…in ten easy steps:
1) Cat and dog fight, cat hides for two hours. Spend an hour helping them kiss and make up.
2) Alcoholic tells me the shooting in Seattle the other day reminds her of when her son was shot as if I knew that, which I didn’t, and acted annoyed when I had to ask. She then tells me I don’t call the police enough when I see stuff happen at the bar. I tell her I use my own discretion. She doesn’t like that.
3) Head of local Bloods gang asks me out for a drink in front of drunk woman. She says, “Just lie and tell him you have a boyfriend.” Instead I say, “I don’t usually drink and I’m old enough to be your grandmother, young man.” Woman says, “Well you don’t have to lie to him!”
4) After he walks away she tells me I should at least go to coffee with him to stay on his good side, because he can offer me protection. I hug her for the loss of her son and walk away as fast as I am able.
5) Back inside, pour a bath, get in, building’s fire alarm goes off. Get out, toss on clothing while yelling, “There’d better be an actual fucking fire this time, instead of those fucking moron testers accidentally setting it off!”
6) Grab dog and leash, head to stairs, neighbor lets my dog out after I’ve asked him to wait a second before opening the door. Once sensing his freedom, dog runs up to nervous other dogs, who, miraculously, are too distracted from the commotion to cause a fight.
7) Other neighbors have cats, birds, rats, etc. in carriers. My cat is hiding again so I had to leave her behind. “I guess a fire would be bad, after all,” I say, so the neighbors think I’m a good mother.
8) Woman who’s bird I called pretty puts the thing on my shoulder and it starts to snag its beak in my hair. “I feel like I’m a talk show host and you’re a naturalist I’m interviewing, and you just handed me a tarantula and said, ‘It doesn’t usually bite,'” I say, to subtly let her know that birds freak me out. She takes the bird back. “What’s its name?” I ask, again, trying to seem normal. “Tippi, as in Tippi Hedren from The Birds,” she says. I say, “I like how you went right ahead and pulled the bad juju toward you with a rope instead of waiting for it.” We share a laugh.
9) Firemen arrive, check things out, come back out and tell us it was a false alarm… again. “Can we go back in?” I ask. “I suppose,” says one of them, shrugging his shoulders in a reassuring fashion.
10) Back inside, I get back in the tub. The alarm goes off several more times, cat hides, dog cries, sirens blare, I add more lightly scented bubbles to the water.