Wednesday, I lost myself in a maniacal vacuuming session. It started with my art room, which is also kitty headquarters. Despite my fastidious habits, I still found crevices hosting kitty hair and litter granules. After a 45 minute suction extravaganza, I doubt a single cat hair remained.
That night, my dreams revolved around cleaning and kitty litter.
My husband and I had adopted a chimpanzee, who we called “The Monkey.” Our Monkey was adorable and brilliant, but he had one very bad habit. He liked to get into the kitty litter and rub it all over his body. We worked hard to teach Monkey to stay out of the litter box.
In my dream, I stepped into the kitchen and noticed gritty litter bits on the linoleum. My heart sank as I walked to the art room. The place was in shambles. Unspeakable quantities of kitty solids obscured the floor. Clods of grainy clay clung to the walls. Sitting on a waist-high mountain of litter, Monkey hoisted a handful of waste above his head. Streaked and dusty from kitty litter, he crumbled lump of litter on to his shoulders.
Disappointment swept through me. We had made such progress teaching Monkey to stay out of the litter. Monkey had been painting and even talking on the phone earlier that day. I turned my back for an instant, and kitty litter chaos erupted. Why did Monkey do this?
I knew the answer. He’s a monkey, and monkeys love kitty pee.
I delicately picked him and carried him upstairs for a shower. Calm and gentle treatment might prevent him from tearing the shower curtains down or breaking the toilet. I deftly washed his monkey body. Sweetly, he cooed and tugged at my hair. Fear tinged my affection. Chimpanzees are dangerous animals.
I recalled an ape attack survivor as I prepared to shampoo Monkey’s head. The viciousness of her ordeal obliterated her face. Oprah luridly showcased the woman, whose featureswere reduced to knob of pink, impersonal flesh. I approached the tricky task of washing his head with resignation and unease.
Before I began, I called Egor and asked him to clean up the kitty mess. E takes requests for unpleasant chores as mere suggestions, so I added an emphatic “NOW.” He resented my urgency, but I did not want to repeat another dangerous shampooing in an hour.
We accepted our respective responsibilities. Afterall, we decided to adopt Monkey, and with that came Monkey baths and kitty litter clean- ups. I turned to contemplate Monkey, wondering “Will he tear off my face someday?” I shrugged the thought away and pulled back the shower curtain. Then, I woke up.
My dream interpretation is straightforward. Liev’s meltdowns and mischief distress me. Recently, scratching has escalated. Red, angry scrapes on my arms demoralize me. I feel as if I am doing something profoundly wrong–as if I exacerbate his meltdowns instead of avert them. He is a five year old boy. He equalizes his stress and anxiety in the simplest way possible. It is my duty to find a good path through this current frustration.