Then I came inside the house and was just sitting down when I noticed my cat Sebastian lounging on the living room floor. I heard some strange squeaking noises emanating from his mouth, and upon closer examination I noticed a little brown bird protruding from either side of his proud little grin. So I went and rescued the bird from the cat’s jaws.
The bird was pretty dazed. I set it outside on a table on my deck to see if it would recover. I thought about photographing it since I still had my camera out from my opossum sighting. But the bird wasn’t looking very photogenic, lying on its side with one wing sticking out. I tucked the wing under it and left it alone. The next time I headed out to check on it, I saw the bird gather itself together and fly away. So a happy ending to its little saga, and I hadn’t even had to give it mouth-to-beak resuscitation.
I don’t exactly live in the wild. I can see the neon sign of the Walgreen’s pharmacy from my front door, and the 7-Eleven mini-mart is just a block down the street. I used to live farther out in the country and had three cats at the time (I’ve always been a borderline cat lady). Back in those days I would leave the kitchen window cracked open when I went off to work so the cats could come and go as they pleased throughout the day. On more than one occasion, I would come home in the evening to find that a bat had entered the house, and I would discover it hiding in the wood box, or hanging behind the living room curtains. I won’t go into detail on how those episodes ended. Let’s just say I’ve mellowed since then.
It was during that time frame that I had my first encounter with a psychiatrist. I had thought it was a stereotypical caricature: the balding gentleman puffing on his long-stemmed pipe and holding up cards with ink blots on them while the baffled patient tries to identify the shapes portrayed in the black splotches. But no! It's real! Here I was, actually sitting in a doctor’s office, staring at black blobs displayed on white cardboard squares and being asked – in all seriousness – to tell the doctor what I saw.
What I saw – quite understandably, I think – were bats. No matter what the doctor showed me, I could see the wings and the little heads and antennae. And they were black, so it wasn’t like they were butterflies. Bats. Next card. Bats. Next card. Bats.
What struck me was that the doctor never bothered to ask me why it might be that I was identifying with bats so strongly. It’s like that was against the rules of engagement or something. There obviously couldn’t be some straight forward logic behind what I was seeing in the ink blots. And the doctor couldn’t just come out and ask. No, he had to delve into my psyche somehow to mine its depths for the subliminal meanings of my responses.
I never found out the results of my Rorschach Test. I guess it’s not like you get a score or a letter grade. I don’t know. But I’d love to know what the notation on my chart notes might have been. It probably said “This woman is batty.”
I hope I don’t have to take any tests any time soon. I’ve spent way too much time thinking about opossums lately, so that’s probably all I would see this time around. And I hope my cat doesn’t have to undergo any psychological testing. I probably irreversibly damaged his ego by challenging his cat-hood and taking away his big-game hunting prize.
It’s evening now. All the wild critters are outside, the domestic animals are inside, and the windows are shut tight to keep it that way. It’s a muggy night and I have a fan running to keep the air circulating. I just saw a feather float by. No bird attached this time, so that’s a good thing. It feels like everything is as it should be right now...
at least in my little ecosystem.