Like many people in the DC area during the Great Derecho of 2012, we lost power at home and schlepped all 4 cats to a hotel. One of us had to keep an eye on the cats at all times, so we took turns leaving the room.
When it was my turn for breakfast in the morning I made my way down to the hotel restaurant. The place was packed and I was seated at a table wedged in between two other tables. I ordered and settled in with my iPad to read. Oh, but there was Chatty Cathy sitting across from me one table over. “Do you just love your iPad? I’m thinking about getting one.” I told her I really loved my iPad especially when I wanted to read a good book over a quiet breakfast. She was not discouraged and kept babbling about this, that and the other thing. She was visiting DC from California, here with a friend attending a convention of some kind. Fascinating.
Then she asked about me and I explained why we and our 4 cats were staying there. Where did we get our cats? Oh, from a shelter? Then she explained that she had tried to adopt a shelter cat but the shelter turned her down. It turns out that she wanted the cat to do some mousing in the back yard and the shelter didn’t want her to let the cat outside. But even more outrageous, they told her she would need to have the cat fixed before she brought it home. The outrage!
All efforts to hold my tongue were futile. I launched into a rant about irresponsible pet owners and the hundreds of thousands of healthy animals that are put to sleep every year for lack of a home. The woman interrupted and said she didn’t see the point in fixing the cat when it was just going to get eaten by a coyote. OK, that stopped me in my tracks. Huh?
Well naturally the coyotes had already eaten dozens of cats from her yard; sometimes she could go through 2 or 3 a year. As if that wasn’t enough, she launched into a graphic play-by-play description of how coyotes prepare that particular meal. I said “You’re nuts. Like cuckoo, looney tunes, nuts.” I turned to my neighbor on the other side, who was trying desperately to shove his face in his newspaper, “Did you hear this woman? This is how serial killers get their start, she’s sick.” He gave me a look that said “why are you screaming at a serial killer? This isn’t going to end well.” and went back to his paper.
By then her friend had come down and joined her so I turned to her and said “Your friend is nuts.” She nodded her head knowingly. The friend fussed at the woman about her evil ways and how upsetting it was for her to keep talking about coyotes eating her cats and thank goodness the shelter hadn’t given her another one. Relief—someone sane to calm this woman down.
The friend told me she would never, ever have an outdoor cat. I noted that she must have coyotes near her house too. She said no, but that she lived in an area with a lot of those Vietnamese people, and the Vietnamese routinely hold animal sacrifices. That’s why she and her neighbors were constantly finding half burnt cat bodies all over the place; absolutely everyone knows about those people and their devil worship.
Wow. They were both psychos. Had I just stepped in to a really horrible parallel universe? I know Californians are a little out there, but not like this. I turned to my neighbor on the other side again, but he was gone, food untouched. Check please!
I went upstairs and told Dan that although I hadn’t seen the hidden cameras, I had definitely just been punk’d.