More things I learned from my cats

One of my two cats seems to get more and more affectionate and, well, cuddly, in the last year or so. He’s about five years old. He’s a big fella but doesn’t seem to realize it. He likes to get up on my chest right up by my chin while I’m sitting on the sofa, or even out on the deck.

It’s hard to see over him and I get fur in my face, but I don’t mind. Tonight, while he was doing that on the deck, he slid over against my arm, which was resting on the armrest, his head resting on my belly. It was the epitome of total relaxation.

He was so thoroughly cozy and comfy. You could tell he felt as safe and content as any creature could. I wish I could feel that way. I really can’t think of a time, since being a small child in my parents arms, that I felt so safe, comfortable and relaxed. I know I’ve never had a long term significant other, but I don’t know if any adults feel that secure, do they?

I suppose it depends on the ability to give, or receive, unconditional love. That includes two-way trust. My cat couldn’t even ideate betrayal of trust, and my brother and I are not capable of mistreatment of any creature, especially one as loving as this. He also doesn’t have the human concerns and responsibilities of subsistence and such things. So, maybe it’s a little easier for Smokey to veg out in total comfort and security.

Well, of course it is. But when I look down at his furry little face resting on my arm, I get a moment of that peace and comfort, vicariously.  Everyone needs to have some peaceful, quiet moments to reflect. The world would be a better place if we could all do that.

Difficult people

What do you do with those people who are just plain difficult. You know what I mean. They always have to get their way. They don’t like to share, don’t work and play well with others. They’re petty, stubborn, manipulative, and so on.

If you have a choice, cut their negative energy out of your life.  Sometimes, you’re stuck with them at work, or in an organization or group, but if not, just cut them out.

I don’t mean to sound calloused. In fact, I’d say give them a second chance. You don’t know what has happened to them in the past that may have affected their behavior. But, if you’ve tried to be nice, and they just beat you over the head with the olive branch, then it’s time to give them the boot.

Of course, we often are stuck dealing with these difficult ones, like it or not. I’m not sure what the best answer is, but I know that giving in doesn’t work. Unfortunately, that often happens. The person who talks the loudest and longest, often gets their way by wearing down everyone else, or grabbing the most attention.

The other end of the spectrum doesn’t really do it either. If you fight them on everything, you just end up locked in an endless battle which makes you look bad too. Remember the old saying,  never argue with a fool, lest someone walking by can’t tell the difference.

I guess you have to choose your battles, build alliances, and sharpen your own game.  Hopefully, people will see who the bigger person is.  If they don’t, then perhaps they just aren’t a good judge of character, or they see something of themselves in the bullish one.

I have a situation like that at work. I share equipment with someone on another shift, who has worked there for about 16 years, I think.  Most people in the department have also been there a long time, whereas I’ve been in the department only a year.  The other employees tend to be sympathetic to his cause to some degree, since they all have workstations all to themselves, as he did, before I came along.

I had worked on several different workstations before winding up at the current one. Fortunately, I had already won over the others with my friendly, upbeat, unassuming approach to people and to life. So, it’s not like they side with him, exactly. Some kind of stay neutral, while a few are totally on my side.  I think that’s because I have been understanding and accomodating as the new person, but have stuck up for myself and spoke to someone higher up when needed.

It’s sometimes an uneasy truce, but I’ve learned not to let it bother me. I don’t care how he feels about me, and I don’t like him. As someone who hasn’t always been comfortable with conflict or having others be displeased with me, it’s actually liberating to be unconcerned about the mood or actions of a thorn in my side.

I’ll just keep minding my own business, and resist the temptation to respond in kind to any antagonizing.

Spoiler alert

When I was in first grade, the teacher got everyone in the class a thoughtful gift, which we opened in class the last day before Christmas break.  I didn’t tear into the wrapping quite as voraciously as some students did.  The first one to pull the gift free from its packaging, held it up and triumphantly showed it off.

It was a drink cup with a Santa Claus drawn on it and our faces placed on the Santa. The Santas and the Merry Christmas message were under the plastic, which was pretty innovative for the late ’70’s. Our faces were cut out of the class picture by hand and glued on. It must have taken a lot of time. Miss Dobes, as she was named then, remains one of my all time favorite teachers.

Back to the unwrapping. I don’t know why, but I was so very disappointed that the surprise had been ruined by the quick opener kid, so much so, that I lambasted him for it. I think I was near tears.  I sure laid a guilt trip on that kid. Other kids and the teacher backed me up, perhaps just because I had felt so strongly about it and they empathized with me. He didn’t really do anything wrong, though.

I’m still not really sure why it bothered me that much, but I don’t like having a surprise ruined to this day.  I guess I’m still a kid at heart. I’ve known people who will tell you not to worry about telling them all about a movie, even if they plan to see it. They don’t care if they know what’s going to happen.  I can’t understand that. I think most of us are more like me that day in first grade.  That’s why we say, “Spoiler alert!” in conversation or on social media.

What is it about surprises? Partly, it’s the inner child thing. We like to be delighted, or to have a moment of excitement, something beyond the normal everyday goings on.

I think it’s also a very genuine experience to be surprised in a good way. There’s no time to build it up, or knock it down. There’s no pretense, no spin, no analysis.  You just live the moment. You feel it. You savor it, and remember it with a smile.