While hammering out the details of meeting up with my Facebook friends, they'll often invite me over, but say something like, "I hope you aren't allergic to cats" or "You'll have to excuse the cat hair." Not once, though, has somebody said, "My cat will probably stalk you in the night, try to steal your breath, and generally scare the hell out of you." And that's unfortunate, because I really like to be prepared. I'm like a Boy Scout, but incapable of tying knots and rather comfortable with gay leaders. Then, once I arrive at my Facebook friends' homes, they'll try to convince me that their cat likes me. And it always works . . . at first.
G and I were flatmates for awhile as undergrads at The University of Idaho. I love that school and that town, and I think he's a big part of the reason why. There are many, many things that will make me think of him and, usually, smile (e.g. Alaska, records, Broker's, poker, San Francisco, Chicago, pooping, taxes, a dude walking down the road with his headphones in and singing at the top of his lungs). The list is long. Unfortunately, since our time at university, he has become a lover of cats, much to my detriment.
I last saw G about a year ago (I think) when he and A got married and invited me and my wife down to Galveston Island for a wonderful weekend. It really was a grand time. Because of my shenanigans on Friday night, I woke up feeling very sickly and cranky on Saturday morning, but other than that, it was perfect. It was a happy occasion with great company, a warm beach, food and drink everywhere, and even a guy getting smacked in the face with a fish. Plus, two cool people got married. I'd been wanting to pay a visit to G and A ever since that weekend, but circumstances just sort of prevented it. So I feel very happy that this project removed all possible barriers and excuses to seeing them again. I'm still trying to figure out how to be a great long-distance friend to G, to A, and to others, but I hope that this trip helped me a bit.
Things weren't much different this time around. There was no marriage, no face/fish smacking, and no ocean, but I still felt like I had a grand time, even if it consisted more of watching a documentary on the Manning family and less of tanning my doughy physique and building sandcastles. I also had a pretty good breakthrough with their cats. Because I slept in the room where they ate, I became their friend, or at least somebody they could tolerate. I started to become more comfortable around them, and my sphincter began to clench less and less in their presence. Heck, by the end of it all, I was juuuuuuuuuuuust about ready to announce that I had been cured of my cat phobia. Then I took a selphie, looked at the picture, and realized that I had been about two seconds away from being mauled by a cranky puss. So there it is. My cat threat level is back up to red, and I've only got about four hours before I meet up with my next cat-owning Facebook friend. Oh, joy.