Until a few months ago, I was working in a semiconductors manufacturing company as an engineer. It was a very stressful workplace because every little decision involves a whole lot of money. The cost of running such an operation is staggeringly high, while profit margin is actually rather small, so it is a real cut throat kind of place. Anyway, one of the biggest catastrophe in such a facility is the event of a little electrical interruption, even a few seconds of lost power can cause massive panic, millions of dollars lost, and a beepers hailstorm in the middle of the night.
So power outage is never fun while I was employed there. But one day in the summer when it was very hot, and I just got back from work and my face was stuck in the freezer, I got a phone call from my father up in Canada. He informed me they did not have power for the entire day.
"Oh it is a good thing I tell ya." He said,
"Come again?" I replied,
"We get to hang out with our neighbors! We all had to clear out our fridges, so we had a picnic on the street." He said. And then he attacked me with a question, "Do you talk to your neighbors?"
"Oh dad, I don't have time for neighbors." I said, also thinking I didn't have time for this conversation either.
So that was more than two years ago. But it got me thinking one day, until we figure out how to live in a sane way, perhaps we can ALL use a power outage everyday?
Armed with a new set of principles which must include interaction with those living in close proximity to us, My Harry and I came up with a better idea: We walk our cats every night. Yes, we committed ourselves and made promises to our feline friends to take them out so they can roam around in flower beds and climb trees. We treat them like adult cats that they are, and in doing so, we gain a certain distinction among our neighbors.
"My God, that's a cat on a leash! How did you do that? My cat would never walk like that! Oh my, you are not even holding onto that leash? Aren't you afraid they run into the road? What if they won't come down from the tree? Do you mind if I take a picture with my cell?"
I get these questions ALL the time now. And I answer very slowly, because what I've got to say is always a shock for people to hear. It helps that I am with the friendliest kitty in the world, especially towards children. She fluffs up, flops over, and lifts her leg. That's her signature move. And I get to pretend nag, "Jo--sie...come now...be a lady, do ladies lift their legs like that?" And a really cool conversation always follows.
And when there are no human neighbors to be had, I observe my kitties, and see that they too are making friends by being out at night.