Four cats and two Pomeranian dogs had the pleasure of pissing and shitting in the basement for nearly five months. Two of the cats and both dogs would be removed by the fiancé of the deceased; the other two cats were there for us to take care of.
My girlfriend’s father died in December; we hopped across the country in April to clean up (clean out?) the estate. After a few days of calling area shelters, we found the one from which the cats were adopted.
What that means is: I don’t need to take them to a vet to put them down. The shelter may still put them down, but they would give the cats a week or two to be adopted. Plus, the shelter already knew the cats—no need to draw blanks on medical histories, etc.
I don’t listen to the radio. I used to. First to oldies (Motown and early 1960s) when I was a passenger in my mother’s taxi service, then to classic rock and alternative (The Doors and Pearl Jam) when I got my driver’s license and most recently to indie music and NPR on public radio stations.
But that was years ago. Now, radio comes to me in the form of SomaFM’s streaming Indie Pop Rocks or myriad podcasts, like Skeptoid, Planet Money and Radiolab. The biggest contributing factor to not hearing a radio is not driving a car for five years.
So when I rented a car for a visit to Massachusetts in April to help prepare my girlfriend’s dead father’s estate for sale, I was bombarded with Katy Perry and Christina Perri, Avril Lavigne and Ceelo Green, Bruno Mars and Owl City. So this is what the kids listen to…
First thing’s first: Remove the cats from the shithole.
The cats knew what was going on. Without struggle and nary a mew, they accepted their fates. Off to the shelter. Off to their final resting place. Off to be slaughtered because some bearded asshole from Portland decided it was time.
I had never heard Perri’s “Jar of Hearts” before. The length of the song is exactly the same time it takes to travel from my girlfriend’s dead father’s estate to the local animal shelter with two cats in the car looking at you like you’re a fucking murderer for the entire ride.
Who do you think you are?
Their eyes were huge. Huge, unblinking, unrelenting eyes staring me down. Four minutes of melodramatic pop or an eternity in a rental car.
You’re gonna catch a cold from the ice inside your soul. Don’t come back for me.
At least in an ambulance you’re trying to save somebody. At least in a hearse they’re already dead.
Don’t come back for me. Don’t come back at all. Who do you think you are?
I don’t know who I think I am, cats. I never really gave it much thought.
It’s mid-May now, and your names were never even posted on the adoption website. Rest assured I won’t be coming back for you. And please stop haunting me with this song.
Michael Buchino is a graphic artist in Portland, Oregon, and the blog moderator for AIGA Portland. His nescient Twitter ramblings can be found via @buchino. Sometimes he responds to Gmails addressed to michaelbuchino. His now-quiescent blog Beard Revue was named Best of Portland in 2010.