I have mentioned several times before that Buddy, the stray that adopted me, has an affection for my lap. He seeks it out in all weather, at all times of day or night, and whether I really want him there or not. But, sometimes, I welcome it.
He gets agitated whenever I am not where I am “supposed to be” or when I’m “supposed to be there.” Anytime after 7:00 PM I am to be on the couch in the living room, with my lap open and ready for him to snuggle. Let me tell you, that’s not really welcome when we’re having a Santa Ana but since he needs routine and stability I’ll settle in for the duration. A glass of water nearby, a book to read, and the remote control (as if there’s ever anything to watch) and I’m good to go. And so is he.
Once in a while as he’s burrowing into my lap and kneading my leg (pretty painful when I’m wearing shorts) I’ll look down at him and ask “why do you need me so much?” I realize that he’d been a stray, chased away and probably abused by too many people in the neighborhood, for at least two years struggling to survive as an abandoned pet, and without any sort of affection all explain his need. But I still wonder why he seems to need me all the time.
One day when I asked that question out loud, he looked back at me. He seems to have no problem staring directly into my eyes. That’s unnerving, but it’s part of his personality so I go with it. That day, though, I read into the look that it’s the other way around. It’s not that he needs me so much as I need him.
He keeps me more or less centered and out of my own head (sometimes). I have to think about something and/or someone other than myself, someone/something else’s needs. But also because it shows I’m connected to the world, even if in a small, seemingly insignificant way.
Tuesday night was not a happy one in my household. I went into seclusion in my bedroom. Buddy made his entrance. The way he usually does that is by crying at my door and then making a running leap onto the bed and nestling on my lap.
He didn’t cry Tuesday night, he just came right into the bedroom. He didn’t jump, either; he climbed onto the bed this time. He walked to my lap and pawed at my arm. I said “not now, Buddy.” He pawed again, and I said again, more sharply, “not NOW, Buddy, please.”
He climbed onto my lap, circled around and lay down. Usually he faces the same direction I am, looking towards the same wall, whatever. Tuesday night, he faced me. He stayed like that a couple minutes and, when I tried to ignore him, he turned around and put his paw on my arm. He seemed to be saying ‘I’m here. It’ll be okay.’ I kept ignoring him and he lay across my arm, trying to capture my attention. I was too upset.
He slinked off my lap, and lay across the bed, against my calves, kind of whimpering. I looked down at him, realized what I was doing. I shut down the computer and started to pet him. I finally turned off the radio and focused on him. He looked back at me, slowly closed his eyes and started purring again.
He didn’t change the outcome and he certainly hasn’t made me any happier about the results. But he reminded me that there’s more to life than politics, anger, and hatred.
I was a timely reminder. And it’s a good reason to have pets.