Sunday, August 06, 2006

Unexpected Kindnesses

As you might imagine, I felt pretty drained and unfocused after Cami's illness and death. It wasn't very easy to pay attention to things like dissertations and setting up my parents' new DSL connection. Furthermore, Ms. Spots needed some time to herself right when I really needed some petting.
All the same, I have to point out that some nice things happened on Friday as well. The staff at, where I had ordered the DSL, were very pleasant when I asked incoherent questions about installation and assured me that if I could set up DSL in Prague, I wouldn't have any problem at all here (mostly true).
My parents claim they don't get many phone calls, but I think that these days they get quite a few (all the more reason for that DSL!). One that came in Friday afternoon was from a man named Leon who told me he lived nearby and had done some work under the house for my mother. He said he had some pictures of rabbits that he wanted to give her, because he knew she loved bunnies.
This certainly wasn't what I expected to hear when I answered the phone and admitted that I wasn't my mother. While my mother is wonderful with animals, she is the member of the family who apparently never feels any need to bring them home with her. I never think of her as being unusually fond of rabbits; that's my father and my role. My mother simply deals with and becomes attached to the rabbits we bring into her sphere of influence. But, of course, she becomes very fond of those she gets to know.
I told Leon that we would all be happy to see his rabbit pictures. I wasn't at all sure what these would be like--photos? cutesy cartoons?--but I wasn't about to reject someone's kind thought. Leon said he could drop them off in about fifteen minutes.
Leon arrived with 11 or 12 stunning photos, printed from an email, of a rabbit and a deer who clearly had an amazing and wonderful relationship. Anyone who spends much time with animals discovers that interspecies friendship doesn't always involve humans, but I had never seen anything quite like this. The two were touching noses, grooming together, resting together, and so forth.
I told Leon that the photos were gorgeous and that he could not have chosen a better time, because we had just lost one of our rabbits. He didn't say much, just reiterated that he thought my mother would enjoy them.
When my parents came home this afternoon, we took a lot of pleasure in the photos. I think we'll want to put them up somewhere where we can see them often.
Another call that came in around that time was from my aunt. Usually my parents call her, since her health is a little uncertain, but apparently she was feeling well enough to call them. Although her voice was too weak for me to recognize at first, she seemed to be in better shape than when I visited her last summer, and we had a nice conversation. One of my cousins was with her, so the two of us got to talk too. I didn't tell my aunt about Cami, but my cousin and I had a long talk about pets, as she and her husband had had a wonderful dog named Muffy for many years and they still miss her.
Not long after that call, one of the members of my writing group called to offer her condolences. She wondered whether Ms. Spots and I would like to house-sit for ten days in the near future. Granted, there would also be cats, but we didn't think that had to be a problem. I don't know whether I will house-sit, but if I did happen upon another suitable companion for Ms. Spots, ten days in a San Francisco victorian ought to be enough to sidestep lapine territorial issues on the home front.
Finally, John called to suggest I come over for dinner and a movie. I did try to suggest that we do it on my side of the Bay in order to keep Ms. Spots company in her own bereavement (I think she may never have spent a night all by herself before), but to some extent I wanted to get out of the house, so I consented and put the radio on the classical station for Ms. Spots.
During all this she was very anxious for petting and obviously wanted me to get off the phone, although she wasn't so rude as to bite through the cord as Rabbitoid used to in his heyday (a rabbit who believed the phone was his mortal enemy in coming between him and his humans). She merely grabbed the phone in her teeth once or twice and made a threatening gesture toward the cord prior to settling in a pet-me posture where Cami's pen had been. After I got off the phone and was ready to give her my full attention, she looked disdainfully at me and removed to the back yard (fortunately not for long).
So, while I felt very fragile and so did Ms. Spots, we got through the day and people were pretty nice to us in unexpected ways.
As for the movie, we ended up with Pennies From Heaven on the grounds that neither of us had seen it and I tend to like Dennis Potter. And, admittedly, that it wasn't as long as some of the avant-garde compilations lurking in John's collection, or as twisted as some of the other possibilities. It was still pretty strange, but at least it wasn't upsetting. It went well with the pasta-and-pesto and red wine.


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