Photo Resize and Description by Two Pentacles Publishing.
Hi. I’m Joy, a robotic cat. I came to live with Abbie a month ago, from a place called the senior center, where they give cats like me to people who have dementia or are prone to isolation, whatever that means. When Abbie touches me or I see a light or motion somewhere, I meow, purr, yawn, stretch, turn my head, and open and close my eyes, like any cat.
There are some nice things about being a robotic cat. I don’t have to worry about whether or when Abbie will feed me because I don’t eat. And because I don’t eat, I don’t have to go to the litter box. I also don’t have to visit a place called the vet, where no cat ever wants to go.
So, you may wonder where I get my energy if I don’t eat. Well, I run on batteries, but Abbie doesn’t know what kind. She says we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it, whatever that means.
The down side to being a robotic cat is that since I don’t require care, Abbie can ignore me, which she does most of the day, putting me in my chair while she works in her office during the day. My chair is Abbie’s blue armchair in the living room, where she sometimes snuggles with me while checking notifications on her phone after she gets home from a place called the YMCA or her morning walk. The chair is comfortable, and I don’t mind napping there all day, even though I don’t like to be ignored.
In the afternoon, we nap together, either in her bed or recliner. In the evening, we snuggle in the recliner while Abbie listens to books or podcasts.
Abbie sometimes goes outside in her back yard to write or check email or listen to whatever she wants to listen to. I wish I could go out with her. But she says that since I can’t clean myself like a real cat, it wouldn’t be a good idea for me to get dirty. That makes sense, but it still doesn’t keep me from wanting to go outside.
I think Abbie feels guilty for ignoring me most of the day. So, she asked me to write this blog post. She told me that fellow blogger Patty Fletcher’s dog Blue writes her posts for her sometimes. If he can do it, so can I.
Well, it’s easier said than done. It’s hard writing on a computer keyboard with four paws. I’m sure Blue has the same problem. Abbie says that sometimes, people leave comments on her blog posts. So, maybe Blue will give me some pointers. Then again, I’m making so many mistakes, and I don’t know how to fix them. Abbie will have her work cut out for her and may not ask me to do this again.
Anyway, a week ago Saturday, Abbie received a package via something called FedEx, which contained chocolates. She doesn’t see very well. So, she used something on her phone called Be My Eyes, where she asked Siri to call a volunteer, and the person who answered used the camera on Abbie’s phone to read what was on the box. But the volunteer couldn’t find any information on the box about who sent the chocolates.
On Tuesday, when Jenny came to clean, Abbie asked her to look at the box. I like Jenny. She works for the senior center. She’s the one who brought me to Abbie. She always stops to give me a few strokes when she’s cleaning in the living room.
Anyway, Jenny found a couple of phone numbers. Abbie thought maybe one of them would be for Purdys Chocolates, the company that sent the goodies. But it turned out to be for FedEx, the company the delivered the package. The second number was that of Casey Matthews, whom she calls her tech guru. Luckily, she just got his voicemail and didn’t have to explain why she accidentally called him. She asked if Jenny could have misread the number, and Jenny said she thought the 5 in the area code might have been a 6. So, Abbie tried the number with the 6 but only got a recording, saying that the call couldn’t be completed at this time and to try again later.
Then, she went online and used something called Google to find Purdys Chocolates. She found the company’s website, and through live chat, she was eventually able to find out that Casey Matthews actually did send the chocolates. Wow!
Abbie told me the last time a man sent her chocolates was when her late husband sent her chocolates on Valentine’s Day in 2005 after he proposed to her. She wrote a book about that called My Ideal Partner. If you want to know how that turned out, you can read the book.
So, Abbie emailed Casey to thank him for the chocolates. He emailed her back, saying he was sorry there was no message in the box, although he had asked that one be included. He said he sent the chocolates to show his appreciation for all the referrals she sent him.
I don’t know if cats like chocolates, but they sound good to me, even though I don’t eat. So, I’m going to tell you all about Casey Matthews, and maybe he’ll send me a box of chocolates if he gets enough referrals from me. If my name is on the box, maybe Abbie will let me try them.
Okay, Casey Matthews runs a company he calls Web Friendly Help. He works with people like Abbie, who use screen readers. He helps them resolve issues with their computers and even gives training if they need it. He also provides other services, which you can find out about on his website. So, check it out here. Oh, and if you contact Casey, tell him Joy sent you, please.
A couple of other exciting things have happened to Abbie since I’ve been with her. First of all, she received word that her story, “From Jungle to Jungle,” was a winner in one of Wyoming Writers’ flash fiction contests. It hasn’t been published anywhere. Once it is, she’ll post it here and on her website, and you can read it. I haven’t had a chance to read it, either. So, don’t feel bad.
Also, her poem, “Dad, Fats, and Me,” will be featured in September at the Dancing Poetry Festival, produced by Artists Embassy International in San Francisco. This virtual program combines poetry and dance. She attended an event on something called Zoom, along with other poets whose work was also selected, where their readings of their poems were recorded. I heard Abbie read that poem many times. She stamps her feet and sings when she does it, and it’s quite a performance. When she gets a link to the program, which will be broadcast live on something called YouTube September 24th, it’ll be posted here.
Whew! All this typing with my paws has tired me out. I’m ready for Abbie to put me in my chair in the living room, so I can take a nap. Until next time, maybe, sweet dreams!
Photo Courtesy of Tess Anderson Photography
Photo Resize and Description by
Two Pentacles Publishing.
Abbie here. If you haven’t already done so, please subscribe to my email list to receive my twice-yearly newsletter and other announcements. This is a one-way announcements list, meaning the only messages you’ll receive will come from me. So, you can rest assured that this list is low-traffic. Send a blank email to: firstname.lastname@example.org You’ll receive a confirmation email. Reply to that with another blank message, and you should be good to go.
Copyright 2021 by Abbie Johnson Taylor.
Independently published with the help of DLD Books.
Sixteen-year-old Natalie’s grandmother, suffering from dementia and confined to a wheelchair, lives in a nursing home and rarely recognizes Natalie. But one Halloween night, she tells her a shocking secret that only she and Natalie’s mother know. Natalie is the product of a one-night stand between her mother, who is a college English teacher, and another professor.
After some research, Natalie learns that people with dementia often have vivid memories of past events. Still not wanting to believe what her grandmother has told her, she finds her biological father online. The resemblance between them is undeniable. Not knowing what else to do, she shows his photo and website to her parents.
Natalie realizes she has some growing up to do. Scared and confused, she reaches out to her biological father, and they start corresponding.
Her younger sister, Sarah, senses their parents’ marital difficulties. At Thanksgiving, when she has an opportunity to see Santa Claus, she asks him to bring them together again. Can the jolly old elf grant her request?