COURAGE

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Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the little voice at the end of the day that says I’ll try again tomorrow.

I read and heard so much of that quote, it becomes cliche, just like my life. Every day I wake up among the cats, go out to the cats, clean the house for the cats, feed the cats, work for the cats. The more I saved, the smaller my own space, outside around me and inside within me.

Cats, cats, cats.

At one point, it becomes boring. Life becomes embedded in me so much, it’s like I saw my own hand, my own leg, my own face. Sometimes, there’s new scratch, some other time a little puncture or a few bites, but then again, my hand won’t all of a sudden grow extra finger. Over time it acquires new wrinkles, a gift of age, but it always looks the same.

And just like when people quote, do they wonder what the author was like? why would she said such thing? I bet, no one bother. They browse the internet, swipe on the fancy words, right click save, or copy, and then go to their own place, click paste, and publish for their own glory.

When someone ask, “Who said that?” Smile, shrug, move on.

It’s not like whoever said that seek recognition, if she is truly genuine in her art. Someone who have found their passion and calling would just live to answer that call and into the abyss; though they would look around sometimes and sigh in sadness at how their work was hijacked and no one is guilty because of “So what? everyone else done it”

Let’s check:

“You may know me as the author of a single aphorism. Perhaps the one showing below. I’ve been writing to make sense of my world since I was a child. Perhaps you are fortunate enough to be engaged, daily, in work you love? I am. I am grateful that every day for the last 31 years I’ve pursued my craft and calling through writing and art. I continue to push the edges of what creativity looks like and means to me and I document those explorations in a variety of ways and articulate the results in a diverse offering of service and product.”

The author’s name is Mary Anne Radmacher, and she is still going. I stopped exploring the joy of typesetting and super-imposing wonderful quotes of luminaries (including their names) on top of my own Syndi-cats after just getting started because people keep taking my work off-line, cut the portion of my disclaimer, and paste it on their boast wall and their friends fawning on them for what they read.

It must be what is called “guilty pleasure”, but so what? everyone else done it. If I ask, it will be “Oh, that represent the [event/mood/situation/etc] very well” but that’s it. They keep it there and they expect me to leave it at that, rest my case (whatever it is – they haven’t even hear it) and move on, get a life.

Everyone would think, what’s so hard about it? take a picture of cats abundant on the internet, crop and rotate, copy and paste some fancy words, and done. Everyone can do that. It’s why it’s never on ebay, or amazon, they won’t even sell for a cent a dozen.

Well, it requires the cat, most of the time never stay still long enough or always turn away when I am ready too snap, and one perfect picture is either a humongous amount of patience and thousands of trials and errors, or a rare pot of good luck. It require thoughts of the shape of the letter, the size, the color, the hue, saturation, contrast. Then it require fine tuning of placement, whether it’s aligned to the left or to the right, or a little bit down from the nose, and then the disclaimer has to be short enough to carry the message, conspicuous enough not to be intrusive, yet still beautiful it won’t ruin the whole appearance. It took hours, sometimes, days.

What glues me to my seat is the joy of producing suitable emotions in reading the words, seeing the cat’s face, and let the silent voice within sink them in in its full meaning.

Amusing that no one ever think a bit that far isn’t it?

Even a street kitten knows that.

Too bad they can’t say it in human language. So this kitten, in particular, just pull off enough of what’s left of her power, and shift away from giggling teens who tried to take a good picture.

In her new spot, the other teen, after whispers and chuckles, nudges her legs with the tip of her shoes; and then went around her friend’s back and nudge the kitten’s head with other tip of shoes. The one with her supposed to be fancy cellphone guiding.

The kitten looked irritated, but she stay quiet. She lay down flat on the ground and try to sleep.

The two girls awws and uuugh, chuckles, shifted place, and try another angle.

I went past them and into the soho cube in the kitten’s backdrop to send an order away to my buyer.

I got out twenty minutes later, and the girls finally got what they want, after one of them forcefully arranged the kitten’s pose with her hand. After a few snaps, she contorted her face and flaps her hand in disgust, while her friend was busy typing. They were walking away in giggles.

They were asking for donation for their new found “rescue cat” in an act they typed as “mercy”

People like them are abundant around instagram lately. Animal rescue is a fancy side job. So much so another girl another day showed a raggedy kitten to my vet downtown with such a happy face I thought she just won a lottery.

“So, I got this kitten” she said, chirping, “Which one would it be? Cat House or Josie?”

She didn’t even know me, hence she didn’t know that the humble girl with flip flop sitting inside one of the exam room is the one she is talking about.

My vet asked what she meant and then “Oh, I am going to write email, with heart breaking photos, and tell them I am wiling to foster this kitten but she pays me”

“That’s not how fostering is done”, said my vet.

“It is on facebook in America, and it is a lucrative side business because the foster bought a new bag in the next post”

When she learned the fact, she left, and ten minutes later the parking guy brought the same kitten inside. The same kitten she had abandoned on a hot pavement in a smoldering sunny day.

The two girls in front of me were going the other way though. They add in their bank account and pleaded with all seriousness, while typing with their grin spread from one ear to the other.

Before they click that arrow, I grabbed the phone, and throw it down to the hard road.

It shattered. Oppo F1. Anger is a powerful fuel. It turned a timid doctor to a fearsome green golem.

Between shock, disbelief and anger, they come charging and screaming on my face.

I waited. Courage does not always roar.

When they are finally tired of poking their index finger all over my body and spat all sort of obscenity. They look around, looking for backup.

I picked the IC and the memory card on the ground and show the two tiny plastic shard to them.

“You have your case, now sue me, scream, call everyone, tell your boyfriends, bring your dads”

It brought idea to their head, I can see it on their faces.

“While you do that, I will give this to police, and they will charge you with extortion and falsification. Punishable with minimum five years jail. And then I will sue you for abusing my property”

“What property! It’s street cat!”

“Founder, keeper” that’s law in Indonesia too. “I declared the kitten mine and while she is trying to sleep you poke her with your foot, and then twisted her limbs with your dirty hands and took her photo without my permission. That will be another five years in prison, and I will ask for full payment of damages as well as vet charges, X-Ray, MRI, CT Scan to see if anything is broken or if she is catching any germs from your filthy shoes and that disgusting hand. I will ask for full payment of grievances for all the suffering you have caused my cat, and all the suffering you have caused me for having to watch your despicable action”

Now where was that scream again? I can only hear the wind; and I didn’t even scream, my voice was not raised.

“But how do I tell my dad that my phone is broken?” one still protested, but this time in pitiful voice.

“I mind my own business, unlike you who meddle with sleeping cat. I lay my case here. Of others, I am ignorant”

If they can make stories for money over street cats, I am sure they are creative enough to ask their dad for a new phone.

They left.

I took the sleeping kitten.

She was not sleeping, nor try to. She was severely dehydrated and starving. I called my work off and go home.

She is anemic, and she has parasites.

She was so weak she finished a tea spoon of whiskas pouch in fourty five minutes. She can’t chew minced beef. She sips water drop by drop from small syringe.

And then she sleeps the whole day.

Sometimes courage is the little voice at the end of the day that says I’ll try again tomorrow.

And the morrow she is still here.

~ Josie

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