Zoe’s New Year’s Eve
My name is Zoe, I’m a cat, and I’m here today to talk to you about New Year resolutions. I’m an indoor cat so I don’t get out all that much, but I have, on occasion, managed to escape the confines of my imprisonment. The warden . . . that is, my human, Emily . . . is not as all-knowing as she thinks she is. Anyway, back to resolutions.
This past New Year’s Eve, while the humans in my household were wearing funny-looking paper hats and engaging in silly human behavior, I made the “great escape.” I wanted to see my friends, Burt and Bella. Burt is a street cat, and Bella is a neighborhood dog and my best friend. Yes, I know; cats and dogs aren’t supposed to like one another. But that’s a false construct, perpetrated by the insidious cartoon industry—Tom and Jerry cartoons, in particular.
Once outside, I went in search of Burt. He’s a black and white cat, as I am, but his markings are all over the place, whereas mine are situated in such a fashion that Emily refers to me as a “tuxedo cat.”
I found Burt at his regular hangout, the alley that runs behind the small shopping place down the street. Humans call it a “strip plaza.” He has it pretty good back there because numbered among the businesses are a food store, a coffee shop, and a deli. Burt finds all sorts of yummy treats in the communal dumpster. He thinks they are yummy, but I have no desire for human food.
“Hello, Burt, what’s happening?”
“Hey, Zoe! Long time no see. Whatcha been up to?”
“The usual. I’m living the pampered life I so richly deserve.”
“I don’t know how you can stand it.”
“It’s not that hard. I’ve got them pretty-well trained now. I’m the puppet master of our household. I meow and my humans race to fulfill my every desire.”
“That’s not what I meant. How can you stand to be cooped up indoors all the time? I may not have humans waiting on me hand and foot, but I have my freedom … and all the food I can eat.”
I must admit . . . that last bit about food was tempting. But Burt and I have had this same discussion many times. I’ve tried to talk him into coming home with me, but to no avail. He likes his freedom. I didn’t have all night, so I brought our discussion around to the reason I was there in the first place.
“How about we go visit Bella? She can’t climb a fence as skillfully as you and I. Come to think of it, I don’t think she can climb a fence at all. Every time we’ve seen her, it was because one of her humans left the gate ajar.”
Burt said he had nothing else on his calendar at the moment, and that he thought a visit with Bella was overdue. So off we set—tails high in the air.
We found Bella lying down in her yard . . . her head between her front paws, a forlorn look on her pretty face. But when she saw us, she bounded to her feet and ran over to the fence, the sad look replaced with a smile, and the wind causing her long silky coat to ripple and fan out behind her as she ran.
Sticking her nose a little way through the slats in the fence, she asked, “What are you guys doing here?”
“We’ve come to hang out with you. It’s a weird night out there. The humans are acting crazier than usual; besides that, we thought you could use a little company,” answered Burt. (Him being a male, he thought he had to speak for both of us. Being the lady that I am, I let it go—for the time being.)
“Well, come on in. My humans are out and, by the way they were acting before they left, I think they’ll be gone for quite a while.”
Burt and I hopped up over the fence and landed softly, as we cats do, onto the light layer of snow covering Bella’s yard.
“Come on into my doghouse,” invited Bella. “It’s cozy in there and we can get out of the wind.”
“Cozy” was an interesting choice of words. Bella is a beautiful dog . . . “a collie” she once proudly informed me. She’d also told me that her humans named her Bella because that means “beautiful” in Italian. I didn’t know what a collie was, but I could see why her humans gave her that name. Her coat is a lovely mix of three colors: black, white, and reddish-brown. Bella is beautiful.
Once we were comfortably situated inside Bella’s snug little abode, Burt wanted to know what Bella had meant when she said her humans were acting strangely. But before she could respond, I told Burt that it was New Year’s Eve, a night when all the humans celebrate something.
“What are they celebrating?” asked Burt.
“I don’t know,” I answered, although it killed me to admit that, especially to him.
“What is a New Year?” asked Bella.
“I don’t know!” I could feel my fur rising and I took a deep breath. “Look, guys, I don’t understand humans any better than you do.”
After that, we sat there in contemplative silence for a few moments, then Bella spoke up. “I’ll tell you one thing that I do know about humans.”
Burt and I leaned forward in anticipation of what was to come.
Bella continued. “Whatever this New Year’s Eve thing is, it comes around only in the cold season. And when it does come around, my humans talk for days about what their ‘New Year’s resolutions’ are going to be.”
“Mine too,” I contributed. “I’ve heard that phrase many times, and my humans say it in voices mostly unlike their usual ones. Hard to describe, but it’s fair to say they don’t sound exactly happy.”
Even in the limited space of the doghouse, Burt was now going around in fast little circles, his head bobbing this way and that, his eyes squinting tight in concentration. Finally, he implored, “What is a ‘New Year’s resolution’?”
I thought I should handle this one, seeing as how I’m around humans even more so than Bella.
“Well, a resolution is what humans call their decision to change their behavior. You know, do things differently.”
“Why would they want to do that?” asked an astonished Burt.
Before I could reply, Bella shook her head and said, “At times, I just don’t understand humans.”
Burt, not having had as much interaction with humans as Bella and I, asked, “Do you think we should make resolutions to change something about ourselves?”
Bella and I looked at one another and she smiled. I knew what she was thinking. “Bella, why don’t you tell Burt why we animals don’t make New Year’s resolutions.”
“There are two reasons. The first is, what would we change? We are already perfect. Think about it, Burt. What would you change about yourself?”
Burt did not hesitate. “I wouldn’t change anything.”
“Right,” said Bella.
“But you mentioned two reasons.”
Bella looked over to me and said, “Why don’t you answer this one, Zoe?”
“It’s very simple, Burt. It’s just a game humans play. I’ve noticed that they talk incessantly about their New Year’s resolutions in the days leading up to their night of celebration—what they call New Year’s Eve. But after that, not a word . . . and nothing changes. Nobody is nicer than they used to be, nobody is richer, nobody stops putting those stinky little sticks in their mouths. And absolutely nobody loses any weight!”
“Yeah, humans are strange,” offered Burt.
Just then, a light went on in Bella’s house. It was time for me and Burt to go. I needed to get home before I was missed. But it was fun spending the night with my friends and conversing about our silly humans.
We still don’t know exactly what a “New Year’s Eve” is, but we do know what a resolution is. And we know we don’t need them.
If only humans were as perfect . . .
Emily’s Sunrise Editing Services
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