See this cute thing?
I got a new phone a couple weeks ago, and decided to make this picture my wallpaper. It's my cat, Daisy. I just wanted to adore her every time I looked up the weather or checked my e-mail.
And not a week later, she disappeared.
I have bawled all week--at home, out walking, sitting in the Office Depot parking lot, clutching a few dozen freshly-copied "Lost Cat" flyers.
I know, I know. It's not the gravest tragedy in the world. I get that. I know a woman whose house is filling up with hospital equipment because her husband isn't getting better. I know another woman living on dreadful green food, trying to beat cancer for the third time. Yet another holds her newborn, still trying to absorb the news that he will never have the life other children have.
Not to mention a lot of people I don't know who are getting shot at--on the battlefield, at work, in malls.
Yes, I know I don't own all the sorrow in the world.
Still, what is all this pain?
One night after dinner, a crushing sense of emptiness came down hard. I launched into a round of overchecking Facebook and e-mail, flipping through the newspaper for some picture or story I hadn't seen already. Or maybe couple more slices of frozen pizza would do it.
What's going on here?
Well, what's going on that we're casting about for some way to feel better, and none of it is working.
I've relied on this to figure out what to do next. Not every possibility is a probability, say the experts. I've leaned toward the Panicked Cat theory. For cats like Daisy, who go out every night, who love their owners but hide when company comes, scary things interrupt their going-home routine. They hide out, probably within a five-house radius. Maybe in three days they will work up the confidence to make a dash for home. If not that, seven to ten days of hunger and thirst eventually drives them out of hiding.
We're at seven days now.
We've been through this before. Gatsby disappeared, returning at about seven days in spite of reports of coyotes in the neighborhood. But with her five pounds to his twenty, she just isn't as coyote-proof. Oh, but I would just love for all this to blow over, to come back and tell you, "I did a lot of bawling over nothing." But I'm kind of flickering out here.
The only feel-better trick that has worked is diving deep into Tolstoy's Anna Karenina. So here's the prescription and dosage: Twenty-five pages of rich and miserable Russians. Take as often as needed.
As for your recipe, this has been a week of family standing around, like cats by their dishes actually, and wondering when I'm going to dole out dinner. They've heard "Figure it out for yourself" quite a few times.
But at some point, you just have to get up and function. So, life resumed again with Ravioli Casserole.
I may be back to running the kitchen. But it's not an entirely safe room. It contains the back door, which I check far too often, just in case her cute little face peeks through the window.
Why don't I go take some more Tolstoy now?