Looking for Friends in the Time of Trump
“When you meet someone for the first time, how do you finesse The T Question?” I asked Cat.
“The T Question?”
When Cat doesn’t want to talk to me, which is his default attitude, he answers a question with a question.
“You know, how do you bring up the Elephant in the Room?” I said.
“The Elephant in the room? You are talking in code, My Dear, and it’s not all that interesting.”
With that, he rolled over on top of the chair where the Nice One usually sits, so his back was turned to me: “You’ve never even seen an elephant.”
“Okay, how about this?” Cat said. “For argument’s sake, let’s say that YOU are the elephant in the room. Now, my role is acting the part of somebody who doesn’t want to talk to the elephant. So scram, vamoose, leave.”
“But I’m not the elephant; the T Question is the elephant,” I said.
At this point, Cat realized that if he was going to get his Daily Minimum Sleep Allotment, 23.8-hours, he’d have to humor me, at least briefly.
“What’s actually on your mind, Phoebe?”
“Well, we had a visitor the other day,” I began.
“Did we? I must have slept through that.”
“You know, the dog who spent the day with us,” I said.
“I wouldn’t call her a ‘visitor,’ " Cat said, as if he’d suddenly remembered something extremely disagreeable. “An intruder; an interloper; an unwanted presence; another DOG, right here in our house!”
“That’s the one.”
“I couldn’t figure out how to bring up The T Question,” I said.
“There you go again with that ‘T Question.’ What do you mean?”
“I mean, I couldn’t bring it up,” I said.
“BRING UP WHAT, PHOEBE?” Cat yelled. “What on earth are you talking about?”
“I didn’t know how to ask her what she thinks about Trump,” I said.
“What difference does it make what she thinks of him?” Cat said. “And it’s also not any of your business.”
“Donald Trump is everybody’s business,” I said. “This guy is destroying America. He lies. He hates the environment, the poor, immigrants, sick people, practically everything and everyone, except Russians and dictators and shapely French wives.”
“So, why didn’t you just ask her?” Cat said. “What’s so complicated?”
“Because if she gave the wrong answer, I don’t think we’d be friends anymore. And I liked her. She had cute little ears and big brown eyes and didn’t seem to shed all that much,” I said. “So, I just couldn’t bring myself to pop the question.”
Cat seemed determined to get back to sleep.
“The answer is obvious,” Cat yawned.
“What is it?”
“Well, let’s start with little Miss Cute Ears’ given name,” he said. “What is it?”
“Honey,” I said. “Her name is Honey.”
“You think somebody with a sweet name like that is going to go nuts, bananas or fruitloops over Donald Trump?” Cat said.
“Your Honor, the Prosecution rests.”
As he began to wheeze and snore, I was left to figure out whether I’d written down Honey’s email address. Or, for that matter, whether I’d even dared to ask her.
In the Trump Era, it’s easy to be scared of everything and everyone.
But being scared surely doesn’t solve the T Problem.
Or make you new friends.