Monday, January 30, 2012

Wishing for Fishes

Thought for the day:  Why are you trying so hard to fit in when you were born to stand out? [Oliver James]

Have you ever felt like you didn't quite belong? Like you were on the outside looking in?

Meet Cowboy. Many mornings when I open our front door, there he is, just lying on our welcome mat. He immediately sits up and peers in at me. Looks pitiful, and dare I say ... hopeful?

Matter of fact, he spends a good bit of time lying or sitting on our front porch. Looking in. Looking pitiful. Or in our back yard, following us around or gazing into the house from out there. He could be running around the neighborhood, doing whatever it is outside cats are supposed do all day, but instead, he bides his time ... wastes his time ... looking in our windows. Wishing he were inside. Hoping his luck will change.

If wishes were horses, all beggars would ride; it wishes were fishes, we'd all have some fried.

He isn't our cat. Cowboy belongs to a neighbor, but I guess you could say he's our collateral pet, just like the other critters who come to our place for a handout. We don't mind him hanging around, but there's something heart-breaking about the sight of him looking in our window so often.

Somehow, his expression looks ...  familiar ...

I'm pretty sure I know how he feels. I've been excluded a time or two.

And I've seen people with that same wistful expression, people who bide their time ... waste their time ... pining to be someone or somewhere they aren't. Essentially, they're wasting their lives on wishes for fishes instead of eating what they have right in front of them, or reaching for the doggone fishing rod.

Does Cowboy tug at your heartstrings, too?

Sometimes Cowboy and Dot look at each other through the window.

Sometimes he and Dash watch each other.

Cowboy wants to come inside so badly. We can see it in his face when he stares in the front door. We can see it in his face when he stares in our back sliding glass doors. We can see it when he tries to slip inside when we open the door, and when he rolls on the ground in front of us, doing his tricks and trying to please.

He wants to be part of the in crowd.

I suspect wanting to belong is a fairly universal feeling. There are at least two songs entitled On the Outside Looking In, and that's also the title of Michael Reagan's book. Then there's the book and movie The Outsiders. And let's not forget the 1962 song by the Sensations called Let Me In. Don't remember that one? Here, take a listen:

                                                                      And so it seems,

                                                  when we're on the OUTSIDE, we want IN.


                                             And when we're on the INSIDE, we want OUT.

Is happiness always just on the other side of that closed door? Is there someone guarding that door,  keeping you on the outside, like in Fats Domino's 1961 song, I Hear You Knocking (But You Can't Come In)?

When we're different from everybody else, we wanta be the same, and when we're too much like everybody else, we yearn to be different. Ya know what? Inside yourself or outside, you never have to change what you see, only the way you see it.  [Thaddeus Golas]  We yam what we yam. And we yam pretty damned good.

Okay, so maybe you never felt like part of the in crowd. 

So what? Be a standout.

Outside may very well be the new in place. There's lots of us out  here.

 I was always looking outside myself for strength and confidence, but it comes from within. It is there all the time.  [Anna Freud]

                                  Until next time, take care of yourselves. And each other.


  1. LOL!!!!

    Have you ever felt like you didn't quite belong? Like you were on the outside looking in?

    That's a big Hell yeah! I've actually wondered a few times over the years that maybe I was accidently switched at the hospital when I was a baby back in Arizona. See my dad was serving at an old army base there and I just have never fit it very well here in South Carolina.

  2. Oh poor Cowboy. I would so let him in my house. I am a sucker for a face like that.

    As for being outside looking in-- can't get more outside than me. I was always a nonconformist and like it that way. I'd rather be outside. I don't generally look in.

  3. Poor Cowboy! That is the most pitiful thing I've even seen! He so clearly wants to belong to YOUR family!

    Yeah, I get the "outside looking in" thing. I get it big time!

  4. I would SO let that pathetic little creature in. Maybe even go and ask his family if we could have him. No doubt after 15 minutes inside he would be begging to get back out lol.

  5. Sometimes being "outside is "in", and sometimes "in" is so "out". We have all been on both sides of the door.

    I do hope Cowboy has an owner who gives him food and shelter. Some cats are just traveling salesmen who use their charm to wiggle their way into hearts and home. I'd definitely let him in.

  6. Oh my gosh, Cowboy has a really cute little face. That would crack me up to see him looking in. :)

  7. Awww, how can you resist that face?

    Our "part-time" cat (she belongs to a neighbor) comes over every day for a cuddle. Have to admit, I don't resist her. She comes in, I slip her a kitty treat or two, she sits on my lap for a few minutes (or on TG's, if he's home), and then goes on her merry way.

    She's the perfect cat--all the affection and none of the responsibility.

    BUT, we don't let her in when our grand-kitties are visiting. I don't want to contend with that kind of kitty toranado. *grin*

  8. Poor, pathetic thing. I would be a bad, bad neighbor and let the cat in and make him mine. :P

    And who can't relate to not fitting in. Writers, in general, tend to sometimes.

  9. now, forgive me for saying but that ginger cat looks remarkably like KAREN BLACK from airport 75!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  10. Beach Bum- I know whatcha mean. Shame on me, when I was a kid, I went so far as to tell some of my friends I was adopted, because "they" couldn't possibly be my parents. HA! (What a brat!)

    Anne- Yeah, we're pretty much suckers for the little guy, too.

    Dianne- He's a master at putting on a pitiful face. Which, I might add, is fuller now than it was when he came here the first time. We've been feeding the little beggar ever since. He even has his own bowls on our back patio.

