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Fork in the Road: Cat. Scratch. Fever.

Rose Cora Perry | Interrobang | Opinion | October 6th, 2014

Editorial opinions or comments expressed in this online edition of Interrobang newspaper reflect the views of the writer and are not those of the Interrobang or the Fanshawe Student Union. The Interrobang is published weekly by the Fanshawe Student Union at 1001 Fanshawe College Blvd., P.O. Box 7005, London, Ontario, N5Y 5R6 and distributed through the Fanshawe College community. Letters to the editor are welcome. All letters are subject to editing and should be emailed. All letters must be accompanied by contact information. Letters can also be submitted online by clicking here.
I have this friend who’s ridiculously intelligent and often compared to Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory, not because of his intelligence, but because of his “unique” approach to people and situations.

I love him. Our mutual friends love him. But he makes it a habit of offending strangers (intended or not) and since we’ve been friends, I can think of a handful of times he’s told me he’s brought customer service representatives to tears.

He does, however, have a slew of admirable qualities. Beyond his intelligence and quick wit, he’s responsible, reliable, hardworking, handy when it comes to mechanical/ electrical repairs, he’s a fantastic debate opponent, and he’s the perfect person to kick your ass back into objective thinking when you’ve lost all rationality.

His weaknesses are well balanced with his strengths, like most of us. He’s actually quite an impressive person overall.

While my husband and I were away on our honeymoon, we asked this friend to tend to our feline children. It didn’t fully occur to me until after this incident why my friend is still single.

At the risk of sounding like a crazy cat lady, my instructions were very specific – to the extent of having important points printed in red text and highlighted.

One of our cats has had ongoing appetite issues this year and even the slightest change in his regime can result in relapse. Luckily, he’s been diagnostically cleared of any and all ailments, but the fact remains that he won’t eat (or at least eat enough to maintain his weight) unless his food is served in a very particular fashion.

I’m sure you’re thinking: “Yep, crazy cat lady!”, but I’m fairly certain if you were in my shoes, you would understand why following my instructions to a “T” was essential. And that’s where the problem with my friend began.

Despite having seen the stress this cat business has caused me, my friend altered the instructions as he saw fit.

A second problem arose when I confronted him on the issue (he left indisputable evidence) and instead of apologizing or empathizing with why I was so upset, he told me I was causing my own stress and that he didn’t see the “big deal.”

I’m willing to admit that perhaps the way in which I presented my beef was a bit of an overreaction. However, that doesn’t undo the fact that he deliberately ignored my instructions and by doing so concluded “he knew better.”

The devil’s advocate would argue that given this friend was doing me a favour, I should be satisfied he agreed to do so, regardless of the way in which he went about it.

While I half agree – I am most appreciative of the time and energy he put forth (we showed our appreciation by giving him a gift card) – the generosity of his favour is diminished because:

a) He failed to respect what was important to me in granting the “favour” and

b) He further failed to acknowledge the time and energy I put into creating the instructions in order to alleviate stress on his end

This situation reminds me of another issue: when individuals buy gifts for bridal and/or baby showers that are not on the registry. On the one hand, I’m sure the recipient is appreciative of the gift regardless of what it, however, if the recipient went to the trouble to create the registry in the first place, don’t you think it’s far more caring and respectful to purchase them something that they want/need?

So what does cat sitting have to do with remaining single exactly?

In any relationship – parent/child, husband/ wife, platonic friends etc. – compromise is a key ingredient to longevity and success. My husband and I have different tastes and interests, but to be a good spouse is to respect those differences in actions and words. Even if you think something is stupid, but it’s important to someone you consider significant in your life, you should treat these matters as such because that person is important to you.

As advanced as my friend is in some capacities, he still needs to learn that his opinions and feelings aren’t the only ones that matter.

This month’s lesson: If you think you know how to do everything right and/or only ever wish to do things your way, take a bite of humble pie. Excruciating criticism and egoism toward others aren’t attractive qualities.
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