Spring is Winter

There was not a lot of urine. But it was following gravity down the vet’s examining table.

How had I gotten here?

Was it my urine?

I remember being at yearbook camp and talking about first sentences that grab readers.


Tybalt is fluffy and white and has the nature of the Buddha. He clearly needed to go to the doctor.

While we waited for the vet tech to come get him for blood work, I decided to get him out of his carrier. He looked over the edge of the table, judged that he probably couldn’t make it with his old, sick body, and nevertheless launched himself, falling in a sad cat plop that would have broken all my ribs had I plopped that way. He’s a cat, though, so I guess he was fine. I picked him up, and as my dress felt suddenly warm, I realized he was peeing on both of us. Stuck him back on the table. Moved the pad on the examining table to dam the flow of pee.

They needed a urine sample.

The receptionist at the vet’s office just got out of the hospital. She was in for eight days, she told me. She couldn’t breathe. Covid twice. I told her to take all the time she needed.

As Tyb and I (wet) waited, I thought, could we maybe not interact with anyone else who is in danger today?

I stood there a while holding my pee dam, until the vet tech came in, and sucked up a bit of the sample into her vial.

Mission accomplished.

Last Sunday I won the Easter egg hunt, and my aunt talked with us about how she will soon die.

It was an ass backward Easter.

My porch now has yellow and orange and purple flowers in pots, and the weather is perfect.

And my cat is diabetic.

I listened to Conan O’Brien interview Al Franken and drank coffee on my beautiful porch, and there is no insulin for cats in this entire city.

Oddly, my vet’s office had run out of insulin. They’re great, and I love them with the love you hold for people who supported you through the euthanasia of old friends (old cat friends, don’t freak out). “You can try here and here and here and here and here,” the vet said, which I thought was fine because I had the whole afternoon.

I dropped off the insulin prescription first at my own pharmacy. I needed to pick up my antidepressants. Did I ever! They said they would have everything ready in a couple of hours.

As O’Brien and coffee had soothed me, I thought, you know, I’ll walk to the drugstore. It’s not that far, I’m stressed out, the weather is beautiful.

It wasn’t that far. Just outside the drugstore, a man in a sweater vest was shouting about the end of the world, like, whatever.

Then I waited in the long line until the pharmacy worker said they had no knowledge of the insulin prescription.

I had given them a paper copy, a hard copy, two hours before.

This didn’t inspire my trust. Who was working there? Mr. Gower?

Finally they realized they had set it aside with a post-it that said , “Voice mail full” (FML) and told me they can’t fill a veterinary prescription, which isn’t true.

Now, I had been peed on, refused life saving medication, but it was still beautiful and I was walking.

Walking back, I was so infuriated that I walked straight up Main rather than down lovely residential streets. A guy outside a pawn shop was smoking a cigarette. A woman speaking Spanish on the phone walked quickly past me. Construction workers messing with the steel tracks of our soon-to-be-extended light rail showed little concern as I tried to pick my way through their zone.

Vet’s office suggested other places to call. So I started calling them.

Calling places is the sixth circle of hell for me.

A Wal-Mart told me they thought they could help. Except they weren’t sure exactly what kind of insulin….

Then my flip-flop opened its mouth and started flapping around every time I took a step.

You know how every season change you have a wardrobe malfunction because something stained or broken or torn or worn got put away like that? This was my flip flop, losing its glue between the top and the bottom of the sole.

So then I was walking down the busy street near my home, and a guy from an apartment building called, “Hey, beautiful!”

I did look beautiful in my favorite muumuu dress, and what is also true is that I was carrying one of my shoes, and I called back, “Well, I still got one shoe!”

Which made me really miss New York. People yelling out positive comments to me. I always took them as a win.

I drove to the Wal-Mart. The pharmacist there told me they had some very similar insulin, but it wasn’t quite the same, and to both of us, being exactly the same seemed important.

Then I sat in my car in the Wal-Mart parking lot and called my mom.

Then I drove to one other Wal-Mart, where the pharmacy was closed, so I took a tour.

I hadn’t been to a Wal-Mart in ages, and its starkness was surprising. Those perfectly nice people of “The Home Edit,” their merch was on double sale, and I secretly approved their lack of success solving white people problems.

I took every aisle, and some aisles three times. I didn’t want to go home and try to find a way to calm down after the day’s defeat. Tyb was there. I knew he was sick. I had done everything I could to help him, and I had failed.

I sank into the capitalism of it all. Maybe I needed a tabletop fire feature. Maybe I should get new dishes. Maybe what I could buy was ten beach towels.

I scanned a pack of clothespins, some velcro stick-em tabs, and a loaf of cinnamon bread.

I was in a neighborhood I rarely frequent, and though I was in the city I’ve lived in most, I was legit lost for a while there. Lost like, which way is the sunset? Lost like, oh, wait, is that where Mission Mall used to be? Oh, I’m on Mission Road.

Missions. Ha.

I tried another online place when I got home, and realized I had lost the prescription.

It didn’t matter. These people would call my vet to approve it.

Things fall apart at the same time they come together. People die at the same time people get well.

You would think with 46 years behind me, I’d be used to this.

Spring isn’t just spring. It’s also last winter and next winter. Easter is Halloween and Christmas. Winter isn’t just winter. It’s the next spring. And the next. Thanksgiving is Easter, and Christmas is the Fourth of July.

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