    Delores- When Cowboy first showed up, we didn't realize he had a home, so we started feeding and watering him every day. He gobbled the food like he was starving, but wasn't very friendly at first. (Big claws, too!) By the time we realized he already had a home, he was used to the free food. And now, he's used to us. But his "family" seems to take care of him. He usually goes inside at night, and it looks like he's been brushed when we see him in the morning. So, we'll just go on enjoying our role as his "other family."

    Arleen- As best as we can tell, his family does provide him food and shelter. (But judging by how much food he eats HERE, he must like what we give him more!) Biggest reasons not to let him into the house are still dangling between his legs. He, um, hasn't been "fixed." In addition to concerns about him "spraying" and trying to seduce our girls, it makes us wonder if he's gotten his shots and if he's got fleas.

    Jennifer- He does crack us up. The pictures don't do him justice. He has a rather large head, and big blue crossed eyes.

    Linda- We do the cuddling and feeding, too, but keep it outside. Away from our kitties.

    L.G.- Tell ya what, we've been tempted, but I saw the guys who own him cuddling him, and they obviously care for him. Guess that means we'll just be his aunt and uncle instead of his parents.

  11. John- HA! Great eye! But the resemblance isn't nearly as strong as it is for your chick and Phyllis Diller.

  12. Since he has all his equipment, I guess he truly is a traveling salesman wanting to spread his wares around.

    The reason that I did not let our "travelers" in my house is for the same reason - fleas and disease.

    BTW, my ladies, Thelma and Louise look just like your Dash.

  13. Arleen- You betcha, and I don't want our girls "buying" his wares. Thelma and Louise are fantastic names. Now that we know our kitties better, I kinda wish I'd named them Lucy and Ethel, because those names really fit their personalities. If your ladies are calicos, I wonder if they're super cuddly and loving like our Dash is. I don't know if that's typical of the breed, or if we just got lucky.

  14. His poor little crossed eyes just slay me. If we didn't have a dog I would so let him, neighbor or not.

  15. Skippy- His eyes really get to me, too. Take care.

  16. My wife would SO let Cowboy inside. What a face! :)

  17. I vote for let him in. How can you resist? If you have a dog, he won't stay long. If not, he'll simply piss on the fridge and leave. Either way, your guilty conscience will be soothed.

  18. Most of the time I would rather be on the outside looking in because when I get in the noise usually gives me a headache.


  19. I am in love with Cowboy! Look at that face. He looks like my guy, Huck. This is such a great post and I definitely have felt that way...a lot. I am going to show Huck these pictures because he ALWAYS wants out! Thanks for your beautiful words.

  20. I LOVE this post. Isn't it the truth that we so often feel we're on the outside. Sometimes I ask myself: What are you doing to make others feel comfortable? I groan and kick myself to go speak to newbie in our writing group, or offer them a seat. It's so much easier to be lazy and stick to the familiar people and places. Now I'll think of Cowboy. His patient persistence breaks my heart. Thanks.

  21. DL- He does have a face that's hard to resist. (The claws, not so much.)

    Mr C- Oh, how cavalier of you, dear sir! Have you ever had a male cat tinkle on YOUR fridge?

    Janie- You just have to learn to sing above the noise.

    Tracy Jo- Wow, Cowboy is getting quite a fan base. Glad he can help you convince your kitty he's better off in the house.

    Barb- I'm so glad you enjoyed this post, and nice to know Cowboy will be serving as an inspiration. The little cross-eyed beggar is turning into a bona fide star!

  22. I always used to have that feeling, of being on the outside looking in, before my wee little family came along. :)

    I'd have to let the cat in, too! It's just so pitiful! (Do you eat a lot of tuna?) *giggle*

  23. Carrie- Oh course, we eat a lot of tuna! I believe it's an unwritten law in the cat owners' handbook ... (At least, that's what our cats claim.)

  24. That was a GREAT post. :-)

    Good ol' Cowboy. There's something about a collateral pet that tugs at the heartstrings...


  25. Yep, great post. I think I'm in love with Cowboy!

  26. What a great post! I love the message.

    And I'm loving poor old Cowboy...

  27. Pearl- You're absolutely right about those collateral pets. And have you ever noticed! They seem to have their own secret telegraph system, too. Somehow, they manage to spread the word far and wide about where all the suckers live with a ready handout.

    Kittie- Looks like he's got quite a few admirers. If he only knew ...

    Kara- Ah, and yet another admirer.

    Thank y'all for stopping by.

  28. Those are some brilliant quotes! Thanks

  29. If you can't adopt Cowboy, maybe you could fix him up with a gentle golden feline who will remind him of you. Do you ever get the feeling that he could be someone you know who has unfinished business? You may need to let him in to find out. I would at least read him the inspirational quotes. Julie

  30. Julie- Glad ya liked them

    Empty Nest Julie- Ooh now, there's an interesting thought ... who do I know that might have come back as a cross-eyed cat? Actually, there WAS someone ... a buddy of mine who told me I was his best friend and closest thing he had to family ... three days before he up and died on me. In another state, with no money, and no funeral plans. (Guess who was left scrambling to take care of him?) My husband always called him a big moocher. Maybe I'd better start calling the cat by HIS name ... but I'd better not let him in. He'll never leave, and he'll take over the remote control.

  31. Doh. Cowboy is so *cute*. How can anyone resist that face?

    Hysterical that he spends all of his time peering inside your house.

  32. Tina- He really is a cutie. It's so warm here today, I've had the windows open all day, and darned if he didn't figure out a way to climb up and peek in my office window! And Dot's sitting on the chest, looking out at him, practically nose to nose.