Monday, April 2, 2012
You don’t graduate from college every year, thank god. I don’t think I could stand that crucible of good will and utter anxiety more than once a decade. July 4th, however, retains its Birth of a Nation significance year after year, and grown-ups of New York celebrate accordingly.
Day-drinking, grilling out, and shooting fireworks occupy most of this great nation on Independence Day. But in New York most of these activities are conducted in public parks and on rooftops, or, in my fortunate case, on a sailboat in the Hudson. The fireworks show was exquisite and I could almost hear Beyonce’s live performance over the terrible techno blasting from a neighboring boat. I remember thinking, for the first in my life, that my Sperrys were actually appropriate outside of a sorority-laden state school in the southeast. Also, it was on or about July 4th that Anna and I stole a cat.
On our block lived the lovingest cat you’ve ever seen. He was gray and majestic, so we named him Grey Baby. On separate occasions, Grey Baby had flagged down both Anna and me (as loving cats are wont to do) and flung himself at our feet on the smoldering sidewalk. Also on separate occasions, different concerned neighbors had worriedly asked us, “Have you seen the sweet little old lady who’s always with this cat? You never see one without the other.”
Of course we hadn’t seen the sweet little old lady, and we assumed the worst. On the way home from some dedicated pregaming on Independence Eve, Grey Baby once again planted himself in our path. We scooped him up, traipsed up the stairs and unleashed him in our living room. Justin fretted about fleas and bedbugs while Anna brushed Grey Baby’s hair and I took glamour shots of him. (See above.)
I tried to make him sleep with me in my bed. But I woke up the next morning, July 4th, to a desperate scratching noise behind our couch. I was sweaty and hungover so I released Grey Baby back to the wilds of 15th Street.
I saw him a few more times after that. Often with a tinier grey cat who followed him around- I christened this little cutie Baby Grey Baby. I didn't try to adopt him, though. Rejection by a stray street cat was not something I wanted to experience twice.
I spent the rest of the day celebrating America, my bed bug-free apartment, and my TWO days off from teaching. The smothering humidity reminded me of home.