“Gotcha last” is a game my cat Simon plays with everyone who knocks on my door. The minute he hears a car drive in my “condo driveway,” he dashes over me like a linebacker, and waits for the door to open. After I push him out of the way and open the door, he squeezes past me, gently taps my visitor on their ankle, and runs outside, as if to say, “Gotcha last” now catch me.
What he wants my guest to do is play a game we’ve come to call, “Gotcha last” which means chase Simon around outside until he gets tired and let’s you catch him. The cat loves this game, and actually it would be a lot of fun, if we all could act like that whenever it was convenient, but it’s aggravating when your cat plays it all of the time, especially if you’re in a hurry to go somewhere or having people over to visit. I should have never let my son teach Simon the game because he is a cat and doesn’t understand that it’s not appropriate to play all of the time.
Although, I will admit that I sometimes have the urge to play with a few visitors myself…just open the door, tap them and say “Gotcha last” and run to my car…maybe they wouldn’t return and maybe I could get rid of the tiny ashtrays I bought so that some guests would leave quickly.
Anyway, when Simon gets to the door first, people think they let my cat out, especially if it’s the bug man or someone unfamiliar with his tactics. Then, I end up chasing Simon and whoever was at the door around in circles outside.
My son started playing this game with Simon in the house, where I will not play with him for fear of breaking something in my living room or a bone, so when Taylor (my son) isn’t home to play Simon whines all day. Therefore, I felt sorry for him the other day, and I tried to play, but the mailman knocked on the door while we were playing.
Without thinking, I came out of my hiding place and opened the door. I couldn’t believe I did it without putting Simon in his pet taxi, but I did, so out the door the cat went…
He tapped the mailman on the foot, and flew past him as if he was running for his life. The mailman said what everyone says when Simon pulls this, “’Oh let him go…he’ll come back…” and believe me I have shut the door on him more than a few times.
However, when he returns home he’s so frightened he spends the rest of the day moaning and lying around the house as if he’s hurt, while I check for wounds, and imagine a lengthy vet bill.
Then, I have to deal with this attitude he adopts because he thinks I locked him out after the game and he’s afraid to stay outside alone for long.
Simon's one of those confused male felines who was neutered the second he opened his eyes. Well…maybe I bought his litter box first, although I’m not sure because he was at the vet when I was buying the box. Anyway, I neutered our family’s new addition as soon as possible.
That way he couldn’t impregnate the neighborhood- I feel sorry for stray animals and no cat of mine was going to be the daddy of a teenage cats kittens. Besides, I want Simon to have choices in life, you know about what games he is going to play, and so forth…
Anyway, when Simon returned from “tapping the mailman last,” I checked him for wounds. I thought food and attention would mellow him, but he decided to wear his dejection armor for the rest of the afternoon, so I left him alone.
I had to leave him alone because I’ve had a slow leak in one of my tires since Hurricane Gustav rudely crashed into our town. Therefore, until I find a good price on a tire, I have to add air to the flattened tire every other day, and to top it off, it’s a Ford Explorer with gigantic tires. I wish I could adopt Simon’s “Gotcha last” mind set for just one day, meaning I could act like a child.
For example, my boyfriend drove my car last, so it would be nice to tap him on the shoulder and say, “You drove it last, so you have to fix it, so there, gotcha last.”
But, I can’t do that because I broke up with my boyfriend, which is something I do every time life gets hectic. Then, I’m left alone to deal with the "man problems" he's good for, but I’m not calling him. Because if I ask him to help me, he will smile a “I knew you would need me” smile, and that will make my blood pressure go haywire, in addition to giving him the last word, and if he has the last word then he will be able to put it on his list of “Gotcha lasts.”
I haven’t the slightest idea why I set myself up like this, but I do…and it seems like everything that goes wrong is a problem a man is better at fixing. I mean, I'm an independent woman, but let's face it men are just better at some things.
Anyway, after I shook the idea of calling for him for help …I heard what sounded like a band of buffalo barreling toward my front door.
