Sunday, February 27, 2011
I hesitated this morning when I swung my legs over the side of the bed; that's how it works; I pause and look down to the floor every time I get out of bed, because my friend Beevo's favorite spot in the house is about three-quarters buried underneath my side. I'm told by the person who would know that Beevo's always liked to be partially under the bed, that as a puppy, you could find him similarly positioned.
Beevo wasn't there this morning.
Beevo was the man of my house, which I appreciated, as someone had to be. He approached the job of running this place with a demeanor somewhere between Mr. Belvedere and a prison warden. I used to say that Beevo sent us all a daily email blast, with a timeline specifying all of our required duties for that day. I took he and Travis out each morning at 8:30 and then fed them; I do work with my online courses early every day, and if 8:30 passed and I was still busy, Beevo would nudge his way into my office and stand next to me. If I didn't immediately make the move to put on my shoes, he'd gently put his paw on my leg.
Seriously. It's time to go. I'm less asking than am I not asking.
We'd end each day with Beevo's spot check of the house. You do this, I do this - we make sure everything is locked and then we go to bed.
Beevo was more thorough.
Fridge is still there. Check. We still have a living room? Check. Toilet? Did the toilet get away? No. Check.
More importantly, he'd check to see the other animals (one dog, three cats) were where they were supposed to be. Always, always - the other animals needed to be where they were supposed to be. Their daily schedules were a little more severe than mine.
Hey - you got time to lean, you got time to clean. Pick up a broom. Let's go. These kids today.
But nighttime was more of a preventive exercise.
Travis - get in your bed. Summer - stay off the counter. That other cat - get back in your room. Ed...don't make any sudden movements.
If Beevo is the hero of the fictionalized version of our household, Ed's the antagonist, an old, large, black cat who occasionally rains down thunderous paws upon the unsuspecting. Ed's your mildly racist grandfather who will whack the back of your legs with his walking stick if you block his view of an All in the Family rerun.
And Ed, as Beevo's first ever email to me would have read, is the one who must be contained.
Every 5 1/2 hours, you'd see some approximation of the following scene at my house.
Ed attacks one of the other cats. Beevo backs Ed down.
Ed howls for food. Beevo backs Ed down.
Someone knocks on the door. Beevo backs Ed down.
The vacuum cleaner gets turned on. Beevo backs Ed down.
Granted, not all of those occurrences automatically present a causal nexus to Ed, but upon my pointing that out to Beevo, I received the following message:
That's sweet. Look, you're new here. So I'll cut you a break. Just go back to watching the Real Housewives and let the men hash this out.
I never actually heard Beevo recite Nicholson's "you can't handle the truth" testimony from A Few Good Men, but had Ed mysteriously not turned up for breakfast one morning after a loud thunderstorm, there wouldn't be too much mystery about who called for the code red. That reminds me - once my lady type friend, who spent almost her entire adult life with Beevo and Sadie, took him to pick up a pizza, leaving Beevo in the car when she ran inside. It wasn't quite ready, and, as was recounted to me in complete seriousness, the initial thought was she needed to call Beevo to let him know she'd be just a minute inside waiting for the pizza.
I'm telling you - the dog was damn serious about keeping a tight schedule.
Beevo was a good boy.
My lady type friend and I have been together three years. In that time, we've lost two dogs and a parent. We heal only to be shattered again.
Beevo came home from an overnight hospital stay this week, and not long after crawled about three quarters underneath my side of the bed and never got back up.
I'm mad at him. Someone's got to keep us all on task and keep Ed in his place. No one around here is quite sure how to be.
Too much death. It's been a hard, hard stretch.