Monday, January 24, 2011

Male Cats Pee in Ovens

For the longest time I never even considered the idea of getting a male cat because male cats pee in ovens.
Wait, what?
I was in my early 20's before I fully considered the implications of this and thought, “Wait a minute, where the f*ck did that come from?”
I asked my parents, and they had no idea where I had gotten this idea. What male cat peed in whose oven, I will probably never know. What I do know, however, is that I am 90% sure that when I get a cat it will be a female. I would like to deny it, but I am sure that a large part of my preference for female cats has to do with some unconscious reasoning regarding the nuisance of having to clean male cat pee out of your oven.
This isn’t the only such ridiculous discovery of my own unconscious logic that I have made. I was in my early 20’s (quite the time for self-discovery, apparently) before I discovered that the spines – well, hairs, really – between the artichoke heart and the leaves are not actually fatal to children, contrary to what my parents led my brother and I to believe. We would watch them anxiously as they selflessly doused our artichoke hearts in butter and chewed them with their eyes rolled into the backs of their heads. We were too young to recognize the ecstasy brought about by artichoke heart consumption and instead thought we were witnessing a battle between artichoke heart spines and adult survival techniques.
Oh, and by the way, your eyes cannot actually get stuck in the cross-eyed position, unlike what my mother told me because she hated it when I tried to make my eyes go cross-eyed.
I was talking to a friend of mine and it occurred to me that he had probably never heard these types of things. If he had, he certainly hadn’t taken them to heart the way I did. He told me that a couple winters ago, he tried to make sure he was up snowboarding in the backcountry on the nights when the moon was full – alone. A million ideas shot through my head when he told me this: did anyone know where he was? What if there was an avalanche, a tree that fell in the woods that crushed him (would it make a sound if he was too unconscious or dead to hear it?), what if his cat peed in his oven while he was gone?
Yes, invisible audience, this is what we call paranoia. And yes, you’re right: there are many things that I do that probably trigger an equally paranoid or justified list of questions in YOUR mind.
But if there are many things I have no fear of, there are infinitely more cat pee/oven paranoia stories in my head that stop me without me even realizing it. Not all of them are traceable to a concrete legitimate reason, although some of them are. Regardless of where the root of the fear lies, it doesn’t mean I should be using it to make decisions.
So I guess it’s time to stop rationalizing away my fears and just face them. I started thinking about other things that I’m afraid of or ideas that I have that I’ve never challenged, and came up with quite a list:

• My fear of motorbiking that comes from the one time I rode a bike through our orchard in high school and it fell over on my ankle when I went around a corner because I was going TOO SLOW.
• My unwillingness to get tighter ski boots because I was convinced that all ski boots are painful if buckled correctly. (NOTE: this idea actually caused me to pull a tendon in my ankle the last time I was skiing because my boots weren’t tight enough).
• My unwillingness to hike/bike/run/exercise with other people because I will slow them down. I will slow them down, but maybe I should believe that they’re telling me the truth when they say it’s okay if we go slow.
• Buying anything but medicated chap stick will cause my lips to turn to prunes.
• Generally deciding not to do something because of the slightest chance that something will go wrong, i.e. not running at night in a full moon because you’re afraid a cougar might attack you.
• Not getting a male cat because it will pee in your oven.

So maybe it’s time for me to start confronting the root of my fears instead of living by them. Maybe it’s time I took a couple scary leaps just to see where I’ll land. Maybe, just maybe, it’s time to give the male cat another chance.

Love and pee-free oven kisses