Maybe You Should Have Moved Directly To Nirvana

, , , , , | Friendly | October 6, 2019

One winter, my friend was clearing away snow from her driveway and, due to the nice temperature and suitable texture of snow, she had a whim to make a snowman. Despite being a middle-aged recent widow, she was out there for a couple hours playing, like a child. Good for her right? Very sweet.  

Well, after she got the basic snowman made, she wasn’t done having fun, so she decided to test her artistic skills by making the sculpture a bit more advanced. Being Buddhist, she chose to make it into the shape of a classic Buddha statue. It turned out pretty nice.  

Finally done, she went inside and was sipping hot chocolate and enjoying her great mood when there was a knock at the door. It was the police!  

They apologised for bothering her, but explained that their policies force them to intervene in all complaints, regardless of whether any laws were broken. She was terribly anxious and confused, wondering what she may have done.  

Her neighbors had called the police because they didn’t think the snow Buddha should be allowed. After all, it was on the front lawn, “where children might see it”! How terrible that would be, for Bible Belt kids to find out that non-Christians exist. They might grow up to think that cultural diversity is okay, and that people different from their families are interesting equals rather than “others” to be shunned. Yes, let’s protect those kids.  

My poor friend was a lot less likely to enjoy time in her yard after that. 

Imagine thinking it’s a police matter that someone’s failing to hide their minority status.

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Cats Off, To Responsible Pet Owners

, , , , , | Friendly | October 5, 2019

(I’m sitting in the waiting room of the clinic with my kitten in a cat crate on my lap. My female kitten has been desexed, and now we are waiting for a vet to come and remove her stitches. As she has had stitches, she also has a cone on her head for the last two weeks and it’s safe to say she’s well and truly over it. The poor thing is softly doing sad little kitten “meep” sounds and looks miserable. As she is also rather small, even as a kitten, the sight looks even more woeful. She has been getting a lot of sympathy from the staff and the receptionist says that since it will take less than five minutes to get the stitches out, she will bump me ahead of the queue to get me out of here quickly. A woman waiting with her dog is also in the waiting room and sees my kitten.)

Woman: “Oh, no, poor thing! What happened here?”

Me: “She’s okay; she’s just a bit miserable at the moment because she’s had the cone for the last couple of weeks. Thankfully, it comes off today!”

Woman: “That’s good; she certainly doesn’t look happy! Is everything okay?”

Me: “Oh, yeah. She’s just been desexed. We’re just here to get the stitches out. She’s had the cone to stop her licking at her stitches.”

(The woman looks rather taken aback by this news.)

Woman: “Desexed? What do you mean by that?”

Me: “Well, I had her spayed.”

Woman: *still looking confused* “Yes, but why?”

(I now assume the woman is confused because my kitten looks rather small for her age, and therefore looks a little too young to have been desexed.)

Me: “Well, it’s to stop her having kittens herself. My other kitten is a male; he was desexed, as well. She looks small, but she’s at the age where it’s safe.”

Woman: *now looking slightly annoyed for some reason* “What does spaying involve, exactly?”

Me: “Well, it’s not the nicest thing, but it involves the removal of the female’s ovaries to stop egg production. Thankfully, it’s a very routine procedure, and apart from the cone and some stitches, my little girl has come out wonderfully. She was walking up and about in two days. She just can’t wait to get the cone off.”

Woman: *now looking horrified* “That sounds horrid! Why would you do such a thing?!”

Me: *taken very much aback, but also annoyed because it’s really none of this woman’s business* “Well, cats make wonderful pets, but they also aren’t good for the ecosystem. I’m not a cat breeder and wouldn’t know how to properly breed kittens and look after them, so I desex my cats to ensure they don’t contribute to a feral cat problem, and also to reduce the number of cats in shelters. Especially since my other cat is a boy; I don’t want kittens. He’s been desexed, too. Not only that, but a female cat in heat is irritating. They meow and screech horribly, and they mark their territory by peeing everywhere.”

Woman: *thoroughly disgusted now* “Well, that sounds ridiculous. I could not imagine putting my poor kitty through that torture and removing their body parts just to stop nature happening. You should be ashamed of yourself!”

(I was about to make my retort when I heard the receptionist call my name. Not wanting to start a fight and just wanting to get out of there, I went in and got my cat’s stitches out. The whole thing took two minutes, and my kitten already looked much happier without the cone. As I walked out, I overheard the receptionist call out for a neutering. Guess who stood up with her dog?)

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Has Good Reason To Be A Scaredy-Cat

, , , , , | Friendly | October 4, 2019

I foster cats and kittens and have for about five years. I have two of my own female cats, and about two years ago I was given a stray female that someone had rescued from their yard where their dog tried to eat it. She was under a year old and heavily pregnant, which is usually a really bad combo. Sure enough, three weeks after she arrived, she popped out three kittens. Despite my best efforts, including hand-feeding the tiny black kitten she rejected, none of them made it past day two. Whilst very sad, this is pretty common, given she was injured and very young to begin with.

