Caterwauling

I do not know what is wrong with my cat. Cal has taken to wailing in the middle of the night. He howls as if he’s on fire, running around the house in the dark, for about an hour. It starts at six in the morning, and many times this week I’ve gotten up, carried him around on my shoulder like a baby, patting his back and whispering to him, only to find I can’t go back to sleep afterward. This morning I pulled him into a hug and held him to my chest. He purred and licked my face for about five minutes (so there was no going back to sleep) and then he freaked out, bit my arm, kicked my chest, grabbed my ponytail holder off the nightstand and ran out of the room.

It doesn’t even sound like a cat noise, that wailing he’s doing. It’s like a rare exotic bird. It’s a rumbling deep in his belly that opens up into a loud “O” sound. All of the cats in the house have been fixed, so it doesn’t seem likely that this is Cal trying to find a mate. He just goes crazy at night. He sounds like he’s lost or has been abandoned. It’s the worst sound. He likes to do it mostly in the bathroom, where his voice will echo in his ears and be the loudest. But he’s completely fine. He’s just singing a little sunrise song, apparently.

Last night we scored free box seats to The Hollywood Bowl. I highly recommend you take any free box seats you can get. It was so much fun, carrying a picnic basket up to “the rich seats,” noting that your seats aren’t much worse that Lucy Liu’s. Sadly, Lucy’s best friends Cameron and Drew weren’t in attendence. I’m sure they really, really wanted to go, Poo totally had the night off and everything, but it just didn’t work out because of stupid phone calls and farty managers. Kisses! Or perhaps since Charlie’s Angels made much less than they expected the girls are no longer contractually obligated to hang from each other’s shoulder joints any more.

It was a perfect night to sit outside with a bottle of wine, a little cheese, some pretzels, a sandwich and some friends. I rarely get to listen to orchestral music, and I hadn’t heard the Los Angeles Philharmonic before, so I was grateful to turn my brain off for a couple of hours and stay quiet. I don’t know much about music, so I never know what to look at to be impressed. I don’t have to critique a thing. Unlike when I watch television, when I find continuity errors or get furious that so-and-so gets to do a show when I can’t catch a break or my friend didn’t get cast in some part that so-and-so just made horrible — with music I know nothing, nobody, not one fact. I watched the conductor, and tried to figure out just what makes someone want to be a conductor for a living. But mostly I listened to the music and enjoyed a warm, calm evening.

The Philharmonic closed with Strauss, Jr.’s “The Blue Danube” Waltz. Around my house, this was known as The Bugs Bunny Song. You know it. Bugs Bunny dances over (Duh-nuh-nuh-NA-NAH) and then he slaps Elmer Fudd with gloves (Duh-Nuh!) – twice – (Duh-Nuh!). It’s in 2001: A Space Odyssey, among other things. In any event, you know the tune. And so did everyone at the Hollywood Bowl. Because three notes into the thing, they all began to applaud, like Bruce was finally getting around to Born in the USA. And then the solemn, snooty patrons of the Hollywood Bowl proceeded to lose their shit.

Yes, everybody was a bottle of wine in at this point and had been sitting relatively still for almost two hours, but people were so excited to know a piece of music by heart, every section of it attached to a media memory, that they were swaying in groups. The man next to me was clapping his hands. The woman next to stee became a conductor herself, her arms high in the air as she instructed the orchestra to play whatever her fingers were wiggling to. Someone behind me was actually singing the notes (“Duh, nuh, nuh, na NAAAH! Dah-dum! Dah-dum!”). People were tapping, smiling to each other knowingly, everything but holding lighters in the air and flashing the conductor.

One of those old New York men, the ones who are never happy with anything once he left his stoop in Brooklyn, turned to us as we were leaving. “Rotten Los Angeles. If this was New York, everybody would have been waltzing in the aisles! Buncha lumps! Buncha wimps we got here in Los Angeles.” I wish that man had been the first to pick up his wife and swirl her around the empty wine bottles and rolled-up trash bags. I would have liked to have seen that.

My dad played that song around the house often, and my mom would dance from one end of the living room over to Dad’s recliner and smack him twice with a dishtowel (“Dum-dum! Dum-dum!”) Mom always compared classical music to Bugs Bunny cartoons. It always forced that smile on his face — the one he tried to hide that he’d get when he thought, “I love that crazy wife of mine, the one who ruins my music by making me laugh.”

I told stee that story as Lucy Liu left the building. He nodded and then solemnly said, “Bugs Bunny was a funny motherfucker.”

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