on a lighter note, to balance the weightiness of yom kippur, meet my new cat friend, mr. tom waits. i call him that, because he’s a big, black, scruffy, half-feral tom who waits, skulking warily in the shadows, for this cat-sucker to feed him. he loves milk and fresh fish, so far. he always retreats down the path until i go away, then he pounces on the food. afterwards, he sits there staring at me with his big yellow eyeballs, willing me to serve the next course. of course he always gets his way, i’m so cat-deprived. now i’ve got him to where he’ll actually curl up on the back steps, waiting… but he always runs his safe distance away until i go in. so far, he hasn’t said a word, but i imagine if he opened his mouth, he’d come out with some tom waits-like deep gravelly growl.
so, watching mr. tom waits gobbling up food on this major fast day of the jewish calendar, i was getting awfully hungry… yet realizing once again how much eating can be more about suppressing mental boredom or emotional hollowness, than quelling actual hunger. i suspect i’m not alone in this. at the same time, i realized i’m to the point where i’d rather watch a cat do anything, than stuff my own face. in other words, he was filling a void that food would normally go in. my whole existence has become so bare-bones and diminished, that one mangy cat trumps even eating, in its ability to take the edge off. because, bottom line, it’s been a long time since i’ve genuinely interacted with anyone closely, human or feline, and it’s not a physical need, like hunger, it’s a psychic one. one simple cat makes that much difference.
of course now i’m thinking about beer! beer is another thing that one doesn’t technically require to survive, but it effectively takes the edge off the harshness of reality. it partially fills that empty void of a life reduced to mind-numbingly mundane routine maintenance, with no end in sight. or nothing much to look forward to beyond termination. so my simple pleasures in life boil down to drinking a beer and indulging feral cats. only no beer today. so of course i’m thinking about it.
meanwhile, mr. tom waits has made himself at home sprawled out asleep on the back patio. i guess he knows where his next meal is coming from. he’s got it made, now that he’s trained this gullible human to wait on him. and of course he cleverly picked a proper establishment with good food, as perfecting menus and recipes is one of my few creative outlets left. with fresh fish a specialty of the house. which somehow (go figure) brings me back to the subject of food, on this slow-moving fast day! and no beer to while away the time…
if i had to choose between a cat (not to eat) and beer, for the rest of my life—oh, and cheese, can’t forget cheese— i don’t know what i’d do. oh, and then there’s pizza, how can one survive spiritually without pizza? you can tell where this line of thinking is going. no matter how spiritual some people like to pretend they are on this holy day, scratch the surface of their brains, and i guarantee you they’re thinking not about the next life or putting to rights this one, but about their next meal. for example, i have more than one yom kippur’s worth of unresolved interpersonal issues to confront and atone for, before it’s too late, but since putting my spiritual pretenses behind me, you won’t even have to bother digging below the surface: i’m thinking about a beer. and pizza. there, i saved you the trouble.
on the other hand… i believe a beer fast (as in, beer only, not forgoing beer) could be a very spiritual thing…….you think i’m kidding?
in the meantime, mr. tom waits has gotten bored waiting through all this rumination, and has adjourned elsewhere for his next course. he probably does a circuit of them, and then returns for dessert. i wonder what’s for dessert. hmm….
ah, yom kippur.