Thursday, November 26, 2009

The Cats Who Stare at Men (Greater Atlanta)

Luke, Julie and me. Mr. Dublin is on the far left and Michael is sitting next to me.

Luke takes Mr. Dublin for a spin

I didn't grow up with cats. My mom has a restive relationship with felines. Instead we had a dog named Bismark when I when I was very little and no pets after that. Despite my lineage, I didn't inherit my mom's uneasiness. At the same time, I can't call myself a cat person. I don't frequent cat websites. When I see a stray the thought of taking it in doesn't cross my mind. Let me illustrate my point by comparison. I was once on a remote island Cay off of Turks & Caicos with my friend Endel and we happened upon a cat in distress. It was awe inspiring to see Endel and his family rescue it, adopt it and jump through multiple bureaucratic hoops to take it back to the United States with them. That is what I mean by cat people.

Most of my hosts have pets and I am comfortable with all of them. I can say that because I haven't had to share the house with a snake ... yet. If pressed, I would say I prefer dogs to cats, just because they seem to have stronger personalities. But I enjoy the eccentricities of all animals.

I spent Thanksgiving with Luke and Julie Lane in Marietta, GA. Luke and Julie are both cat people. They have three rescue cats, each with its own unique personality. Luke's favorite is Mr. Dublin, a rambunctious, playful cat with a vertical leap that would make NBA scouts drool. Julie's affections lean toward Michael, a quieter, more thoughtful cat who resembles Dublin but carries a few extra pounds. Then there is their is a black cat who name currently escapes me. It seems to be content to slink around the house as a casual observer to Dublin's hijinks and his attempts to antagonize Michael.

As the only stranger in their midst, Mr. Dublin wanted to take a measure of me. As I feasted on our Thanksgiving meal of turkey chili, stuffing, cranberry sauce, rolls and pumpkin pie Dubs sat in front of me and stared at me. He was probably thinking, "Let's see if this sucker is going to take pity on a cute cat and throw me some scraps." Little did he know I am Joanne's child. I was not raised to be suckered in by the cuteness of cats. I stared back, content to enjoy every last morsel of my meal without sharing. Mr. Dublin would have had way better luck with Endel.

After we ate Luke played ring leader and Sir Dublin showed off his jumping ability. I tried to photograph him in mid leap, but my camera seems to be a bit lacking in the action shot category. Take my word for it, it was impressive. If I had his ups I would have been able to dunk as a younger man. That I couldn't still sticks in my craw. Just once I would have liked to drive down the middle of the lane, elevate and throw it down in an organized game of basketball. Alas, it wasn't meant to be.

Luke, Julie and I bid adeiu to the cats and spent our Thanksgiving evening at the movies. Our choice, appropriately, was The Men Who Stare at Goats. My verdict? Eeeeeh. I'm not a movie critic, but I will stay this: I went into the movie with low expectations and it met them. I did, however, enjoy the Welch's Fruit Snacks I bought at the concession stand and some popcorn Luke bought. So there is always a silver lining.

Julie and Luke are both night owls, but they were amazingly considerate in letting me go to sleep in their living room right after returning home, even though that meant having to retreat to their room for the evening at the audacious hour of 10pm. To help my chances for a fitful sleep they separated Mr. Dublin from Michael. The goal was to cut down on the chances of a light night steel cage match breaking out. Dublin stayed out with me and slept part of the night on my bed. I only remember him stepping across my back two or three times. Perhaps he wanted to play. Or perhaps he just wanted to get me back for not succumbing to his penetrating gaze and throwing him some stuffing. If so, then we are even.

As for Julie and Luke, we aren't even. I am definitely in their debt. They took in a complete stranger on Thanksgiving Day and graciously let me celebrate it with them. It is always harder to find hosts on holidays, but they made it seem like a breeze. So thank you both from the bottom of my heart. Let's hope I can find some people as kind as the two of you in Mobile, AL for Christmas.


  1. lol, I'm sorry to hear Dublin got you back in the night. He can be a mischievous little guy. Khalandria (Kay) is the little black cat's name by the way. ;p

    I didn't think Men Who Stare At Goats was that bad. I give it 3/5 stars personally.

    Thanks for visiting us during your journey, continued safe travels!!
    Take care,