It was cold this evening as I took my dog out for her evening pre-bed piddle. The last 24 hours have turned the great city of Nashville into frozen tundra, so naturally I was ready to go back inside to my apartment that is heated to a perfect 72 degrees Fahrenheit. As we turned to walk back to the building, I heard a commotion.
Two women were laughing and carrying on. There was the slamming of a car door, the sound barely rising above the uproar the women had created. Then, out of nowhere, sprinted a black cat directly in front of me.
Naturally, this is worrisome. I am not a superstitious person in any sense of the word, but it is still very unnerving when a feline as dark as the night dashes in front of you when just mere seconds ago you had no idea this cat even existed. It could be the sign of something ominous afoot. Or it could just be a random cat lost and confused.
I glanced down and my dog was looking up at me as if to say “What are we going to do now?” It was a great question. The superstition is that if a black cat crosses your path, you will experience bad luck. It never says anything about what happens if a black cat crosses the path you intended to take, only instead of taking that path you opt for a path free of any and all bad omens.
We could turn around and head through the back door. The only animals I have ever seen around there are two small Pomeranians. Aside from their bothersome yipping, they have been fairly harmless. I definitely have never gotten the feeling that they were evil incarnate, so that puts them far above the mysterious black cat.
I looked around for the black cat again, but he was gone. While I had been communicating with my dog and debating the pros and cons of continuing on my path to the front door, the cat could very well have passed down the grassy hill and across the parking lot that I would be forced to walk through in order to get inside.
I looked down again. This time my dog had an entirely different look for me. “Why are we out here when there is a nice warm couch inside?” she said, her ears drooped and tail dropped. Being nice and warm inside definitely sounded better than being stuck on a single five foot wide stretch of sidewalk for the rest of my life.
I have no reason to worry, I thought. I have done many things that carry the stigma of bad luck with them. In the past, I know I have opened umbrellas indoors. If there was a ladder in my way, I did not bother to go around it. Why should I? I have spilled salt, said Macbeth inside of a theater, stepped on dozens of cracks. I have never killed an albatross, but that is more out of my lack of interest in bird slaughter than out of fear. I have done hundreds of things that should lead to terrible awful consequences, but none seem to have stuck.
So I walked down the path, to the front door, and inside.
I guess what I am trying to say is this could very well be my last words. I have no idea what kind of bad luck a black cat carries with it, but I may have tempted the fates one too many times. If you never hear from me, just know that the women who startled that black cat are at fault. If it was not for them, the demon cat would not have brought its death and turmoil to me.
Cats really are the worst.