What about this cat? She shows up at my house every other day or so. I call her “Tide” because she’s mysterious and keeps to her own schedule. Plus, she smells like laundry detergent. I have no idea why.
Here’s how Tide rolls: She cruises out of the woods, looks in my window, and meows until I let her inside of the cabin. Once inside, she takes quick stock, moving from room to room, hesitating only when she notices that something isn’t in the same place as it was the last time she was here. When she’s done, she’ll meow until I scratch her head and ears. After about a minute or two of that, she’ll go to the door and wait for me to let her outside. Once out, she’ll disappear back into the woods at a trot. These visits last anywhere from a few seconds to a few minutes. Apparently, I am at her beck and call, and these visits are entirely on Tide’s terms. How the Tide has terms... Hehe.
So. Wild? Domestic?
I promise you that Tide doesn’t think she’s domesticated. Her beautiful markings certainly say "wild," that's for sure. She wears no collar, but she’s clearly healthy and well-fed. She never begs for food when she visits me, even when I’m eating. She just wants her ears scratched. Until she doesn’t anymore, then she’s out. She’s probably owned by someone, but I guarantee that Tide doesn’t see it that way. Just like my being owned by my job or by the government or by capitalism or by my feelings or by those I love doesn’t register that way to me - it doesn’t feel like I’m owned, but I am all the same. Just like Tide.
So what does that make me, then? Am I wild or domestic?
Eating huckleberries straight off the bush makes me feel wild. Or when I swim in the surf until I’m freezing and exhausted to the point that every ounce of my energy becomes entirely focused on retrieving my next breath. I feel very wild then. On nights when I wander in the woods under the moon and stars, half-lost, half-blind, deliciously scared... Then I feel wild. And any time spent naked is wild time. Or when I smell meat grilling and it makes my stomach growl. Wild, wild, wild.
But then I sit in front of the computer, frustrated because Google won’t put information at my fingertips in two seconds instead of four, craving a latte, but not one I make myself with the fancy machine in my kitchen, but rather one made by the place in town because the baristas make them with the cute little fern designs drawn in the foam, and I’m going to want a bialy - one of the nice onion ones, too, not one of those crummy garlic ones they’re always trying to foist off on you, and there’d better be a place to sit on the couch because the seats of those wooden chairs are super splintery, and I hope that the “Datebook” section of the Chronicle will still be there although probably not because that’s one of the first sections to disappear as the day goes on...
I am not a woman! I am an animal!!
... She typed on her laptop while sipping her latte...