Medium Large

Or I Can Get a Gryphon

Posted in Uncategorized by cesco7 on November 9, 2017

The catalog on the right—from the World Wildlife Fund—arrives every year at this time. And yet late one night when I was clearly tired but apparently determined to screw with my circadian rhythm by staying up past reason, I looked sleepy-eyed at its cover only to read “WTF Gifts” instead of “WWF Gifts.” And it was in that half-second I immediately thought, “Wait, can we actually get an elephant?”

I had held off getting a pet of any kind after my cat Natasha passed away in 2010. (Her brother Boris made it to 2007 and yes, I know what you are thinking. They were indeed named after characters in War and Peace. Well, they were named after cartoon characters who were named after characters in War and Peace, but the connection still holds.) For several years I knew that not only wasn’t I ready to have a cat or dog but also that any pet I would get would unfairly be compared to the very two that had seen me through my 20s and 30s. (“That’s not how Boris would sit on my pizza! Here, let me show you…”) But when I went looking to buy an apartment (a phrase I thought I would only ever end with “before I woke up”), I had a feeling a new home meant new roommates who once again were not going to chip in for food or Star Wars paraphernalia.

So every time I went to an open house my first question was “Does this building allow cats and dogs?” (I wanted to keep my options open). And almost always the answer was “You can have a cat.” Not always “cats” but “cat.” And practically never dogs. The number of New York City apartment buildings that allow dogs—and perhaps this is common in other cities—don’t even come close to those that allow cats. Perhaps it’s a noise issue. Perhaps it’s an insurance/liability issue, because this being Manhattan if your French Bulldog even appears threatening in an elevator because it quietly belched you, the co-op, and the unfortunate pizza delivery guy who was riding up with you would all be sued. Or perhaps while dogs constantly require tenants’ attention cats remain out of sight, silently judging everyone in the building. And there’s just something very human about that to which we can all relate.

Of course, there are ways buildings can exclude practically every type of pet without saying such. One broker showing an apartment said the building allowed pets up to 9 pounds, which means you could either get a cat whose every spoonful you had to monitor until it developed an eating disorder known as “clawing your genitals at 3 am” or a breed of dog commonly known as “plush doll.” On the other hand, another building allowed pets up to “35 pounds” which, although clearly a reference to the size of dog, immediately had me wondering if I could adopt a baby cougar. I’m not sure what I would have done when the cougar became a full-grown adult weighing in at 200 lbs. Maybe sell everything, get an old Vincent Black Shadow, and ride across the country. After all, what better travel companion is there than a beloved pet who already has your hand and forearm in its mouth.

The search to buy a place in Manhattan is a long process in which, depending on your location in the city, means you can either purchase someone else’s hall closet or move to “Greater Brooklyn,” also known as “Nova Scotia.” But after several months during which I drove my real estate agent insane I did find the perfect place—a place with lots of room, view of the river and bridge, and quiet like a small town but with a subway station very nearby for when all the silence drove me batshit nuts. And in my usual fashion I thought I derailed it all.

The person showing the apartment was also a member of the co-op where I now reside, so it was important to make at least an amiable impression if I liked the place. And it started innocently enough with my standard question…

Me: Does the co-op allow dogs and cats?

Broker: Oh, the co-op is extremely pet friendly. They allow every animal.

Me: …did you say “every animal”?

Broker: Oh yes. Not only are we the oldest still-operating co-op building in Manhattan (Editor Note: I immediately feared a Rosemary’s Baby scenario vibe after moving in but that never came to pass) but we are perhaps the most animal friendly as well.

Me: So every animal?

Broker: Yes.

Me: So—I’m just thinking out loud here—could I, say, adopt a pygmy goat?

And that’s when I thought, “Ces, you f***ing idiot. Not everything has to be a joke.” It’s also when I assumed the broker would give me a tight, small smile that says, “Why do I get all the ones who think they’re comedians?” and politely escort me not only out of the building but all of upper Manhattan. Not to mention that the momentary silence certainly didn’t make me consider otherwise. But after a few beats the broker spoke up.

Broker: Well…because of the goat’s hooves you would need to carpet the entire apartment.

Me: I’m sorry, what?

Broker: Oh yes. You have to consider your downstairs neighbors. You would need some rather thick carpeting.

Me: Wait, wait, wait…Are you saying I could have a pet pygmy goat?

Broker: Well, if you’re willing to cover all the hardwood flooring and promise to maintain a very clean environment…

Me: Wait, you’re…you’re serious. You are serious, right? Because I’m on the verge of making a giant fiasco of a lifestyle choice.

Broker: Do…do you already have a goat lined up?

And it was at this point my real estate agent steered me away from the topic like someone grabbing the wheel as the driver hydroplanes towards a mushroom cloud. Actually, she thought it was best if I didn’t speak at all during showings. So no, I did not get my pygmy goat. Instead I now reside with these two lunatics:

And I think that is for the best.

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6 Responses

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  1. chukg said, on November 9, 2017 at 5:37 pm

    Think of the poetry books if you’d gotten a goat instead…

  2. BillR said, on November 10, 2017 at 9:55 am

    I lived under a couple of Irish step dancers about 20 years ago. They were renting so they never bothered getting carpets or even rugs. I’d have preferred pygmy goats.

  3. chakolate said, on November 10, 2017 at 12:50 pm

    That last pic – how do you tell them apart?

    I always wanted cats that got along together, but I always end up with hissing, spitting, growling cats. Oh, well, they love me, even if each of them thinks the other three are interlopers.

    • chukg said, on November 10, 2017 at 2:19 pm

      One has a pink nose, one has a black nose. (from the pic…I do not know these cats in person)

  4. swazoo said, on November 10, 2017 at 4:19 pm

    They look like they’re plotting big trouble for moose and squirrel.

    BTW, the name Boris Badenov is a play on Boris Godunov, regent of Russia from 1585 to 1598 and subject of an opera by Mussorgsky.

  5. Mollyscribbles said, on November 11, 2017 at 12:16 pm

    speaking as someone currently in Nova Scotia, you’d need to get a place near the airport in order to pull off your commute to NYC. On the other hand, you’d have a yard for the goats.


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