Sunday, October 19, 2008

Herding Cats

Yesterday I attended a delightful party in honor of my "vintage friend" Cathy's 65th birthday. Cathy, who will always be a year younger than me as long as I stay alive (think about it) looked marvelous in a necklace of birds made from precious stones. The hummingbirds had long metal beaks.

Conversation at my table focused not on our own medical stories, which are getting less attractive all the time, but on our cats. They, too, age and, like us, they are living longer due to advanced medical techniques. If I got this right, Jim's cat is getting insulin twice a day, a quick and easy shot he claims. Kathleen's cat, who was named Sugar long before she showed up with diabetes, gets insulin too. Gini's cat Mariah, who was getting thin from kidney failure, gets hydrated every other day, which has lifted her general energy so that she's gone back to being "very assertive" during the ten-minute treatment. Marilyn has a dog, but we let her sit with us anyway.

I got to thinking about this. (Thinking about unimportant things is one of the privileges of an unbusy life.) Why do so many Unitarians have cats? For this large collection of Cathy's friends, while it did not exclude the rest of the world, was mainly composed of those of us who have known her through church, often for decades.

I trust that my readers can think of many ways my observation itself could be wrong, based on a limited sample and so on; and my conclusion could be wrong even if my observation were right, and you are welcome to try to set me straight. But I couldn't help but remember that one of my favorite ministers once said, "Trying to get Unitarians to agree on anything is like herding cats."

A delightful image, isn't it? But it is true that you will see the bumper sticker that says "Question Authority" more often in Unitarian parking lots than at other churches. So many of us come here because we need and want a church but can't stand having anyone tell us what to believe. Even what to say we believe. In other words, we are not pack animals.

There are many cities that, like Rome and Paris, have sizable cat colonies. It has been noted that in these colonies, each cat tends to have an area about three feet square that is theirs. Cats, then, dot certain plazas arranged in a fairly orderly fashion, together, but each in its own space.

All this didn't really lead me to post the poll I just put up today. I've been wanting to do that ever since I saw that it was possible. This is just an excuse.

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