Sunday, February 17, 2013

365 Days Without Bing

A year ago today, I said goodbye to the cat of my heart, my furry soulmate who always seemed person-sized to me, despite him being a low-riding short shorty with half a tail. His body was failing, and though I knew from working with the animal communicator that he wanted to make the transition on his own, we'd agreed that I would step in if he were at all suffering.

That morning he was, and I quickly-on-radar made arrangements at the emergency vet down the street. I also called my friend M. and asked her what mantra would be an appropriate send-off for my little loyal, royal meezer. Not only did she sing it to me so I could sing it to him, she recorded it and sent me the file so I wouldn't forget the tune. Bing told the animal communicator that he had been chanting for lifetimes, so I knew this would be important. It was the shri ram mantra, often chanted as a blessing before meals, so it just made sense… heaven, or whatever you wanna call it, has gotta be like a spiritual all-you-can-eat buffet, you know?

This morning, a big, giant year later, I pinned Bing's photo to my race bib and headed out to Prospect Park in Brooklyn to run in the (bing!) Cherry Tree 10-Miler. I'm a newbie runner, and I wouldn't say I necessarily *like* running, but I won't even entertain thoughts that go in that direction--I just keep showing up and putting in the miles. Race start was 10, and it's a good thing I got to Brooklyn at 9 because I got panickingly lost en route. At one point I jaywalked across the street because I knew the entrance to the park was in that general direction. From the side of the street I'd just left, I hear someone yelling at me…

"You're racist. A f*cking racist bitch…you know that?"

WHOA! I was stunned. I looked to see a young black guy, late teens or so, matching my pace as we walked forward.

"What are you talking about?" I yell back.

"You saw me coming and crossed the street. Racist bitch."

"I did not--I'm LOST!"

"I hope you die, you racist."

I am not the type to get into it with people who go all wonky and loose-canon on the street, and certainly I had a right to be pissed off/scared, but the whole thing was sort of ridiculous and odd and head-shaking, and I was more concerned about finding my way. So I asked the next guy I saw on my side of the street for directions; my 1-second assessment of him as a nice person was spot-on, as he took the time to explain that I was indeed far off from where I needed to be, but showed me one way to get there. As I turned around I ran right into the dude who called me racist, who must have followed me across the street when I was asking for directions.

"Are you lost, miss?" Without sarcasm or attitude. I thought: WTF!?! It's a big, albeit unstable, teddy bear.

"I TOLD YOU, YES! ! I'm trying to get to 16th Street and Prospect Park West."

"Do you like black men?"

"What?! I like everybody!" (Yeah, I did say that with an exclamation at the end.)

"Do you want to have sex then?"

If there's one thing I DO like, it's absurdity. In those 3 seconds you get to figure out what's going on in a situation, I realized how almost-silly this was. For one, he was like 18, and his bark was clearly way worse than his bite. And I wasn't getting the feeling this was really about race. I did not feel any fear or anger, but I also knew he wouldn't apologize or anything. He seemed to me equally sensitive and angry, looking for or maybe expecting trouble, and clearly had some, uh, communication challenges…  )

"No! I have a race at 10 AM." (See how ridiculous the conversation was? Like if I didn't have a race, I'd actually consider it!)

Somehow stating the time brought him back to a reality closer to mine, because he told me it was 9:25 and I'd better hurry, then proceeded to give me perfect and very detailed directions to the race start. I thanked him and told him it wasn't nice that he called me a racist. After some more mumblings and grumblings about having sex, he continued on his way.

What does this have to do with Bing? I'm really not sure. But I think it has something to do with being a peaceful warrior. Bing was such a love--the minute I sat down, he glued himself to my side, and he and Derrick were constantly cuddling--but strong, too. He'd greet everyone who came to the house, and never complained or got cranky with all the vet treatments and surgeries he went through in the last 18 months of his life. A lesser cat could/would not have withstood that. And looking back at that strange interaction today, I think it went the way it did because he didn't expect me to have the reaction I did. I didn't return his anger, and I wasn't scared. I'm rarely that "neutral," but today I was strong in myself and that negative energy just bounced off me. I would think peaceful warriors are all about deflecting that sh*t, too.

P.S. I just made it to race start at 9:57 and really enjoyed the run. : )


  1. This is awesome. "I have a race at 10" is a perfectly legitimate, ridiculous answer.

    It's funny, I've been feeling guilty about not being as deeply upset about losing Bertie as Steve has been, until I realized that Bertie was his soulmate, and my soulmate died a year and a half ago, and that's where all my sorrow was. I love and miss him, but I admit, I had a favorite.

  2. Pune, this blog post reminds me of why I always liked you so much... :-)

  3. Pune, I'm remembering our conversations about Bing when we were in Texas last year. What a lovely, sweet, totally bizarre story on his one year anniversary.

  4. Wow, I really enjoyed this read and was thrilled that you enjoyed the 'race'. hugs

  5. this is deep. Thanks for sharing, Pune and Bing.

  6. LOVE THIS. And always feel free to text me for directions if you're anywhere in or around PSlope. Wow, you can take the girl out of Brooklyn, and, despite claims to contrary, take Brooklyn out of the girl!