Everything Worries Twinkie!
(No, not that Everything.)
Yes, everything worries Twinkie. "Twinkie" is a one-and-a-half year old cat we have living here, perpetually wide of eye and fleet of paw. And "everything" is everything, that is to say, all things that carry physical existence. But let me qualify that, this is not exactly true -- I really mean everything that she can see or hear. Ideas that I might carry within my own personal brain (which I got on sale at Radio Shack) do not always startle her, because, and in this way she is exactly like every other cat, she does not think they exist. But often she is alarmed at the tangible result of those ideas, such as when I stand from my chair (which causes in her some alarm), when I pour a glass of tea (which produces quite a bit of alarm), or when I walk across the room (which causes her so much alarm that she runs for the stairs, usually trampling another cat, among our many hundreds, in the rush).
This is more remarkable because her sister, Jinx, is a creature utterly unencumbered by fear. It's true, I have yet to do anything which could cause her so much as to blink. No sudden movement will cause her to panic and shouting is completely ineffective (unless her name is involved, in which case she will rapidly approach, expecting food). I can only thank whatever demonic power is responsible for the creation of cats that Jinx has yet to turn her devious feline mind towards the torment of Twinkie, because it is obvious that the property damage would be large.
The ironic thing is, were these to be outdoor cats (which they are not), it would be Twinkie who would have the better chance of surviving the many wilds (and dogs) of our neighborhood. Were she to run out our front door – of which she is morbidly afraid, but just supposing – no canine persecution would ever catch her. Jinx, on the other hand, would sit patiently while the dog ran up and soaked her in yellow ammonia, for all she cared. Both cats have had sheltered lives, and they're bound to be genetically similar, but they turned out, as far as I can describe, as complete opposites. Jinx's laidback worldview comes as a direct result of her sheltered life.
It seems to me, there are times when the timid approach to the world is simply the most rational way to live.
Original version written: March 31, 2002.