Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Cats and Cows and the Road Home

Cows are like cats and horses are dogs. New Jersey is a dog, Vermont is a cat. This is my new metaphor for life.  Cows mosey, they hang out together, they are quiet most of the time. When they do make noise, it’s a soulful lowing. Like cows, cats are often silent.  My cat, Clancy, never meows for his food. Sentinel by the bowl, he stares like a sweet-looking vampire until you are compelled to engage eye-to-eye. I must pull the bag of kibble from the pantry immediately. Clancy would never say, “get the bag of kibble now, bitch.” Like someone from Jersey would.  

Clancy loves me

Even a dog lover will admit – dogs are eager to the point of obnoxiousness. And they slobber.  Dogs bark at everything - the neighborhood kids, the Jehovah’s Witness who come up my drive uninvited, whatever. A dog will bark for hours at a time. Of course, this would probably indicate he is tied up outside, or left alone in an apartment while his owner goes on a movie/dinner date. But cats – whether in adoration or discomfort, remain silent and simply gaze into your eyes.  If a cat becomes upset that you left him to go on a lengthy Italian vacation, you’ll never know.  Yes, he probably missed you, but you'll only be able to tell, telepathically.

Horses gallop around and whinny.  They jump. They’re such high maintenance. Even when they trot, they make noise. And they need shoes.  Cows don’t, so right there, you’re saving a lot of money – Vermont likes to do that, too; or rather, Vermont gives out a lot of money, but at least Vermont isn’t greedy.

You never read stories about young girls destroyed for life over the loss of a cow. You never read young adult fiction with titles such as My Friend, Bossi.  It’s always My Friend, Flicka. They get SO much attention, those horses.  As do the dogs when they bark all night or attack a child.  When a horse falls taking a jump they must be put down and break hearts all over the place. 

Jersey is a lot like a horse.  Look at New Jersey  - it gets way too much attention. There’s Chris Christie (well, he sort of deserves it.) There are those Housewives from New Jersey.  They are called “real” housewives, but I knew about 150 housewives when I lived in Jersey, and although some of them got their nails done regularly and some continue to sport big hair, none of them ever looked or acted like the “real” Theresa Guidice and her dressed-to-the-tacky-hilt little girls. And those Jersey ladies love the attention, just like a horse does. The housewives go to charity events for knock-down drag-outs and swear like sailors. Horses participate with their owners in snooty high-end competitions.  Cows have no need for this type of attention.  Farm kids show their cows at county 4-H fairs, but mostly, cows hide in barns, stay way out in the field with their own kind all day long, and provide food for us without complaining. And the cats hang out with the cows because there's milk nearby, which the cats love. Cats and cows, especially  Vermont cows, have established a mutual admiration society.  But what does a horse do? Oh yeah, right. The horse provides no sustenance to human beings, but once gone to the glue factory, they DO provide food for their own ilk – the dogs.  Ironic.

Big Hair never lets you down

I liken the feline to Vermont. Cats self-groom; so does Vermont. Vermont looks after herself. It’s the norm for Vermont roadways to be litter-free. On the rare occasion, I come home and find a McDonald’s coffee cup thrown onto the grass near my driveway. Vermont sadly has a few citizens who aren’t attached to Vermont’s sense of aesthetic pride, which is not solely related to liberal politics. We have a reputation to uphold.  So when I see this trash, I stop the car and get out. I pick up the used coffee cup  and throw it on the floor of my back seat where it will remain for at least month, or if I’m feeling industrious, will go into our garage trash can. I perform this feat of handling a stranger’s germy cup without gloves, while risking my own health to make certain the Vermont roadside environment remains clean. 

I drove to New Jersey twice this past winter. While on the Turnpike, I noticed trash dotting the roadside like tiny white spring flowers. I’m driving down to Jersey again tomorrow.  I’ll miss my cats and the cows.  But hey, Jersey, you’ve got another chance to redeem yourselves.  I’ll be looking for clean roadsides, after all, it’s spring, perhaps the citizens were out in full force on Green-Up Day last weekend.  That’d be really nice to see.
Jersey Highway - a clean-up effort. Nice, but, so like Jersey to show off. Will it stay clean? We shall see.
 credit Facebook

Here is what will most likely happen.  The Turnpike and Parkway, as much as I have hope, will (mostly) still be lined with litter. Only when I cross the Vermont state line, will there be the absence of trash.  Then, I’ll notice the cows, minding their own business in the fields along Route 22A. At the front door, my cats will greet me, silent as always, but happy - even if they don't show it.

Sweet Gals
credit Faceb