I'm beginning to think my spirit animal is the cat. Sike, I already know that my spirit animal is the whale.

I went to Amsterdam last month. It was pretty rad. I don't know what I expected from Amsterdam -- well, I guess I expected blatant drug use and rampant prostitution. But it wasn't like that. It was pretty chill actually. Everyone just rode their bikes around on the very flat Dutch streets with children securely attached on back and dogs running obediently beside. The trams were really clean, people stood in lines, nobody pushed me on the sidewalks and store clerks left me alone. It was so civilized.

Everyone had a bike. If they weren't so damn orderly I would have been hit by one.
I stayed in an Airbnb. I like Airbnbs. You never really know what you'll get until you arrive. The owner of this particular flat left presents for my friends and I on the kitchen table. The presents included a variety pack of chocolate sprinkles, some beer, a bag of stroopwafels and a jar of whipped cookies. We consumed everything immediately.

Cookie Butter is like peanut butter, but with no nutritional value.
As far as I can tell, stroopwafels are a socially accepted form of crack in Holland.
I actually asked strangers for some of these on a ferry after we had run out of our own supply.
At first I spread the sprinkles on toast, as was suggested.
But I soon tired of this method and drank them straight from the box.
After eating everything, we decided to take a load off and get our things settled in our bedrooms. That is where I found a possessed stuffed cat. It meowed at me sometimes, but mostly it just watched me in silence from across the room. It was unsettling and I feared it, so I took to being excessively kind to it with both my words and my actions. My friends told me that it wasn't real but I wasn't terribly interested in their theories.

For those of you who have seen this photo,
I hope it makes sense now.
During our days on the town we did everything there was to do. We went to museums, gardens, art exhibits, shows and ethnic restaurants among other things. My Dutch friend, Melissa, was constantly trying to poison us with terrible tasting "treats" like salted licorice. I talked to lots of strangers and it was neat because they spoke English back. I would talk to people just to talk to people and my friends got annoyed because they were afraid that boring people might begin following us around due to my forward behavior. That never happened though.

Then I went to Cappadocia which is in Turkey. It's a pretty fabulous place too. Lots of history, amazing natural formations of the earth, underground cities, hot air balloon rides, etc. But that's not what I really want to talk about. What I want to talk about is this special meal that is prepared in Cappadocia. It's called testes kebab. Doesn't that sound so gross? But it's not really testes or else I wouldn't eat it.

Anyway, I settled into a nice restaurant on the main thoroughfare and ordered my 30tl testes meal. The proprietor of the restaurant himself came out on the patio to break open my sealed clay jar of dinner with regal elegance. He gracefully poured the steaming testes into a tray in front of me and left me to enjoy. Shortly after he went inside, an unwanted visitor appeared.

The visitor was a cat -- which is not at all uncommon in Turkey. Cats and dogs are everywhere on the streets and mostly go unnoticed by me. As a general rule, the street animals are extremely polite and well fed. But this one...this one was a cat to remember.

This cat did not stand out due to behavior. It did not meow loudly or jump upon the table. It did not smell like urine or have matted, dirty fur. Nor did the cat have crusty eyes or a limping gait. No, no - this cat was beautiful and quiet and yet appalling all at once. You see, it was missing half of it's tail. And where the cat's tail had been ripped off there was a raw and infected stump. Even thinking of it now makes me die a little bit inside.

So the cat. The cat walked over to where I was about to begin my meal and then laid down with it's chewed up little stump of a tail in my direct line of vision. I tried to avert my eyes as I began to eat but dammit, it was difficult to do. After a few bites of testes I forcefully dropped my fork on my plate and exclaimed, "I've had enough! My meal is ruined." Then I dramatically pointed at the cat and in an angry and disappointed tone I said, "YOU have wasted me 30tl. I loathe you."

Reflecting on this outburst, I realize I could have handled the situation more gracefully. The cat and I met again, later in the evening, and as I watched the patrons of a different establishment shoo the cat away in disgust my heart went out to it a tiny bit. You see, I'm sure that cat used to get a lot of positive attention from people. It had a nice shiny coat and a resilient spirit. The cat acted as if he didn't notice his deformity -- and if he didn't know about his new fugliness, then how could he possibly understand all of the new prejudice against him?

I'm sure that Snaggle Kitty has been very confused.

So I have been praying for him.

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