Friday, May 3, 2013

Commitment Issues

Earlier this year, my younger sister Rachel bought a cat. Even though my family and I didn’t think it was the best idea for a sophomore in college to have a pet, we didn’t say anything. Well, I did, but not as much as I wanted to. The cat was adorable, so eventually we all were happy she had it. But then, in the way most people describe the addiction associated with getting a tattoo, she decided she needed a second cat. She went to the shelter and already knew which cat she wanted, no, needed. Why a 19-year-old girl in college needs one cat, let alone two, is beside me. My parents said absolutely not, no more cats. I told her that having one cat is already kind of weird and two cats is just asking to be called a cat lady. (We also have a cat at home).

Being the youngest child, she doesn’t know how to accept no for an answer. She needs to get her way. I think it’s a blessing and a curse. So she went and bought the cat. My parents threatened to cut her off and stop paying for college if she got the second cat. But too late, she already had it. She was in love. There was no way she was giving up this poor little thing that she bought from the shelter. In a similar fashion to a tattoo, if you wanted her to get rid of it you’d have to physically remove it from her body.

Something important to note is that she bought this kitten with the money that my parents have just threatened to stop giving her. She was in a bit of a pickle. What to do? I told her what any big sister would have told her, “If you had just listened to me in the first place, none of this would have happened.” So in typical little sister fashion, the only solution she could come up with was to ask me to fix it. She wanted me to take her cat. That way she could still see him and play with him and potentially steal him back one day and she wouldn’t really have to give him up.

After this story you might get the impression that I hate cats. But I actually love cats. Most of my bitterness from before most likely stemmed from jealousy. So Rachel started begging me to take her cat. She’d send me pictures of this tiny little thing, day and night. (He's pretty damn cute.)

She’d tell me all of the reasons why a cat would be perfect for me.  Before I knew it, I was really considering the idea of taking her cat. Even though I did feel as though I might be betraying my cat at home. I’m incredibly indecisive, so I started asking what other people thought. My mom said a cat might be good for me. Some companionship. My roommate was all for the idea, she had never had a cat. (She recently learned that she is highly allergic… so that would have been an interesting twist to this story.)

But a cat is a commitment. I can’t just get up and travel around the world if I have a cat. I plan to move to Paris in the semi-near future. Which, of course nobody believes that I’ll actually go. So now I might have to go just to prove everybody wrong. Would I bring this cat? My sister promised me that if I moved to Paris, she would help me out and take care of him for me. She is such a supportive sister. But more realistically, how would I go home for a weekend to visit my family? I went back and forth on this issue for a day. Two days. A week. Everybody in my office gave me their opinions: “Get a dog”, “I hate cats!”, “you are pretty and young, you do not need to get a cat. That is very weird”, “oh it’s so cute. Get it!”. All very helpful.

Finally I concluded that having a cat is a big responsibility and there is too much I want to do in life right now to have such a responsibility. I finally had to tell my sister that I was sorry but I just couldn’t take her cat. She got very angry at me and told me, “you have commitment issues!” I found this very interesting. I started thinking…

Over the past 6 years, I’ve lived in four different places. I grew up in New Jersey, went to school in Michigan for two years, moved to New York City for two years, then I recently moved to Los Angeles almost a year ago. I’m not exactly sure why I move around so much. Every time I moved I had a reason to leave. I left NJ for college, I was so miserable in Michigan I would have killed myself if I stayed another second, and I came to LA because I want to work in film. But every time I left I was also just very bored and ready for a change. I get bored very easily. Maybe I do have commitment issues? This might also describe why I’ve never been in a real relationship. Fascinating. My sister might be on to something.

But as I sit and write this, there is a girl sitting next to me on her phone. And sitting next to her is a very attractive man. I don’t mean like kind of good looking and put together the way most people here in LA are. I mean, a drop dead gorgeous Italian man who looks like some sort of angel. The type that would treat you nicely, wine and dine you, speak in Italian and be a version of every girl’s fantasy. He’s really not my type. Not the point of the story though. So the girl sitting between us over hears his conversation with his friend saying that he is a hairdresser. She politely interrupts his conversation to interrupt and ask if she heard him directly, is he a hairdresser? He says yes he is, right across the street. She works on this street as well. And what a coincidence, she really needs to get her hair done! She asks if he has a card, which he does not. She says that she just moved here and has been looking to find someone to cut her hair and didn’t know where to go. She is pulling the damsel in distress, lost in translation, help me I’m lost line. Before I know it he is putting his number into her phone! It worked! I am very impressed.

And suddenly I remember why I move around a lot. Why I love moving to new cities. Being new to a city is a very overlooked kind of super power. It’s a conversation starter. It’s an excuse to not be cool and not have friends and not go out a lot. “Oh, well I just moved here, so…” If I lived in a place for ten years my life would be considered sad and pathetic. But by leading the same life in a new place, suddenly the same exact life becomes exciting and interesting.

Plus, after living in a place for two years, everything becomes comfortable. Nothing is new. That’s no fun. Are there some underlying commitment issues here? Possibly. But I’m still young so it’s allowed. When you’re young, you can be bat-shit crazy but it’s still somehow charming and cool. At least that’s what I tell myself. But now all I can think about is sitting in a coffee shop in Paris, nibbling on a croissant and telling the beautiful man next to me that I would love it if he would help me learn French (I’m not going to let just anybody cut my hair, no matter how beautiful he might be).