It was the loudest quaking and squawking I’ve ever heard in my life. Moreover, something told me Simon had something to do with this visitor’s presence. Because he was still playing his dejected cat act in his cat taxi, and when I looked at him closer I noticed his fur was slightly wet~
I could hear my neighbor's voice behind the quaking and squalling, and when I looked through my peep hole, he was rounding up his duck’s to bring to his pond next door. Evidently, Simon was playing “Gotcha last” with his ducks, and I didn't know what I was going to do when I opened the door.
Although, to my surprise, my neighbor didn’t knock, he just got his ducks and their ducklings and went back to the more well to do neighborhood where he lived next door. You see, the hurricane knocked down the wooden fence that separates our apartments from his pond. We are sandwiched between 450,000-dollar homes on the right and blue-collar worker apartments on the left.
Therefore, maybe the duck, pond, and homeowner just wanted to get his ducks and be on his way, thank goodness. Because if he didn't, I was considering tapping him on the shoulder and running to my car shouting, “gotcha last,” behind me, and hoping my childish behavior would confuse him enough to gracefully walk away. In any event, I didn’t have to know what happened with Simon and the ducks, and I could hope it was nothing, maybe the ducks just came to my door because it was a potential "man" problem.
And speaking of man problems, I knew my problem with my tire wasn't going to go away, therefore, rather than be the victim of a “Gotcha Last” I braced myself to deal with it. When I walked to my car, I was astonished to find my tire pressed flat on the cement, but I got in and rambled down the road to the nearest gas station. Then, as luck would have it, I saw the man with the ducks pointing and shaking his finger at me on the way out of my driveway. It was somewhat scary, but I thought to myself, I wonder why he’s mad? People point at me and shake their fingers all the time and I never know why, so this occasion wasn't any different.
I made it to the gas station and filled my tire with air, or at least I thought I did, because I couldn’t read the stupid air gauge. I didn’t have my reading glasses with me. For some reason, I have a mental block when it comes to my reading glasses, if I am going to need them, I will not have them, and I’m the same way about pens. I’m a writer who relies heavily on both of these items, but I lose them constantly. Therefore, I have hundreds of pens and glasses, just not when I need them. Anyway, I couldn’t see, but I could hear air going in the tire, so I decided I handled this man problem on my own and I headed home smiling to myself. Now, I could say "Did it myself" to the duck man, my boy friend, and all men...
I pulled into my gated “community,” where you cannot get in unless you have an electrical card to lay on a keypad. And guess who ran out of the house in a hurry because she was worried about the duck man and left her gate key? Yep, that would be me.
Nevertheless, a nice neighbor let me through with her card, but she looked at me with a concerned look that was irritating. I thought, gee whiz, why the concern, I just locked myself out…then I saw the duck man again.
I tried to get away quickly but he kept following me and pointing at my tire. I thought oh no, I just put air in my tire, is he going to lecture me about tires now? Then I thought he must have guessed that it was my cat who chased his ducks out of the pond, so I started to stop, but the more I drove, the more I didn't want to stop, so I kept driving around in circles.
I waved at him and shook my head back, as if to say, yes, I know about the tire, I just put air in it, but he kept pointing and smiling at me. Remember he saw me leave, so I assumed he knew I went to get air in my tire, therefore he must have realized what happened with the ducks, because why would he still be following me?
Nevertheless, I finally stopped my car and he stopped behind me. I could hear and feel the beating of my heart as I watched him approach my car from my rear view mirror. Then, little droplets of sweat began to form on my forehead when he stood by my side door, and asked, “Ma'am, do you know you have a flat tire?”
“Well…yes, I know I did, but I just put air in it at the gas station.” I said proudly.
“Well, it must have a pretty fast leak because now it is flatter than a pancake all over again,” he said, wearing the smile of a man who knows you need his help but will not admit it.
“I have a compressor and would be glad to put some air in it for you if you like.”
“Yes, I said, that would be great. Thank–you”
After which I half expected him to say, “Gotcha last,” but he didn’t, he grinned instead.