I had a great deal of trouble putting aside a post I’ve been writing for weeks in order to keep with Tuesday’s theme. The post in question is about how I plan on ending this Web site. It includes reasons why as well as ideas for what I could do with it. I’m still very much unsure about its future. I know only one thing for sure: mihow.com the “mommy blog” part will cease to exist.
And so I battled with this. I contemplated taking the day off.
But it’s TUESDAY! I thought. It’s Murray’s day. You have to write about Murray!
TUESDAYS WITH MURRAY
I receive a lot of email about Tuesdays With Murray. Even email not specifically about Murray usually includes a mention of how much the person loves him or how much they enjoy reading stories about him. Several people have told me Tuesdays With Murray is their favorite part about mihow.com. I’ve had people write letting me know how much their cat has in common with Murray. I had one person ask if Murray could be her lady cat’s baby daddy (a suggestion I may have entertained had he not been fixed). I guess the email boasting love for Murray shouldn’t come as that much of a surprise. My stats alone speak volumes. For a year now, Tuesday has been my busiest day. I receive thousands more individual visits on Tuesday than any other day of the week.
Murray is loved. How can you not love something so much that loves so much for nothing?
I also get a lot of email asking me why I seem to like Murray more than the other cats. Some folks aren’t even aware of the fact that we have two other cats. I guess I do kind of give off that we-keep-two-red-headed-step-cats-chained-up-in-the-basement sort of vibe. But I assure you all, we love all three of our cats, and yours as well.
But this has me thinking about why Murray is kind of special to me. It’s not that I don’t love my other two cats—I do, I love them very much. But I think I take Murray love to Nicole Kidman, stalkerish levels. And I think I finally know why.
Let’s talk about the book this series was inspired by.
(This is part of the story where if it were a motion picture the image before you would fade a bit, a sepia-like tone would envelope the screen. There might even be some Wayne’s World “doodly doodly” music to stress that we’re going back in time.)
When I was 23-years-old I was doing an internship with Lifetime Television. I stayed in South Brooklyn with a friend from college. He and his girlfriend let me sleep in a small storage room off their bedroom for the duration of my stay.
My boyfriend remained in State College. We talked late at night and on weekends over the telephone. I paid for our chats whenever the bill came. There were no cell phones boasting rollover or unlimited nighttime and weekend minutes. There were no consumer Macintosh laptops to purchase (at least not that I knew of) which meant there was no email. He was studying to be a chef. His hands were too busy stirring pots of Hollandaise sauce to type an email, anyway. I was too busy commuting to and from a temporary job, all the while lining my shoes with Band-Aids and toilet paper to pad the blisters I grew during grueling lunchtime job searches.
I got turned away from so many different design firms. So many Art Directors shrugged and said, “We just don’t do many logos here.” I was so perplexed as to why good logo work meant I couldn’t do direct mail, brochures and annual reports but these folks were wiser than I.
“Get some experience first!” They’d say. “We’ll hire you after you get some experience.”
How does one get experience if everyone wants it first?
I was in New York. I was 23. I was in search of my own professional identity. I was full of hope, pipe-dreams, and excitement. I was naive but happy.
And I didn’t find a job.
My internship came to an end on a Friday. I took the F Train uptown one last time that morning, put in a full day’s work, and then took it back into South Brooklyn later that day. The following morning, I packed my bags and headed for Midtown. Along the way, I grabbed something to read, hopped on a bus and headed for central Pennsylvania.
It was during that bus ride I read “Tuesdays With Morrie”.
I, like many people who spend a lot of time online, wrestle with it constantly. When my 23-year-old self looks at the me now, there’s a part of her who wants to slap me a few a times, knock some sense into my head. On the one hand, I am happier now than I’ve ever been. On the other hand, somewhere along the way I become a person living in fear, indecision, anxiety, cowardice, and (during my weakest hours) jealousy.
I’m in neutral. I’ve been in neutral for long time.
I have known for a while that once Emory got to be a certain age I’d shut this site down, at least in terms of how much and what I write about him. And the meat of this paragraph really demands much more attention and care than I am giving it now. I will go into it soon. I promise. But I will say this much: Emory shouldn’t be exposed the way he has, sans consent. I just don’t feel right about it.
And so that brings me back to Murray, the book this series is based on, my life and me when I read it, and all three of my cats.
Tucker is The Orange One. He’s a bit skittish, paranoid and at times vindictive. A lot of the decisions he makes are fueled by jealousy. I still love him and he’s still very needy, but he can be a real bastard. Tucker is sneaky. Tucker is not to be trusted. This is how he got the name “Orangemani Terrorist”.
I’m a little bit like Tucker whenever I spend too much time away from doing the things that I love. I act like Tucker whenever I’m having a “nobody-likes-me!” kind of day. I may come off as unapproachable, mean and bitchy, but all I really want is a great big hug and some lovin’ behind the ears. I act like Tucker right before I act like Pookum.
Pookum is old and grumpy and at some point she kind of lost her ability to laugh. She’s overweight and lives in fear of the other cats. She thinks they’re out to get her even if they’re playing. Unless we break inertia for her, she just sleeps, eats, and poops. And I reckon that if we were to let her she’d probably give up on all the things that make her happy; she’d give up on life entirely.
I’ve been Pookum before. (Hold on, I have to go pet her.)
And then there’s Murray.
Murray is the hand stirring a pot of Hollandaise sauce, the smile that moves across a person’s face when no one else is looking. Murray is New York City before 9/11, the sound of the teenagers skateboarding out back. Murray is laughter among friends, that first sip of white wine, lightning bugs at dusk.
Murray is me before I exchanged my naivety and hope for experience and cynicism.
Murray is youth.
Murray is a fixed number of minutes and a computer you leave at home.
Murray is joy.
Murray is the you you thought you would be, and the you you still can.