What I See (15), by Karen Joy Fowler

Sun 1 May 2011 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , | Leave a Comment | Posted by: Gavin

What I See, part 15 by Karen Joy Fowler

May 1, 2011

Happy International Workers Day! We pause here for a moment to remember that May Day is also the international distress signal. There’s probably a story there.

Yesterday MJ and I saw a bobcat up at Natural Bridges, hanging about the visitor’s center. Two years ago, while biking, I saw a cat in this same area, but he was much smaller. Possibly this then is the same cat, but all grown up. He was comparable in size to Mojito, looked at us briefly, and then took the ruined butterfly-viewing walkway to destinations unknown. MJ never noticed as MJ rarely takes in the big picture. Too busy nosing about for crusts of bread or discarded French fries to scan the horizon for predators. I’m curious as to how she would have reacted, but it is probably for the best. MJ doesn’t know and doesn’t need to know that the world contains cats of this size. I think it might shake her to the core.

A few weeks ago a friend described Mojito to me as a really smart dog. In fact, among those of us who know her best, MJ’s intelligence is a subject much discussed. She rarely does anything she’s asked to do, but it’s never clear whether she doesn’t understand what you want or whether your desires just carry very little weight with her. This latter possibility is the one I hold. It’s annoying to me, because I never ask her to do something without a good reason.

I’m reminded of an incident many years back concerning my daughter and this same issue. I’d promised the children that we’d stop at Dairy Queen for a special treat. I parked and my daughter got out while I was working the belts on her little brother’s car seat. As I was doing this, a truck pulled up next to us and man emerged. He was carrying a rifle. I told my daughter to get back in the car. I did this firmly, but quietly—I didn’t want to draw the attention of the man with the gun.

Instant outrage. You SAID we’d get ice cream, my daughter told me and followed the man inside. I believe he held the door open for her.

And although nothing untoward happened, the man with the rifle merely bought himself whatever they were calling blizzards back then and went back out to his truck, it’s still a memory I call on when I wish to feel misused and ignored. I don’t order people about just to hear myself talk. Mojito is not a dog asked to do tricks or even to come unless she’s genuinely needed.  It would be nice if she factored this in.

It would be nice if people stopped carrying guns about.

We are in a period of extremely bright sunshine and extremely strong winds. Much hilarity this morning, trying to keep my hat on my head.

Previous posts


Karen’s latest story is “Younger Women” available on Subterranean Online. She is also moderating the Tiptree Book Club .


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