Black Cat on My Birthday
I can’t say why I wear black. Despite being an architect by profession, I am not typically a ‘joiner’ and usually hew true to my independent nature. I’m not one to see the world in binary fashion–black or white—but revel in the complexity and contradictions of life, the Rationalist in me fully trusting that Wisdom lies in knowing how little you actually know.
As it turned out, my birthday– January 18–was one of black’s days in the sun: American Censorship Day. Websites all around the internet were blacked-out voluntarily, or wore a black banner in protest of a proposed regulation that would likely change the internet as we know it. While the Accidental Cootchie Mama had penned an effusive paean to MTM to run on my birthday, the coincident urgency of the black-out meant the homage had to wait, and the first web site I read every morning provided a tantalizing teaser without the tribute.
The silent black protest, however, was not complete. Beginning from the earliest hour, my blackberry tweeted and chirped with huzzahs and happy birthdays, the Facebook notification alert that I can’t seem to turn off, no matter how little I actually appear on any social media site. Far-flung friends and family fomented the future failure of the postal service, sending regards and salutations with nary a stamp. The black cloud lifted like a heavy eyelid, a squinting smile washing over the morning.
Birthdays tempt us to imagine that all of a day is for us alone, an ego-stroke that swells us up by a factor of 1/365th. Who would deny us our date to surf above the black depths of the sea, to sparkle like a supernova in the black night sky, if only for a nanosecond in eternity.
And with this elan I greeted the world, skimming rather than slogging to the salt mine. Zipping around the last corner before the office, a pair of green eyes pierced through an arched black penumbra: a black cat, petrified in my path. I maneuvered the Mini to the left; the cat cartwheeled to the right.
Close call, or perilous portend?
My hand on the wheel, or the hand of fate? For an instant, Rationality and Wisdom wither from the challenge of the black cat.
Each day we wrestle with our future, but even more so as we mark another lap in our race with time. It might be a solitary struggle, but when love speaks, we know we are not alone in it. I thank all who sent me birthday wishes, whether in a comment, on Facebook, by e.mail or text.
And I thank the love of my life for being by my side, being with me for the ride, and for the poignant paean that finally got published, banishing the blackness.