THE white Tom falling from the neighbor’s roof into a corner of our garden where three extremely territorial dogs were sleeping nearby was a ruder shock for him than for yours truly.
We were shookt but Tom was rekt: he desperately lunged several times up our wall, only to screech back to perilous ground, where the wire net enclosing the plants was within minutes of being flattened by our dogs, caught up in the frenzy of an evening invasion.
Just in time, Tom bolted for the gate and escaped into the street, chased by dogs more interested in creating a din than taking any prisoner.
This catfall was a first. Our neighbors’ abutting rooftops serve as sky bridges for the village cats, who use them not just as shortcuts to check out what folks are cooking but also to avoid the mutts scrapping for a distraction to spice up their bored gated existence.
A silent but constant watcher of this rooftop traffic, I wonder why we humans cannot copy this feline habit.
Instead of complaining to the homeowners’ association about the leaky gutter of next door or the needles piling in one’s yard from a neighbor’s enthusiastically shedding pine tree, we can meet on the rooftops, get a tan by moonshine, and give our minds an airing.
I hope never to experience a human being dropped from the rooftops. I admit our neighborhood is predictably bourgeois. If we cannot choose our neighbors, we can at least escape in our cars and cool our heads in the mall.
Some of us don’t drive. Last weekend, the neighbor who recently moved in next door and I were weeding our respective gardens. Lulled, I pull weeds while working out writing problems.
The repetitive rhythm failed to hypnotize this time because our neighbor was listening to the singing of a group I followed like a religion when I was in sixth grade.
To say that the Air Supply and Amy Winehouse both sing about love is to miss the difference why cats walk on rooftops and humans don’t. By the time Russell Hitchcock crooned, “I can wait forevah...,” I was weeding less, mumbling more Amy’s lines like a counter-incantation, “... life is like a pipe/ And I’m a tiny penny/ Rolling up the walls inside.”
Yet, after that one-sided musical showdown (all aggression mine, poetry from Amy), our gardens were happier with fewer weeds. The new neighbors are a young couple, with a bright, talkative daughter. If I had a granddaughter, would I go to the rooftop with her and listen to Amy singing poetry?
Maybe. In this cycle called life, my theoretical granddaughter and I might start with, “I can wait forevah...”