Snapshots from Green Victoria (tedwords) wrote,
Snapshots from Green Victoria

Tales of Clamping Cats and Public Nudity in Vermont

It's a gorgeous summer night, I must admit, and the two of us are sitting alone on our balcony, just relaxing after a hard day at work. Alone, that is, until our next door neighbor Linda sauntered over from her side of the divide in the apartment building. You remember Linda, right? She's the woman whose cat we drove to the vet during the February blizzard, when a ban on driving was in effect. We risked life and limb! Earl didn't live, but we scored neighbor points.

Anyway, she walked right over. Our balconies are connected and we live on the same floor, so she can do things like that.
"Did I tell you I took in a new cat?" she asked, by way of saying hello. Her eyes twinkled behind her mousey brown glasses. "Just yesterday. Her name is Olivia."

I looked up from my iPad. "Named after Newton-John, right?"

"Oh, yeah. Right. Um, exactly!" Then she flashed a look in Corb's direction, as if to say, what the hell is he smoking? "The thing is, though, Olivia's a biter."

Now, you have to love people who come to you armed with stories. Corb pushed back against his chair and dangled his attractively plump toes in the air. "And what exactly does she bite?"

"People. Seriously! That's why the shelter called me. Whenever you try and pet her, she kind of clamps onto your arm. I've tried to get her to calm down, and she won't stop it."

A clamping cat. Now that sounds like something only the Island of Misfit Toys could love. I couldn't imagine, although maybe I could. The feel of little cat fangs on your arm is kind of fun, although if Olivia wasn't a kitten any more, that could be torture. "Are you going to keep her?"

"I kind of have to. Nobody else will take her." Linda waved a fly away. She was always so calm about things. It probably had something to do with all the anti-anxiety casette tapes I had noticed in her car when we drove Earl to the animal hospital. "You should have seen her at the vet today! They tried to clip her nails. Try, I said. First they tried to hold her, then they tried to clamp her down. Finally they had to put on the industrial gloves! Finally, they gave up after only two. She's a fighter."

"Corb has the same problem with me," I said, winking. "I bite, too."

Corb nodded. "I have to use industrial gloves on him!"

"Oh, that's easy to handle. Just wait until the morning and slip some medication into his coffee, Corb. You'll get him to stop that biting in no time." Corb's eyes opened wide, appreciating her advice. Suddenly I felt afraid a little afraid. "Look, I have two ex-husbands. I have vast amounts of knowledge! Hey, do you want to hear a little bit of gossip? You know the guy on the first floor?"

"Who, Back Hair?" asked Corb. Linda looked at him quizically. "It's my nick name for him. He was on the phone the other day on his balcony, talking to his brother about this great new product called Nair that gets rid of back hair. I mean, would you be talking about stuff like that on your balcony? He's almost as much fun as the couple that used to live in that apartment before them. Remember when they had the big fight when she gave him herpes and he called up his mother, drunk out of his mind? That was so much fun to listen to!"

"I don't remember that, but that's kind of why I like living in apartments," said Linda. "Free entertainment. I remember once, I used to have a neighbor who liked to sunbathe in the nude. Then the guy on the first floor called the cops on her. She never did that again!"

"Did you know that wouldn't be illegal in Vermont, if she left her house naked and walked around?" interjected Corb. "It's only illegal if you take your clothes off outside of your house*."

The thought of public nudity sparked a thought. "Oh! Did I tell you about Ashes's birthday?"

Corb groaned and leaned back even further in his chair. "Oh, not this..."

After my lurid story about public nudity and masturbation, Linda nodded. "That reminds me of my niece. She started a job at Honey Dew a few years ago when she was about sixteen and there was this guy who used to come to the drive through with pants down around his ankles. Every morning. I guess he found it exciting. Anyway, the girls started complaining about it and one day, the chief of police decided to take matters into his own hands. When the guy ordered his coffee and drove up to the drive through, who handed him his coffee but the police chief? The guy looked like he was about to shit a brick, and the cop instructed him to drive over to a parking space so's they could have a little talk."

I looked over at Corb, feeling a rumbling in my stomach. "Speaking of drive throughs..."

Corb took my signal. "Or take out..."

"Oh, haven't you eaten yet?" Linda, ever gracious, took our hint immediately. "I'll get out of your hair. I have a clamping cat to take care of!" And with that, she was back on her side of the wall.

Sorry, Robert Frost, we don't need strong fences to make for good neighbors. We've got Linda. That's all we need!

* Actually, I don't think this is exactly right. In looking it up, it looks like Vermont doesn't have any state laws against nudity, period.

Tags: apartment living
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