishing her tail. He is a little freaked out by her feline ways, but he never barks or growls at her. If I have some treats in my pocket I give them to her. (Yes, she eats dog treats.) Reggie doesn’t seem bothered by this, though if she were a dog, he would put her in her place immediately as my mother’s eight pound dog can attest. Treats are what he values most in the world. I wonder if he lived with a kitty before I adopted him.
One night this week, a treat dropped from my hand and landed precisely between the two of them. Reggie went for it. Kitty went for it. In the space of a second or two I thought there could be a fight. Then Reggie, whose nose is bigger than her whole head, stepped back and let her have it.
I told him, “Reggie, you never cease to amaze me.”
(Side note: Reggie asked me to send a special woof to his pal Olive. He said he would always share his treats with her.)
2. My plumbing is backed up. One morning I woke up to find the heating pipe in my bathroom dripping down the walls (and into the walls as evidenced by the bubbling under the paint).
In pre-war buildings like mine, these pipes are fairly common. They extend through all floors right down to the basement and connect up with the boiler. The pipes can get wicked hot and I’m sure many a bare bum has been burned in tiny NYC bathrooms by accidentally brushing up against it. Not that I would know anything about that.
This being Brooklyn, everyone had to offer their opinion.
“It’s the valve.”
“Maybe it’s the roof. You know, it did rain a lot last week.”
“Someone’s been banging on the pipes. Something got knocked loose. Why are people banging?”
Wanting to get a professional opinion, the plumber was called. I had to take time off work to let him in. I had to take time off work. Oh, glorious leak. Thank you. I planned to watch eye-numbing amounts of daytime television while eating pastries and…and…it was all too exciting to think about.
Turned out it was a faulty valve. After 100 years, I guess the building is allowed to have a few aches and pains. So now there is a hole in the ceiling which the plumber won’t fix. (“I’m not a drywall man,” he told me. Is this true elsewhere? Do your plumbers and electricians refuse to patch the holes they make?)
I guess I’ll have to take another day off work to let the handyman in. Oh, what will I do with that day off?
3. You regular readers know how much I admire Jane Goodall. Last week, the television show 60 Minutes aired a marvelous interview with her. Reporter Lara Logan traveled to Gombe National Park to talk to Dr. Goodall in the place where she began studying wild chimpanzees in 1960. They walked through the forest and located one of the chimp families Dr. Goodall has known for almost 20 years. In case you’re not as much of a groupie as I am, she was the first person to witness chimpanzees, with whom we share 98% of our DNA, use and make tools. That had been an ability previously given only to humans. Now, she travels more than 300 days each year raising awareness and funds for the Jane Goodall Institute which operates conservation efforts, a sanctuary for orphaned chimps, and Roots and Shoots, a worldwide network of young people.
(Baby chimp cuteness alert!)
Want to read more about her discoveries? Check out her first book In the Shadow of Man which chronicles her first years at Gombe.
4. On one of my morning commutes this week, through a combination of luck and tenacity (See: Kramer), I’d gotten a seat on the subway. Just a few stops from my exit, the train lurched forward and caught a woman who was standing in front of me off guard . She fell forward, unable to right herself. I’d been too absorbed in my book to realize what was happening until it was too late. I had no time to brace myself or put up an arm as a shield. Her shoulder plowed into my cheek and threw my head back into the wall. I felt the vertebra in my neck crunch down in an unnatural position. When she finally regained her balance, she apologized profusely. I glared at her and spat out, “It’s fine,” which clearly I didn’t mean at all. Afterward, I felt like a heel. True, I ended up having a small bruise on my cheek and a sore neck, but that was going to be the case no matter if I was nasty or forgiving. She didn’t mean to fall on me obviously. What would it have cost me to be gracious? It’s these small points in time when we have the greatest opportunity to make the most impact, and we can choose, in the moment, to bring forth the better part of ourselves, and I was disappointed in myself for reacting from a place of unkindness.
He who would do good to another man must do it in Minute Particulars. ~William Blake.
On a lighter note, here’s Kramer from Seinfeld with his usual panache trying to get a seat on the subway.
5. Winter light.
Have a great weekend, everyone! Stay tuned on Monday for a new Shine post!