Some Mondays feel like one depressing hole you have to crawl out of to start your week. Then there's the Monday where you feel like that, except you only have one hand to feed a pair of voracious cats who will bite off your only working hand if you do not hurry the fuck up right now and give them the can of savory tuna morsels.
Last year, I was in a major car accident that led to a broken hand. I've broken bones before, but this nearly killed me. I had no car, post traumatic stress from the accident, and the mounting pressure to work as much as I could without breaks so I could pay off the financial hardships incurred by the accident in the first place. There was no opportunity to just sit and rest up, watching Chopped and popping painkillers until my bones mended.
This is partly why I agreed to look after a pair of friendly cats. I also believed it would make things slightly better somehow. I wouldn't be totally alone. I'd have cats!
Do you own cats? Then you know cats just don't give a fuck.
Do you own a dog? Then you know cats just don't give a fuck, and that's probably why you got a dog.
Those cats didn't care about the dull ache in my arm or the heaviness of my cast. Nor did they care that I had to tie on garbage bags by myself so I could take the World's Most Pitiful Shower. The cats were not concerned with how brushing my teeth had become a Herculean task, or how I couldn't eat a cheeseburger without it crumbling like buttery dust in my solitary palm. War is hell, but so is clasping a bra that hooks in the back with a single, non-dominant hand.
On my first night, I thought, this will be fine. Then came the heaving noises. I spun around, and behold – cat vomit! Then the cat calmly walked away, as if they had started a tire fire and decided it wasn't worth the trouble of watching all that rubber burn.
Vomit! That's another thing that takes forever to clean with one fucking extremity.
The week wore on. While the cats napped away the day, I typed until my thumb bled. I stressed about every detail of the accident, berating myself for being in one in the first place. I cried a thousand buckets of tears. Why couldn't I speed through my life? Is that more vomit?! Oh no, just a hairball. Gross. More tears.
Meow meow meow, the cats cried as I struggled to open another can of food (turkey and giblets).
“I'm sorry,” I told the cats, essentially talking to myself. “You'll have to wait just a few more minutes longer.”
Meow meow meow, they replied, because they're cats.
I did the unthinkable: I slowed down. They needed to be fed, but if it took a few extra minutes to do it, would it really be the end of the world?
In three words, “No way, Jose.”
Watching those cats was probably the best thing I could've done for myself, and I am eternally grateful to them and their fuzzy bellies they won't let me pet.
Why was I rushing through everything when all that would do is make me frustrated that I couldn't do it faster?
From the time we're born, we are told to hurry up so we can do exactly what we want. Need to switch careers? Get on that job search yesterday! Want to have a family? Better get that egg ovulated! Always wanted to learn how to play piano? Plunk those keys, baby! Go, go, go, go, go!
What we actually want is to relax on a sun-drenched beach, miles away from an airport security line. Yet to get there, we have to wait for them to check we're not carrying shampoo bombs. In order to have what you want, you have to go through so much “hurrying up”. It's just one of the many reasons why humans are totally capable of completely breaking down at a moment's notice.
Slowing down made me see how much I had tried to compact into one day, as if my day was a suitcase I sat on so I could desperately cram more stuff inside. Once I began to appreciate how valuable time was instead of just muddling through it, somehow I got more done.
Focusing on just one thing at a time allowed me to finish the first draft of a pilot, make extra money, and buy a new car. It meant that I didn't just look presentable for a wedding — I looked glamorous, because I took my time. I mean, the curl in my hair was on point. Plus, those cats got fed. That's some serious business to accomplish single-handedly. Literally. Get it? Because I only had one hand? You get it. I hope you do. Seriously.
Some Mondays, it feels like nothing is going to go right. Just take a moment — you'll get a whole new perspective. And then the cats will meow a bunch, because they just don't give a fuck.