Pa, mark my words! Between Mr Rokesmith and me, there is a natural antipathy and a deep distrust; and something will come of it! Our Mutual Friend, Charles Dickens
“Why can’t we all just get along?”
This is the question I often pose when I observe my supremely gorgeous and only somewhat smug cat named Lily and my absolutely lovely, friendly, super intelligent and obedient dog named Sydney (or maybe it’s Sidney…I never asked him how he prefers to spells his name) interact with one another. Maybe interact is too strong a word for their involvement with one another. Maybe “encounter” is a more accurate description for what they actually do. Sydney approaches, makes an overture, and Lily usually slaps him down, sometimes drawing blood, occasionally leaving a claw in his nose (that’s gotta smart!)
I try not to take sides. I try to understand where each is coming from. I’m not exclusively a cat person or exclusively a dog person. I’d say I like both cats and dogs (if not equally) for different reasons and (basically) depending on the cat or dog. On the one hand, I’ve never met a cat I didn’t like. On the other, I’ve had some very nice experiences with some dogs.
Now, back to my two pets, Sydney and Lily. I’ve noticed that Sydney loves Lily but Lily isn’t quite so fond of Sydney. She is languid and cool and he likes to dart around in a perky, animated fashion. I suspect for this reason she looks askance at him and this saddens me. I think in a small way it saddens Sydney, too but he quickly recovers from his being rejected, rebuffed, and repudiated to give me one of his lovely and sometimes rather bemused smiles.
Sometimes we’re just too different to get along. Despite the overtures, despite the shows of goodwill, Lily will not let down her guard. Cautious girl that she is, she will not allow herself to be charmed by the enormously charming Sydney. Maybe he is too big and too quick for her. Maybe he is simply too different. Perhaps this is one of those times when overtures and goodwill are not enough.
Maybe somewhere in Lily’s mysterious past, when she used to be an indoor/outdoor cat, she had a bad experience with a dog. Maybe her mother told her to beware of those rather sloppy, drooling beings who pant and bark and chase and bite. Of course, her mother didn’t mean Sydney—she didn’t even know him—but Lily doesn’t know that.
I guess some of us simply can’t overcome our experience with the world: what we have learned, what we’ve been taught, or simply what we’ve come to be believe to be true. It’s sad really, because both Lily and Sydney have something to offer. Just not to each other and not any time soon.