Yesterday, Possum and I discussed his Christmas List, as we do every holiday. He wore his Santa hat; knowing how winsome he looks in it, hoping to put me in a more receptive mood.
This year, he began by saying that he wasn't going to ask Santa Paws for any more cats, as he had the winter we got Lion. He said he has his paws full with managing his current "staff," to use his term. He reported that Harris seems weirdly immature for his age, Lion has anxiety issues, Wendy is paranoid, and Toffee doesn't have enough respect for him.
I told him that was fine, as I, too, thought we were full up. He reminded me that there are still many cats who need food, shelter, and help finding good homes and, since we can't take them all, we should donate to the local rescues, and I told him that was already on my to-do list.
Possum then wanted to know why Mr. Obama can't be president forever. This was also on his Christmas list. Possum was a baby during Obama's first presidential campaign and he has always been a strong supporter. He thinks that the campaign's motto, "Vero Possumus," translates as, "Hey, let's all be like Possum." (Possum's full name is Possumus P. Passamaquoddy, but we rarely call him that. In fact, I usually call him Mousie, for reasons too complicated and boring to go into. . . . and he will probably be annoyed that I even mentioned it here.)
"He seems like a very smart, decent, hardworking guy," said Possum. "Why is it necessary to make some dramatic change just because a few years have passed? It's stupid to try to fix something that isn't broken, and it looks like this new guy is nasty and clueless, and is already making a terrible mess."
"But Possum," I said, "We have no choice. It's in our Constitution that we have elections every four years. We are all supposed vote, and pick someone to be president for one or two terms. In this case, one person got nearly three million more votes than the other one. But then a bunch of people called the "Electoral College" got together, and they picked someone else, following a set of rules designed to protect the states that once allowed slavery, even though slavery is illegal now."
"Good heavens! That makes no sense at all," said Possum. "It's not only antiquated and unfair; it seems extremely dangerous in this case. Very bad things could happen. In a democracy, the people's vote should determine who is president. You really ought to do something to correct this, although you've already let it go on for too long." And I agreed, although I am not personally taking ALL of the blame. Then we agreed that we were lucky to live in Massachusetts, a state that has stood for democracy liberty, education, and civil rights from the beginning.
Possum then consulted his list. He said he wanted lots of catnip toys and those little springs (which always get stepped on and lost under furniture) for himself and his staff, so he won't have to share his but so he'll be able to help himself to theirs whenever he wants. Selfless acts of generosity are what make the Christmas season especially lovely, don't you think?
Possum thinks that selfless acts of generosity toward him are fabulous, so he encourages them. I've noticed that all the cats have been offering him portions of their supper recently. However, I've also noticed something else — the other cats flinching as Possum playfully pretends to chomp on their ears just before they offer him their bowls. Possum is such a good actor that it looked quite real.
Possum had no comment when I mentioned this. He continued with his list. Freeze-dried rabbit ears are a new thing he wants to try. He also wants a daily supply of smoked turkey from Trader Joe's.
Then we got to the heart of the matter. Once again he is respectfully asking Santa Paws for a bicycle rickshaw. This is the model he wants:
He asks for one every year, the idea being that I will pedal him and a few select pals to the dumpsters behind the finer restaurants (the former Hamersley's Bistro was a longed-for destination) so they could check out the pickings.
This year's desired model is a lot simpler than those from previous years, including this Indian-style model from Anthropologie in 2011 and this crazy number with klaxon horns from 2012. Possum explained that he would like me to ask some members of the Garden Club, who are very good at working with plastic and glitter, to decorate this model. He wants streamers on the handlebars, flower garlands on the carriage, and ribbons woven into the wheels. As usual, he wants some colorful catnip cushions for lounging, too.
He has never specified what sort of uniform I'll be expected to wear as I cart him and his cronies around town. I hope we never get that far because I'm sure he has some ideas that he's not telling me.
I told Possum that he should ask my husband for a bicycle rickshaw this year, since he seems to like, if not love/admire/worship, my husband a great deal more than me nowadays. I have been neglected these past 18 months or so. I have had much more free time since I am seldom weighed down by a purring cat anymore. Last spring, I even had time to design a large hardcover Apple book for my husband's birthday, entitled The Year You Stole My Cat. It was mostly filled with photos of my husband trying to work while pinned to our sofa and chairs by a large, blissful Possum.
Possum was disappointed by my response. He can usually wrap me around his paw and get anything he wants short of a bicycle rickshaw. My husband is made of sterner stuff. But Possum proceeded to climb all over my husband and squeeze himself next to him on the leather chair, purring so loudly that it sounded like snorting from across the room, where I was wrapping gifts.
I don't know if a bicycle rickshaw will appear this year. It's not my job. But I will keep you posted.
I did notice that, unusually, Possum was at the foot of my side of the bed last night, where he warmed my feet as he used to back in the old days. That was nice. I wonder if it was my Christmas present from him for the year.