“You what?!” my trio of readers gasp in alarm.
Yes, yes, ’tis true. I let the strange man into my house. Now, granted I would never consider doing such a brainless thing these days, with two toddlers in the house… especially in the city, where our neighbors just had a shoot-out yesterday evening, leaving our parking lot crawling with police cruisers. (Perhaps being evicted would be a blessing!)
But then, I wasn’t thinking as a mother, but rather as an independent young adult woman who feared no man… who was willing to fly halfway across the world (by herself) to spend a week in Europe with a “friend” she’d met on-line. Who turned out to be very pleasant, and not at all like the lascivious murderer my mother imagined (when I left her the address and phone number where I’d be staying).
We lived in a small, rural community with very inquisitive neighbors – the kind who call you ten minutes after seeing an “unknown” vehicle leaving your driveway, to say “I was fixin’ to bring y’all over some home-made apple pie, but I seen y’all had guests.” *hint hint*
Plus, it was raining heavily that day, and we didn’t have a roof on our front porch. It was the charitable thing to do.
When I mentioned that I was “the only human home”, I should’ve added that my then-husband and I shared our home with 16 cats. Not strays, mind you. They were all named and accounted for: The original trio – Barnabus, Collin (who turned out to be female), and Keiko.
And their 12 offspring (before they were fixed, they had a manage-a-trois) : Akila, Nemo, my beloved Dominic!, Dimitri, Aeris, Pemberley, Jake, Arthur, Lancelot, Jenny, Fluffy-Poof, Dartagnan, and Rankin… Rankin was named thus because he had horribly foul gas. (Yes, we were rednecks who identified our cats by their farts!)
So I wasn’t really “alone”, due to the torrential downpour, all the cats had decided to remain indoors. They were a very curious bunch. I have a few old photographs showing them clustering around the front door when Rich was returning home from grocery shopping. He had difficulty opening the door, because the huge cat mass was pressing against it from the opposite side.
Anyway… I invited this Aflac salesman in, and he proceeded to lay his briefcase on the couch – dig out some paperwork showing insurance rates and crap, launching into his spiel about the possibility of my future non-work-related injuries preventing me from getting compensation.
Meanwhile, the cats had detected a visitor, and we making their way into the living room, in small groups… to check him out.
His prepared, very-well-rehearsed sales pitch started faltering once his eyes began flickering over the heads of cats…everywhere… attempting to do the math in his head. Losing count and having to start over, as they jumped onto the couch to sniff his briefcase, and wrapped around his legs.
Finally he stopped speaking altogether and just stared at them all. I took that opportunity to half-heartedly thank him for his trouble, but that I wasn’t interested in purchasing additional insurance.
“B..bu…but wh..what if…. What if your cats ATTACK you… and you go the hospital from severe scratches and infection.. and are laid up for weeks without work??”
I laughed out loud at his creativity. Or was it fear?
“That’s ridiculous.” I replied. “They would never hurt me.”
I couldn’t resist adding,
” …They’d only attack strangers.“
Needless to say, he left abruptly. Almost RAN across our muddy, gravel driveway to his vehicle.
Hopefully, he informed all of his buddies not to bother knocking on the Crazy Cat Lady’s door, unless they wanted to test the reliability of their own insurance claims.