Saturday, April 3, 2010

Raining Men

I never thought I truly grokked Hemingway (it’s always been more about Lo. Li. Ta. and the tripping tip of tongue, and Murakami and his talking cats), despite the fact that “Cat in the Rain” is like the most brilliant short story ever. And despite the fact that “Cat in the Rain” nearly brought me to so-beautiful-you-could-cry tears last night.

And no, it’s not really about cats.

I’d also hoped to time this post—in celebration of the whole April showers thing—a little better. The whole country is freakin’ walkin’ on sunshine (eww, for some reason that song is so repellent to me). But it was raining and windy yesterday in Seattle, says Sue, so maybe someone, somewhere was feeling that precipitation-induced melancholy.

So… “Cat in the Rain” is pretty short, and you can read the whole thing here. One line drives me nuts it’s so good (I’ve included the text before it ‘cause you kinda need the context):

> He stood behind his desk in the far end of the dim room. The wife liked him. She liked the deadly serious way he received any complaints. She liked his dignity. She liked the way he wanted to serve her. She liked the way he felt about being a hotel-keeper. She liked his old, heavy face and big hands.

Liking him she opened the door and looked out.

Oooh, I can’t take it! Liking him…because your emotions and feelings DO inform your actions and the way you move…that sentence tells me a lot about her. Imagine her brain and how she’d open the door if she didn’t like him…ya know? But no, she likes him and she likes a lot of things. She’s a liker.

Music to play when the levee breaks
Ballet for a Rainy Day, XTC
I Like Rain, The Jean Paul Sartre Experience
Oh boy, I’m glad I’d never seen that video before and had my own vision of the song. I hate to be an 80s basher, but geesh! A disco ball and…is that a toilet seat? Great tune, tho!


  1. Respecting you I printed out the story and read it last night.

    I didn't have an immediate reaction to it the way you did. I had to lie in bed and think about it, and the more I thought about it, the more I liked it. But it took me a while to think, so I felt bad for the poor students who had only 50 minutes to analyze and write an essay about it after reading.

    What inspired you to read it?

  2. Elyse, I had the same reaction. I'd read it lots of times and it didn't really hit me until the other night. I reread it b/c I knew I wanted to blog about rain--I had the songs, but not the animal connection. I put "cat + rain" in my search engine (brain) and that came up. I guess I thought it was more perfect than beautiful. It's like manly poetry or something. I'm so glad you read it tho ; )

  3. Somewhere in Key West, a many-toed Hemingway cat is purring . . . Riveting as always. I love how you make the connections, and how you make your commitment to animals and the world around you work together! Moody and evocative.