look, i know we have some issues. We're dysfunctional, like all families. "Hey! Spawn of Satan!" I am often heard shouting. "Do that again and I'll put you in the microwave!"
Fancy Feast is only good enough if it's seafood, attention is only good enough if it's at 6 am, and my human paramours are only good enough if they don't get in the way. If they do, they get peed on.
My cats and I, we need some help.
So when I see a Learning Annex seminar on how to communicate telepathically with your animals, I sign up immediately. This could be our big breakthrough! "Jetson, honey," I coo to my scrawny ginger when the evening comes, "Mommy's going to go learn to brainwash you!"
He cocks his head and stares. Then starts licking his balls.
Sigh. Well, just because some people around here aren't willing to help.
I arrive at the Holiday Inn and enter a room full of other poorly socialized randoms like myself (mostly women, many seemingly of the Sapphic persuasion) who think they should talk to their pets more than they already do.
The course is being taught by the minorly famous Rochelle Gai Rodney, a one-time civil servant who became a full-time animal communicator after a horse told her that the animals wanted her to be a voice for them.
"Now I get paid for being a freak," she says cheerfully. Her assistant is her Siamese cat, Moose, who's currently hiding under a table.
"Sometimes she prefers to teach you from behind the scenes to help you with your telepathy," smiles Rochelle beatifically. "Before every class she hides under the bed and I have to drag her out by her hind legs. But I know she's meant to be here. This is her job."
We go around the circle and introduce ourselves. A sensitive young thing next to me says she just wants to talk to the raccoons, squirrels and skunks in her neighbourhood, and that she is also interested in communicating with invertebrates.
"I want to communicate with invertebrates, too!" I whisper. "I want to ask my cockroaches how I can kill them. Like, really, really kill them!"
She stares at me in horror.
After we complete our intros, including a woman who gets teary-eyed as she tells us that she records every bowel movement her cat has, we're ready for our first exercise. Rochelle turns off the lights, turns on a flashlight (no, I'm not kidding) and tells us to imagine we are animals, to become animals.
"The key," she says, "is not to focus on the doubt you have."
So we all become animals that stay, remarkably, seated politely in the Holiday Inn. I don't remember what I was. Hopefully I was licking my balls.
"The more you do this work," smiles Rochelle, "the trees will speak to you, the plants will wave to you! I've met dragonflies with human names. They'll introduce themselves because they can hear you."
People are nodding and smiling.
"Don't limit yourself to what you think they know," Rochelle cautions about animal wisdom. "It's up to them. It depends on how much they read, how informed they are. How often they go to the library."
OK, I don't know about your pets, but Jetson most definitely doesn't go to the library. He keeps putting pussy porn on the public computers and it is way too embarrassing.
"I talked to a goat once who was a poet and told me he liked roller coasters," Rochelle chuckles.
I shoot up my hand.
"The goat liked roller coasters?"
(I am imagining a whole new sign at Canada's Wonderland: "You must be at least this tall to ride this ride. And you must not be a goat.")
"When it was a person," she corrects me patiently.
We then get to do a meditation where we get messages from Moose, and Rochelle will let us know if we're right. We tune in to Moose -- I think about cat things and, hey, I get what could be some psychic flashes! -- and then Rochelle asks us what Moose told us. A nerdy man puts up his hand and says gravely, "She's hungry."
"That's right!" says Rochelle. "Because she didn't eat before we came. How did you know?"
"Well," he muses, "I felt this emptiness in my stomach."
"Very good, very good," Rochelle says warmly. I put up my hand.
"Oh! Oh! Me! Me!"
"Yes, Leah, what did Moose send you?" "Well," I say, "I got all these images. I got a picture of a wicker basket with, like, a checkered pillow. And that there is a white cat that is her friend, and that she has a blue plaid leash."
"I probably got everything wrong," I mutter. "Not necessarily wrong," says Rochelle slowly, "maybe just from other animals." Oh, sure. The other animals in the Holiday Inn. I huff down in my seat. This class sucks. Moose sidles over and snuggles up to Invertebrate Girl.
"Well, you obviously have a very good rapport with her," notes Rochelle approvingly.
Hmph. Teacher's pet.
I decide that my abilities to communicate telepathically are not up to snuff, and that Rochelle is just going to have to do it for me. I enlist her for a private consultation -- $75 for a half-hour session. She does the consultations over the phone -- yes, over the phone. I tell her I took away my cats' phone privileges, but she's unmoved. So I call her. "Do I have to get them to meow into the phone?" I ask.
"Do they have to be near the phone?"
"No, I just set an intention with my mind and I can do whatever I want," she explains calmly.
She asks me their names and ages and how I got them, and then she starts, you know, psychic-ing. "Oh!" she gasps. "I feel them both coming in." She goes on to describe -- correctly -- their personalities and tells me that when Jetson went missing once he was actually on "a vision quest." She also says there was some sort of major trauma on the balcony of my old apartment involving one of my roommates, but, you know, they won't name names.
"I'm going to ask both of them if they can let this incident go," says Rochelle. "OK, they feel calmer now. They just had to get that off their chests."
I look over. Jetson is dragging his bum across the carpet. Scully is staring at dust.
Rochelle also tells me that we've all been together in past lives, including one time when they were my sons in Italy in 1848 when I was very mean. I ask her if Jetson has ever been my lover. She asks him.
"I'd say yes, big time, boy oh boy!" Rochelle gushes. "He was your big-time lover in many lifetimes. Has he ever put his arms around your neck?"
"No," I offer helpfully, "but he puts his bum in my face all the time."
Our consultation is over. She tells me I should ask Jetson and Scully why they nitpick at each other, and wishes me luck. I hang up, and catch a movement out of the corner of my eye.
"Hey!" I shout. "Do that again and you're going in the microwave!"