I kept her for another two months, getting her used to humans and caught up on her vaccines. She went from a terrified, half-starved, neurotic mess, to a very friendly and playful cat. I posted an updated photo of her into our foster group chat. One of the newest members was a middle-aged woman who had just moved to town and told us she’d been fostering animals for years.

She asked if she could have the cat, as she looked just like her old cat that had died the previous year. She even offered to take care of the vet bills if she could have the cat. I explained that the cat was due to be desexed in two weeks but she said that would be fine.

I thought, “Score!” to myself, happy that the kitty dubbed Lady would be going to another experienced cat owner. I dropped her off at this woman’s house and the woman seemed ecstatic. Lady seemed pretty happy, sniffing around the woman’s hallway and batting at a fake plant. I handed over the vet bills and didn’t think much of it again, which for me is a coping mechanism because I do very much miss the cats I hand over.

About a month later, there was a huge fight in the group chat between the “private” fosterers and the ones like me who are attached to a local vet’s office, who also runs the pound. As a result, the group chat disbanded and two separate ones were made, but I remained friends with a couple of the private fosterers and they reached out from time to time with questions or random comments. One day, one of the other girls messaged me, telling me I was going to be mad.

Turns out “Miss Experienced Fosterer” had never gotten Lady desexed, and had continued fostering male cats that had not been desexed. She had posted a picture in the group chat of poor Lady, again heavily pregnant, her ears and face covered in scars and missing fur from where she’d clearly been attacked, probably during mating. My poor former kitty looked miserable. The woman’s message said, “Can anyone take her? I don’t have time for kittens.” Most people in their chat had obviously forgotten where she got Lady. Luckily, my friend offered to come get her right away and brought her straight to my house. When she saw me and my cats she collapsed on my lap and refused to move for three hours, with my other cats coming over to lick her and snuggle. I took her to the vet, had her wounds addressed, and brought her home again.

That was over a year ago. She and her two kittens, Comet and Captain, are all desexed, vaccinated, and living happily at my house, where they will stay. Lady still panics whenever we go on holiday and hides immediately when she sees a male cat. She’s much shyer and more skittish than she was when she left here the first time, and it will probably take years for me to gain her real trust again. 

I have never and will never give up cats to anyone without a background check and check-ins again.

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GamerGate Refuses To Die

, , , , , | Friendly | October 3, 2019

(My husband and I are out at a local bar we frequent, and I’m talking video games with the bartender, with whom I get along well. A popular video game series I love has just released a new installment. Another patron is clearly listening in but hasn’t tried to join the conversation.)

Bartender: “So, did you get [Game]? I know you were looking forward to it.”

Me: “I did! I tried it first from one of those rental kiosks, and I liked it enough that I turned around and bought it right after.”

Bartender: “Ah, cool. I saw it come out, and the reviews were kind of iffy, and I was worried, like, ‘Oh, no, that’s [My Name]’s game.’”

Me: “Yeah, I mean, I can see where a lot of the criticisms come from, and honestly, they’re probably valid, but I still really like it despite them.”

(We chat a bit more while the other guy at the bar looks more and more agitated until…)

Guy: “Look. All I’m going to say is that you’re wrong, and [Game] is objectively bad.”

Me: “Oh, uh, well, to each their own.”

(He sounds really heated, like he wants to argue, and I’m not interested in engaging with someone who’s automatically hostile, so I turn back to my husband and friend, but…)

Guy: “No, that’s a cop-out.”

Other Random Guy: “Dude, she likes it; you don’t. She ain’t trying to argue. It’s all good.”

Guy: “No, that’s a cop-out!”

(My husband and the bartender are starting to look visibly annoyed. I just want a quiet evening, so I try to defuse the situation.)

Me: *smiling* “Well, luckily, nobody is going to come to your house, tie you to a chair, and force you to play it.”

Guy: *angrily* “Get over yourself!”

Husband: “Hey, man, lower your voice. Relax.”

Guy: “You relax!” *jabbing a finger at me* “That’s a cop-out, and you’re letting her get away with it!”

Bartender: *calmly, smiling* “I’m going to comp your drink there, buddy. You’re closed out.” 

Guy: “I don’t want–”

Bartender: *still smiling calmly* “You’re closed out. You can go. You should go.”

(My friend is a pretty big guy, and this dude finally seemed to realize he wasn’t wanted and stormed out. I still can’t believe how angry he was over nothing, and he didn’t seem drunk or high. From then on, “It’s a cop-out” became a running gag there, and I got used to the bartender sighing ruefully and saying, “That’s SUCH a cop-out… I don’t know why I keep letting you get away with it,” from time to time when I ordered something.)

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First-Hand Advice

, , , , | Friendly | October 2, 2019

(My first roommate out of college is a coworker who is a heavy smoker. One Sunday morning, I awaken with a cold. I stay in bed as long as possible, but I finally venture out to the living room. He is lounging on our couch, waiting for the pro football games to begin, smoking a cigarette.)

Me: *hacking and coughing*

Roommate: *taking a long draw on his cigarette* “Y’know, you really should stop that second-hand smoking.”

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