Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The Way to a Kitten's Heart

Oh, He's a Big Help Alright

Sure, Quint likes me alright. He'll come and visit me while I'm at my desk, or sit in my lap while I brush his teeth, but he completely adores my wife, Carol. Whenever she's at home, Quint follows her everywhere she goes. He sits on her desk while she's at her computer. He "helps" her make the bed in the morning. He goes into the bathroom with her while she's showering, putting on makeup and fixing her hair. He just likes being with Carol. It's been like that from the day he arrived. It may have something to do with the fact that Carol is the one who most often feeds him, but I suspect that it's because Carol is just inherently more lovable than I.

It's true. I've never been much of a people person, at least not on a wholesale basis. I have my close friends, people who I'd do just about anything to help, and I have a wider group who I like pretty well and would enjoy spending more time with, but, in general, I'm not a big fan of humans as a species. Maybe it comes from being picked on pretty severely when I was growing up. My family moved around a lot when I was elementary-school age so I didn't have long term friends or people I grew up with. Having no social skills whatsoever and being the new kid in town didn't endear me to the locals in any way. The sort of teasing one encounters as an outsider tends to make matters worse with regard to the development of any sort of useful social skills. By the time we settled down in one spot, I was already fourteen years old and rather wary of people for the most part. In addition, I had absolutely no common sense at all, so any effort I made to be accepted by my classmates at school was doomed to failure. I'm not complaining, just stating the facts of my formative years. I was socially awkward to the extreme. I'm a little better now, but it wasn't until after I left home to live on my own that I learned any sort of useful people skills at all, and the ones I did learn still aren't those of a sophisticate. What people skills I have are adequate to keep me from getting into fights and for navigating small gatherings, but are useless for much of anything beyond that. I'll never be a salesman, and I don't like talking to strangers on the telephone.

Carol, on the other hand, has social graces and people skills that amaze and astonish me constantly. She loves talking to people, all people. If you sit down to a conversation with Carol, be prepared to tell her your life story. You'll find yourself telling her things you wouldn't tell your best friend, and it's not just because she has the people skills to hold conversations with others, no, it's because she's genuinely interested in you, even though you've just met. Carol is the sort of person who, had we gone to high school together, I would never have dared approach. She knew all the cool kids. Heck, she was a cheerleader. Socially, Carol is way out of my league. She looks forward to going out to large gatherings to meet new people, and when she gets there she has a good time. Almost everybody loves Carol, they just can't help it.

Quint is no exception. Quint loves Carol. He likes me, but he loves Carol. If she's home and she goes outside to do some gardening, Quint meows loudly at the window until she comes back inside. At night, he sleeps on her pillow above her head. In the morning, he wakes her up at whatever time she asks him to. I envy Carol her people skills, but I'm glad that Quint and I have her as a friend and companion. She's a civilizing influence on us both, and I don't blame Quint for adoring her. How could he not?

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