Lorenzo didn't come loaded with all the apps that most cats do. He sleeps puppet-awkward in the middle of the wood floor, front legs bent birdlike, in lieu of cuddling up in the perfectly good kitty-sized bed nearby. I'm used to Derrick, who arches his back when I put my hand near in order to get the most of the pet; Lorenzo, until recently, would very slightly shrink, like he was trying to fit under a limbo pole or something. Not in a frightened way, but like he didn't know that being touched by a human could be a pretty pleasurable, purr-inducing thing.
Luckily for Lorenzo, tho, with patient Derrick as his teacher, he's mastered some important basics.
Like that being a good friend=licking the inside of your bud's ears, not shoving your nosey face into his dish of Outback Grill, coming when he calls you 'cause he wants to play Bathtub with you and Bathtub is fun…. Renz has learned this all by imitation, and he's a quick study as you can see here.
OK, so the thing is--I'm kind of a Lorenzo, too. I have no idea to put on make-up w/o looking like a hieroglyph (you know,the King Tut eye, 80s-does-60s-style? Or, for those whose unit of measurement for all things is a cat, the wraparound-sunglass markings on tabbies…), and I just recently, in the past 3 or 4 years or so, nailed down shoe lace-tieing. Until then, they'd eventually come undone unless I triple-knotted. Something like that really freaks you out down to the soul--how could you not know how to properly tie a shoe?.
I've learned a lot about copycatting from the 10-year-old dancers in the jazz class I'm the assistant for. No matter how far apart they start when doing a combination across the floor in pairs or as a group in the center, they slowly but surely clump together, winding up trippingly close, happily in each other's way. And the other day at dress rehearsal for their annual performance, they decided as a group to wear their hair in pony tails. But when the first ponytail-wearer sweetly mentioned it would probably work best on hair of her length and texture, the others came up with their own variations, and in the end, no pony tails made it to the stage. It's probably an obvious "being a human" thing that everyone knows, but I was like, wow…being part of a group is an important part of being an individual.
It made me think of my sophomore year in high school, when I finally found a group I could be myself in. True, that group consisted of just me and my friend P. We made up our own dance steps, took aerobics together and wore the same clothes, but she'd get them in purple and I'd get them in pink. I was really happy being part of a unit, until the day P's older friend J. from show choir told her that she needed to stop hanging out with me so much. It wasn't healthy, J. said, to be so close with one friend. Actually, I see mothers saying the same thing to their kids on bad Lifetime movies, and I'm pretty sure it's bullshit. When P. told me what J. said, I remember thinking I must have done something wrong but I couldn't figure out what it was.
These days, I love being a copy cat--it's sort of my whole M.O., to grab inspiration from others and see what I can learn from them. And now that I think of it, that includes Derrick, too. When he rolls around on the floor and purrs when I meditate, I'm reminded that it's not a chore, and I should do it with a light, joyful heart. When I see him turn and walk away when Lorenzo tries to steal the last bite of food in Derrick's dish, I learn patience, tolerance and the importance of picking your battles… His easy good looks inspire my fashion choices, too, like wearing all-white from head to toe with an orange scarf and gold-framed sunglasses.
And if anyone tells Derrick that he's hanging out with me too much, they're gonna have to deal with me first.