Thursday, August 7, 2008

Feeling like a crazy cat lady

With a 4-pound bag of Iams cat food under my left arm a pint of Häagen-Dazs chocolate ice cream in my right hand, I arrived at the check-out counter at the A&P Supermarket.

I've had a tough two days, working 11 hours on Tuesday and 13 on Wednesday to get two daily newspapers and a 24-page special section to look somewhat presentable. Thursday was better - 6 hours at my other job, then three hours at the paper. But I was ready to go home.

The cats were hungry, my arms and neck were aching, and I just couldn't wait to put my feet up for a while and perhaps tune into a semi-new episode of "CSI."

As I got up to the only register that was open, an average-Joe-looking guy approached the register from the other side. He took one look at me and said, "You go ahead."

I dropped the bright orange bag of Iams and the Häagen-Dazs in front of the cashier. Then I took a step back and looked at my purchases. "Oh my goodness!" I thought. "They're all gonna think I'm a crazy cat lady!"

You know the story: It starts with a completely normal woman. She lives alone. Then she gets one or two cats. Then, feeling lonely, she starts "rescuing" strays and feeds other cats in the neighborhood. She finds comfort in her feline friends. One thing leads to another, and all of a sudden she is 75 years old, and her 40 cats have taken over the house.

The house starts to fall apart. It starts to smell. Nobody dares to go near the home. Nobody even dares to speak the old lady's name. She's become the crazy cat lady.

But wait. I have a boyfriend. I live a semi-normal life. So far, I only have two cats. And who cares what people think, anyway?

"You have a good day, now," the cashier says, smiling sympathetically as she puts my items in a white plastic bag.

"You too," I say, as I pick up my items - head held high - and walk out the front door.

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