I’m Becoming A Cat, And I Don’t Much Care For Cats

(NOTE: Based on time elapsed since the posting of this entry, the BS-o-meter calculates this is 8.442% likely to be something that Ferrett now regrets.)

I like dogs. When I get up off the couch, my dog comes racing in from the next room, just on the off-hand chance I might be doing something interesting. When I get back home she bounces around my feet, desperate for attention.

When you are a dog, there is no time that is not petting time.

But cats, man, cats run on their own schedule. Pet a cat at the wrong time, you get your hand bit. And cats will disappear for hours, doing cat business, sporadically interested in you but not with any degree of consistency.

(Yes, I know. #notallcats.)

And I used to be a dog person, man – if I liked you, I’d be texting you and emailing you and loving your Tweets and your essays, and every interaction was a relentless tailwag of HI I’M HERE I LIKE YOU.

These days, I’ve become a cat.

I mean, I like you. I do. But I’m less on the Internet these days because, well, keeping a careful distance from social media is good for my mental health, and I’m not tossing off essays because I’m pondering whether I have the energy to deal with responses.

But I don’t stop thinking of people. They cross my mind and I go, “Wow, they’re neat, I should email them,” but then I realize I’m in the sort of mood where I’d fire off one communication and vanish for weeks, and that’s not fair, or maybe I don’t even know them well enough at all to start an interaction like that, so I just think and think and then it’s been months and hello how goes it, I’m spent.

There are people I’m tremendous fans of. But they have no clue that I like them, and would probably be shocked to know that I think of them at all. Which wasn’t the way it used to be, back when I liked and retweeted and hearted and clicked all the social media snoozewhammers to let them know OH HAI I’M HERE, but…

Here we are. And my recent affections – sexual or non – are, largely, invisible.

I’m not a fan of this new reality. Especially on the days when I really want a lot of interaction, and I storm into the room going, “ALL RIGHT, FOLKS, I’VE GOT A FOUR-HOUR WINDOW WHERE I MIGHT BE AMENABLE TO CONVERSATION WITH PEOPLE I HAVEN’T TALKED TO IN A WHILE, WHO WANTS TO INTERACT?” and I think of all the people who I’d like to get to know better and it feels like hurling a rock through a window with a note attached to it saying “HOWDY” and hoping they don’t mind shattered glass so long as it comes with a me attached.

(And never mind how much worse that gets if I’m in the mood to flirt with people I’ve been meaning to flirt with, because flirtation should probably come with some indication that flirts are amenable, and for me personally it’s hard to know that without being friends with someone for some time. Remove the friendship, remove the interaction.)

I’m a cat. I don’t much like being a cat. But being a dog wasn’t working out for me either. And this is a very transitional period in my life, I know, where I had a breakdown almost a year ago and have been restructuring almost everything in my life since then – how I interact online, how I deal with local friends, how I choose and interact with my Internet friends, who I date and who I do kinky stuff with – and it may take me another year or more before I feel comfortable with an approach.

But for now?

Well, it’s the ol’ cat meme “Kinda want you to pet me, kinda wanna bite you.” But it’s not biting in a good way. There are days I gotta hiss and rush off to the corner to do cat business, and in fact that’s most days, and I know there are cat people who want that but I’m not expecting anyone to be comfortable with me when I’m not comfortable with me.

I’m a cat. And my fur’s all knotted.

Maybe I like you. But here I am, hissing.

Hissing apologetically, but hissing.

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