The rascal cat is a real fan of the Jersey Shore.
No, not those crazy kids who have been on reality TV for the last five years or so--burning up the TV tube with their antics. Dare I say Snookie?
I’m referring to the real Jersey shore--the physical entity of land and water--the beautiful waves that crest along the beach--the mythical reality that predates reality TV, the Jersey shore that Bruce Springsteen used to sing about.
That’s the Jersey shore that most Jerseyans know and are proud of, not the parody it has become on national TV.
Oh well, that’s another story.
Down in Atlantic City, traipsing along the famed boardwalk, Chuckie caught his first glimpse of the Jersey shore, the moment we headed out of a certain casino. He could smell the delicious salt water and feel the breeze that blew in from the ocean, but let’s face it, the boardwalk provided plenty of distractions for a rascal cat.
On the way back from out tarot card reading, however, I walked him over to where he could get a real glimpse of the ocean.
There is nothing better, and if you are guardian to a cat, even if he’s a rascal cat, you know what I mean by this--there is nothing better than to watch when a cat goes into that state of awareness--I call it becoming MESMERIZED. He stared straight ahead, and, of course, began to sniff. Now when a cat sniffs, he puts all his energy into it. His nose twitches in the most delightful way. His whiskers move back and forth. He literally seems to inhale the air around him the way someone would inhale smoke from a Cuban cigar. They take it all in. And you just know that because cats are so sensitive to smell, that he is picking up so much information.
As a human, I smell salt and, maybe, some fish, but Chuckie, not doubt, can smell so many things--animals, and people and events that have occurred present and past.
He seems so content there, that I honestly do not anticipate what happens next.
But, just as I turn my head, look back to the boardwalk, because I hear some kind of music and it sounds like old-fashioned organ grinder music, Chuck leaps from my arms and onto the boards in front of us. Of course, he takes off--toward the ocean--the beach.
The curious kid just has to know what’s out there.
He ignores me.
The same old story.
“Chuck, come back here.
The kid, despite the fact that he has a belly, can scamper like the wind, and by this point, he flies past the gigantic WARNING SIGN that talks about dangerous rip tides and currents and is off the board and has plopped himself onto the sand. He stops immediately. He lifts first one paw, then another. He has never walked in sand before.
He is sniffing away. Distracted by all the smells, he slows down.
I move closer and I can almost put my hands on him, when he sprints forward toward the ocean.
Would the kid be dumb enough to run directly into the ocean?
No, I tell myself. Cats hate water. They hate getting wet.
But, honestly, Chuck, even though he has the tendency to be an over-groomer--Mr. Clean--doesn’t mind slopping around in dirty situations.
So there he goes--
And there it comes--
“Chuck, watch out.”
The kids must have angels watching over him. He backs away literally at the last final second and avoids becoming totally soaked. Instead, the wave crashes near enough to scare the bejeebers out of him. Let’s just say he is SPRINKLED with salt water, his coat is dripping, and he retreats with that look in his eye like he’s had enough.
“Well,” I say, trying not to sound overly sarcastic, “this is the Jersey Shore. What do you think?”
No answer, of course.
And, now, he expects me to pick him up--a soggy mess of fur--and put him back in my smart bag and sneak him back into the hotel.