Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Let's Hear It For The Cat Lady

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a woman of a certain age who has never been married should be living with 56 cats.

I am an unmarried woman of a certain age, and there are more people that I'd like to mention who would verify that I'm a tad eccentric...if not all the way it stands to reason that
what I really need is 56 cats.

I'm not going to fight it any more...
I am a crazy cat lady.

I had no idea when I was living with Goldie that I was a single woman. Goldie turned 'me' into a 'we.' When people asked me about my weekend, I'd answer" "we slept late on Saturday." No further questions were asked. When people invited me out somewhere I really didn't want to go, I'd respond, "We're staying in and watching something on PBS." And I had a great time hanging out in my apartment, reading books, and watching the television. Goldie did her thing. I did mine. I was never alone -- or so I thought. But now my apartment seems empty. I feel extra special needy and I'm afraid I'm going to make a nuisance of myself to friends and family. Sometimes, late at night or early in the morning when I'm not quite awake, I'll catch a glimpse of a phantom cat tail in the bathroom. It'll startle me into full consciousness, until I realized that it's just my mind playing tricks on me with light and shadow. I know eventually I'll adjust to being a crazy cat lady with no cats, but in the meantime I have to say that I had no idea how difficult it would be to live without six pounds of cranky tortoiseshell fur underfoot. No, I don't worry about racing home after work to feed a sick cat anymore...and no, I don't have to run the vacuum cleaner as often, but it's just not the same being a 'me' and not a 'we.'

So I'm finally ready to admit the obvious --
I am a crazy cat lady.

The photograph above is of eccentric actress and crazy cat lady-in-training, Evan Rachel Wood, going through airport security with her cat. I used to do the same thing when I traveled with Goldie. People would coo and tell me she was the most bee-YOO-tiful cat in the world. Goldie would look them dead in the eye and hiss loudly and passionately, much to my secret delight. That's right, don't mess with me -- I'm traveling with my cat. That's right, we're flying across the country.

Meanwhile, the most famous crazy cat lady in the world, Susan Boyle, has been
reunited with her cat, Pebbles. Doctors report that Pebbles is going to go out on the road with Susan for the duration of the "Britain's Got Talent" tour. Go Pebbles!

Frances Ring isn't a cat lady or anything close to crazy, but I was delighted by this article in the LA Times about the former typist to F. Scott Fitzgerald. I am always a fan of hearing someone tell their story in their own words. I also missed celebrating the anniversary of Miss Jane Marple at the end of May. She is a founding member of the spinster hall of fame, if not an honorary crazy cat lady.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

I Was A Girl Detective

In my youth, I devoured every Nancy Drew mystery novel I could lay my hands on. Because my reading actually caught up with the publication of the series, I also tore my way through The Bobbsey Twins and The Hardy Boys. What was a girl to do when my favorite girl detective couldn't keep up?

I was thrilled to discover that my love of Nancy Drew is shared with Supreme Court justices Ruth Bader Ginsberg and Sandra Day O'Connor, as well as Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor. It may be the only thing that I have in common with any of them -- other than the obvious. It may also be the only thing that they all have in common.

What is it about Nancy Drew that is so incredibly appealing ? When Barack Obama mentioned Sotomayor's love of Nancy Drew as a way of introducing her to the American public, it caused a number of essays to be published on the subject. It was through the essay in the New York Times that I was directed to Sandra Tsing Loh's review of Girl Sleuth, a biography of the committee of women who created Nancy Drew.

"For clever girls of all ages," Sandra Tsing Loh wrote in The Atlantic, "it’s a rare treat to read stories in which our heroine’s emotions come alive not with the love of a good man but with the pursuit of a bad one."

The Double X website (created for and about women of a certain age, ahem, who frequently surf the Internet) also weighs in on the Sotomayor-Drew connection. It's all intriguing reading if you're so inclined.

I think the bottom line is that when you're a thirteen year-old girl and you don't look sing like Miley Cyrus, or look like Britney Spears, who would your hero be? A really smart girl who knows how to put her good sense to use, like Nancy Drew, of course. When I was thirteen, I was fascinated with Madame Curie -- the chick who discovered radium and polonium...and then it killed her. I think that should give you some very thoughtful insights into my crazy brain. I'm still not sure what my passion is...but I am sure it's going to kill me.

In the meantime, I've been reading a lot of Elinor Lipman. An author I heartily recommend.