Look, you can have the greatest friends, the best support system in the world, but there will be times in your life that you will realize that you are completely and utterly alone.
I had that realization over the weekend, after Mama called me to tell me about her newly adopted cat.
“Does he even have a name yet?” I asked. She had considered Snorring, but now was toying with Alyosha, in honor of Alyosha Karamazov, the hero in The Brothers Karamazov. But then the cat killed a mouse and Mama decided that she should name him Raskolnikov after the murderer in Crime and Punishment. I assumed that it would just be a matter of time before the cat did something Mama didn’t approve of and would be named after the title character in The Idiot, since apparently this cat is destined to have a Dostoyevsky tie-in.
“Not yet,” Mama told me. “These things take time.”
“Well, my kids don’t understand what’s taking so long,” I said. It’s true that I didn’t understand either, but I attributed the questioning to the kids because they are more adorable than I am and Mama is much less likely to disinherit them and even if she does, that’s their problem.
“Tell them that we didn’t name you for months,” she instructed. “So a week is not a long time.”
Obviously Mama was immune to intergenerational naming-pressure, having other things on her mind.
“He is incredible cat,” she told me. “You should see him in the litter box.”
“I should?” I asked.
“Yes. If you ever need to dig a flowerbed or a grave, he can do it. He digs in that box for hours.”
“Maybe he has some kind of a scatological obsession,” I offered, thinking that Scat had a nice ring to it.
“No, he just likes to do good job,” Mama explained, “Also, he is affectionate. He is most affectionate cat I ever had. The other cats we had were almost like animals.”
I sat with that tidbit for a second, but just a second, because then Mama dropped a bomb.
“He may be a sex addict or a rapist,” she lowered her voice.
“Oh?” I asked, thinking desperately of ways to stop this runaway train.
“Last night he grabbed the blanket with his teeth and started humping it.”
“Is that…how sex works?” I asked. What do I know, maybe they changed things in the past few months.
“Haven’t you ever seen cats having sex?” she asked, as though cat sex had been part of the Core Curriculum.
“I haven’t,” I confessed. Cat porn is one of those things that I keep trying to get to, but there are just not enough hours in the day.
“Well,” Mama felt the thrill of having a live one on the line. “If you think that the boy cat lays the girl cat on her back and then gets on top of her in -what you call that?”
“Missionary position,” I said, teeth clenched.
“Yes, missionary. Cats don’t do it missionary position, they do it from the back, perversionary position. Is that how it is called in this country?”
“Mama, please-” my voice was weak and yet evocative of the scars I would bear.
“You know, sex from back– doggy style, right?”
“Mama, I beg you, stop talking about cats having sex doggy-style.”
“So sensitive,” Mama scoffed. “I thought you were a feminist.”
“Yes,” I mumbled, “very feminist.” Although I would have happily given up the right to vote just to have avoided this particular discussion.
Eventually Mama had to get off the phone. NoNameKa was doing something adorable or perverted and she had to tend to him.
And I was left all alone. With my thoughts that could not stop conjuring images of cat doggy-style sex.
I’m not sure those particular lambs will ever stop screaming.